History of a Period
In order to make ourselves clear and to reach a
persuasive synthesis, let us give a few definitions.
Fatherland and Nation: a human group held together by a feeling
of common belonging to one and the same human, social, cultural, linguistic,
economic and historic destiny, generally settled on one particular defined
territory, for the destiny of which one is expected to show love and
Traitor, with treason, conspiracy, etc.: whoever abandons his
clan or people and is no longer faithful to its destiny, nor is true
to his obligations, being cowardly, faithless, deceitful and dangerous,
and who sells himself to other States or individuals to secretly foment
disturbances, massacres and murders directed against his fellow citizens.
Martyr: whoever is put to death and/or tortured for his faith,
his cause, his ideal or his social attachments, on behalf of which he
Lebanon: a clearly defined geographic area chosen by the Creator
for a beloved people.
poet creator and interpreter expressing a situation, an idea, a historical
reality or an event in a work of art.
The socio-political and cultural milieu: the material, social, cultural
and human area and the factors acting on any living person or group
of persons, where a man is formed by his circle of friends, his relatives,
social customs, etc., and even by his enemies.
event is a historic occurrence which modifies the routine that is habitual
or expected in daily life. Such was the hanging in 1633 of Emir Fakhreddine,
he who had been prince of a united Lebanon. Prior to Fakhreddine, and
in 1613 during his rule, the Ottoman authority repeatedly raised an
army, purportedly to restore order in Lebanon.
After the First World War, the Allies, including France, granted Lebanon
its independence, providing it with an infrastructure for its prosperity,
liberty, peace and so on, but as all the prophets had foreseen Lebanon
has shown itself unable to truly subsist. Its people is composed of
heterogeneous communities which agree to live together only when it
is convenient for them and when their particular tutelary powers concur
in the same objective.
In particular, two conceptions constantly confront each other: on the
one hand the Muslim group has a wish not to be separated from the other
Muslim countries, while the Christian group remains attached to the
christianized West (Europe or America). Despite the good intentions
affirmed in the National Pact of 1943, all the crises affecting the
Middle East find expression in a division of Lebanon, justifying the
famous expression of Michel Chiha, “Two negations do not make
So this is what happens. Some wish to maintain a connection with Syria,
a neighboring state that has never admitted the independence of Lebanon
with its particular liberty. In the days of Abdul Nasser there were
many who were more Nasserist that Nasser. For some, in the days of the
communist USSR, communism was their ideal. Others made Lebanon an affair
of family or of clan for land or profit.
The Palestinians, originally accepted as guests, became a dangerous
animal. Saudi Arabia had its agents, as did Iran, Iraq, Libya, Israel
and the dollar itself.
Traitors sowed instability, disaster, terrorism and the ruin of the
country. A civil war without mercy raged with the support of powers
of every description to put Lebanon under Syrian mandate, which showed
itself worse than the old Ottoman regime, even more bloody, with the
Palestinians also becoming involved. Nobody was neutral or independent.
It is rare to meet a Palestinian who does not have an uncle, a cousin
or a nephew in the country, which is only natural after a presence of
more than sixty years with unions in this land of welcome.
Let us consider just a little. Those who now demand autonomy, freedom,
sovereignty, etc. are the very ones who with their ancestors and their
political parties have paralyzed Lebanon, making this beautiful land
a martyr and stabbing it in the back. These people present themselves
as liberators – what a disgrace! This is our history with its
martyrs who have sacrificed themselves over four hundred years and which
are brushed aside to be replaced on the podium by profiteers.
The reading must be gone over again. It is not only a history lesson
that I am giving. I wish to speak of the creative artist and of the
Pact of those who have lived through this drama, who have rubbed shoulders
with saints and with assassins, with statesmen and with cowardly conspirators,
with valiant heroes, with clear-minded thinkers and with profiteers
seizing every advantage.
The artist has sought to express his understanding of the facts under
plastic forms with the appropriate colors, lines and surfaces. Each
canvas has seen the light of day bearing with it emotion, sensation
and knowledge, altogether some twenty works, of medium or large dimensions,
from 1975 to ’76 and from 1980 to ’81 and ’82, some
of which were exhibited in Sao Paulo in Brazil. They show happenings
of daily life interpreted with simplicity and sincerity.
The Nation of Lebanon is great, noble and glorious, something unique.
Can one imagine a people who in less than a century give humanity four
saints, three men and one woman? Yet in this very land horrible crimes
and massacres have been committed by those on the margin of civilization,
by fanatics or by the impious, people not Lebanese who do not belong
to our culture, for their ideology does not bind them to the soil but
rather to their belief wherever they may be found.
Physical frontiers have no meaning for them, only the religious dimensions.
During the years 1975 and ’76 and 1980 to ’85, the national,
human and historical theme was treated in the light of various events
occurring continually and often interpreted through allegories, legends
I pass in review some considerations which resume the history and the
human, national, cultural and plastic implications.
of the History... <<