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A writer, blogger, historian, and web designer born in New York, educated in Argentina, Scotland, and South Africa, and now based in London. read more

Remembering Gemayel

September 14 is the twenty-third anniversary of the assasination of the Catholic general and politician Bachir Gemayel by Syrian agents, only nine days before he was to be inaugurated as President of Lebanon. Gemayel was the son of Pierre Gemayel, the founder of the Lebanese Kataeb (Phalange) which Bachir eventually led himself, and was also instrumental in unifying the Christian militias of the country into the Lebanese Forces, which joined with the conventional Lebanese Armed Forces in their 100-day attempt to expel the Syrians from Lebanon in 1978.

A massive bomb exploded in the Kataeb headquarters on September 14, 1982, killing the President-elect and twenty-four other souls. The assasination only further escalated the violence of the Civil War, a conflict which was taken to regretable extremes by all the parties invovled.

Gemayel and daughter.

The Kataeb and the Lebanese Forces, mostly supported by Maronite Catholics as well as other Christians and many Druze, fought to preserve the freedom and integrity of the Christian community in Lebanon. The waxing power of the PLO and other exiled Palestinian groups and refugees, Shi’ite unrest over perceived slights, and interference by Syria in Lebanon combined to create a tinderbox which eventually exploded into violence in the 1970’s. The increasingly hostile situation led to large-scale emigration by Christians from Lebanon to the United States, the U.K., Canada, and Australia. (Hence why, contrary to what one might think, the majority of Arab-Americans are actually Christian). Unfortunately, the emigration caused even further destabilization, lessening the Christian population, increasing the Muslim proportion, and weakening the chances for peace. Lebanon’s 16-year civil war only ended in the early 1990’s. The land of cedars has since then become somewhat prosperous, despite continued, but waning, Syrian influence.

Gemayel’s legacy continues, and his face could be seen on many of the posters carried by the anti-Syrian marchers, who were Muslim and Christian alike, during the demonstrations earlier this year. Fiddleback Fever muses on the death of Gemayel and the Feast of the Exhaltation of the Holy Cross.

This post was published on Wednesday, September 14th, 2005 3:18 pm. It has been categorised under Church History Lebanon Military Politics and been tagged under , .
dany merhej
17 Sep 2008 7:43 am

bachir lives in us

hanna richa
16 Jan 2009 5:42 pm

Bachir Gemayel is a hero, Samy Gemayel is our leader!

Elie habib
3 Jun 2011 11:39 pm

We really miss him….

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