Portal:Lebanon

The Lebanon Portal

A view of Byblos, Lebanon
A view of Byblos, Lebanon
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Lebanon (/ˈlɛbənɒn, -nən/ Listen LEB-ə-non, -⁠nən, Arabic: لُبْنَان, romanizedlubnān, Lebanese Arabic pronunciation: [lɪbˈneːn]), officially the Republic of Lebanon or the Lebanese Republic, is a country in Western Asia. It is located between Syria to the north and east and Israel to the south, while Cyprus lies to its west across the Mediterranean Sea; its location at the crossroads of the Mediterranean Basin and the Arabian hinterland has contributed to its rich history and shaped a cultural identity of religious diversity. It is part of the Levant region of the Middle East. Lebanon is home to roughly six million people and covers an area of 10,452 square kilometres (4,036 sq mi), making it one of the smallest countries in the world. The official language of the state is Arabic, while French is also formally recognized; the Lebanese dialect of Arabic is used alongside Modern Standard Arabic throughout the country.

The earliest evidence of civilization in Lebanon dates back over 7000 years, predating recorded history. Modern-day Lebanon was home to the Phoenicians, a maritime culture that flourished for almost 3000 years (c. 3200–539 BCE). In 64 BCE, the Roman Empire conquered the region, and it eventually became among the empire's leading centers of Christianity. The Mount Lebanon range saw the emergence of a monastic tradition known as the Maronite Church. Upon the region's conquest by the early Arab Muslims, the Maronites held onto their religion and identity. However, a new religious group known as the Druze eventually established themselves in Mount Lebanon as well, generating a religious divide that has lasted for centuries. During the Crusades, the Maronites re-established contact with the Roman Catholic Church and asserted their communion with Rome. The Maronite Catholic and the Druze founded modern Lebanon in the early eighteenth century, through the ruling and social system known as the "Maronite-Druze dualism" in Mount Lebanon Mutasarrifate.

Lebanon is a developing country, ranking 92nd on the Human Development Index and among the highest in the Arab world outside of the oil-rich economies of the Persian Gulf. It has been classified as an upper middle income state. However, the Lebanese liquidity crisis, corruption as well as recent events have precipitated the collapse of currency, political instability, widespread shortages, high unemployment and poverty. Despite the country's small size, Lebanese culture is renowned both in the Middle East and globally, primarily powered by its extensive diaspora. Lebanon is a founding member of the United Nations and is a member of the Arab League, the Non-Aligned Movement, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie. (Full article...)

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The Lebanese Civil War (Arabic: الحرب الأهلية اللبنانية, romanizedAl-Ḥarb al-Ahliyyah al-Libnāniyyah) was a multifaceted armed conflict that took place from 1975 to 1990. It resulted in an estimated 120,000 fatalities and an exodus of almost one million people from Lebanon.

The diversity of the Lebanese population played a notable role in the lead-up to and during the conflict: Sunni Muslims and Christians comprised the majority in the coastal cities; Shia Muslims were primarily based in the south and the Beqaa Valley in the east; and Druze and Christians populated the country's mountainous areas. The Lebanese government had been run under the significant influence of elites within the Maronite Christian community. The link between politics and religion had been reinforced under the French Mandate from 1920 to 1943, and the country's parliamentary structure favoured a leading position for its Christian-majority population. However, the country had a large Muslim population to match, and many pan-Arabist and left-wing groups opposed the Christian-dominated pro-Western government. The influx of thousands of Palestinians in 1948 and 1967 contributed to the shift of Lebanon's demography in favour of the Muslim population. The Cold War had a powerful disintegrative effect on Lebanon, which was closely linked to the political polarization that preceded the 1958 Lebanese crisis, since Christians sided with the Western world while leftist, Muslim, and pan-Arabist groups sided with Soviet-aligned Arab countries.

Fighting between Maronite-Christian and Palestinian forces (mainly from the Palestine Liberation Organization) began in 1975; leftist, Muslim, and pan-Arabist Lebanese groups formed an alliance with the Palestinians in Lebanon. Over the course of the fighting, alliances shifted rapidly and unpredictably. Furthermore, foreign powers, such as Israel and Syria, became involved in the war and fought alongside different factions. Various peacekeeping forces, such as the Multinational Force in Lebanon and the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, were also stationed in the country during the conflict. (Full article...)
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Lydia Canaan, first rock star of the Middle East

Lydia Canaan (Arabic: ليديا كنعان) is a Lebanese singer-songwriter and humanitarian activist widely regarded as the first “rock star” of the Middle East.

Credited as the first internationally successful Lebanese recording artist, Canaan rose to fame performing rock music in English amid enemy military attacks during the Lebanese Civil War, holding concerts in vicinities of Lebanon that were simultaneously being bombed. Hala Habib of Society wrote, “in a small country that was ripped by war, there was this young girl making a difference”.

Canaan was the first Middle Eastern artist to sing solely in English, and the first to have music videos played on MTV Europe, MTV Southeast Asia, MTV Russia, and MTV Middle East. Her musical debut was described as having defied tradition, challenged convention, and transcended millennia-old gender barriers. According to Arabian Woman, “as a girl who grew up in the midst of a bloody civil war, Canaan was breaking down seemingly insurmountable barriers ... She rocked the establishment”. In 2015, Canaan was cataloged in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum's Library and Archives. (Full article...)

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