The Cedar-Republic has always been a place, where different religions and even more confessions use to meet each other. And there have been conflicts and wars on the way. The crises of today seems to have a different reason, and confessionalism, defining politics in accordance to religious borders, is now even hatred by many Lebanese. But is this enough to stop conflicts the way they always evolve?
When France got the official permission by the League of Nations to hold mandate over Syria and Lebanon, the First World War was just two years gone. The area has been splitted into six different states, one of them Great Lebanon, which became an independent nation after the Second World War. Great part in the construction took the maronite church, realising the unique chance to build a country with christian majority in islamic-driven Middle East. The same idea was present in the french political right and until today, France sees itself as protecting power for independent Lebanon.
For some decades the country was able to enjoy a certain stability and profited from it´s political and cultural proximity to Europe. The „Paris of the Middle East“ was a magnet for Europe´s high society, wealth was present. But the conflicts of the region, especially in the Holy Land, kept Lebanon in danger. Religious questions are here the core of the conflicts as well.
Lebanese Civil War started 1975, lastet 15 years and let big and small parties fight against each other. Without any entity, under which the people could unite, they refered to their direct surroundings, the family and village and the denomination. That society was able to recover, was far from obvious.
A great proportion on this came by Rafik Hariri, a sunni muslim from Sidon, who was able to become one of the richest man on earth doing business in Saudi Arabia. He was a leading force enabling the Treaty of Taif and the rebuilding of Beirut. What distinguished him from most other politicians, than and now, were his beneficial politics towards not only people of his own belief, but for all Lebanese. Maybe it took a person growing up in a minority of a city, like the Sunnis were in Sidon, to take action in such a way.
Next to this fights the leaders of all the different parties were able to work together after the war to gain wealth. For this reason, they even cooperated with each other. But now Lebanon is facing one of the worlds most devastating economic crises of the last 150 years. GDP lost about 40% in two years, without wars, without fights, on the opposite, by cooperation of all the winners of the civil war. To blame this on religion would be far to easy, but the deep distrust between the Lebanese themselves is hiding away any political movement that may challenge the system. Too strong are ties between people and their leaders, who can protect them in a situation of emergency, something no one else can do.