Les Racines Du Nationalisme Libanais

Jawad Boulos

J’ai à vous parler, ce soir, des racines du nationalisme libanais, ou, plus exactement, des fondements réels de la nation libanaise.

Outre sa complexité, ce sujet recèle des points délicats qui, faute d’être objectivement traits, laissent subsister dans le pays un vague malaise. Aussi, dans notre présente causerie, apporterons-nous à l’examen sommaire de cette question une objectivité scientifique rigoureuse.

Pour mieux comprendre la question qui nous occupe, il convient, tout d’abord, de définir le mot nationalisme. En second lieu, pour savoir si la nation libanaise existe réellement, il importe, au préalable, de définir la nation en général, dans le sens moderne de ce terme. En troisième lieu, nous montrerons que la société libanaise actuelle constitue effectivement une nation moderne. Enfin, nous verrons que la nation libanaise actuelle n’est pas une création artificielle ni récente, et que ses racines ou origines historiques plongent dans le fonds d’un très vieux passé.

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The Cedars of Lebanon

The Cedar of Lebanon, Cedrus Libani, is an evergreen of the family Pinaceae. This coniferous plant was first found in Lebanon, on the Mount Lebanon range at Sannine, Barouk, and the eastern and western mountain chains. The tree however is not only found in Lebanon, but forests of Cedrus Libani grow in Cilicia, the Taurus Mountains, Cyprus and Morocco, although many of these are considered to be different races of the same species. The Mount Lebanon chain used to be almost completely covered with cedars. In addition, many handsome specimens are cultivated in several countries of the world, notably in England and in France.Cedrus Libani possesses an imposing trunk that may attain a height of 120 feet and a diameter of 9 feet. Such a trunk is often branching and having a dense crown with an inclined dark green head of characteristic flat growth in adult trees. Secondary branchlets are often ramified like a candelabra. Warberton, in his “Crescent and Cross”, described a Cedar of Lebanon with a trunk of 45 feet in circumference. Burckhardt speaks of twelve very ancient trees called the “Saints”. These had four, five, and even seven gigantic trunks” springing from the same base”, bearing, like American Sequoitas, leaves only at their very tops. The bark of the Cedar of Lebanon is dark gray and exudes a gum of balsam, which makes the wound so fragrant that to walk in a grove of cedars is an utmost delight. The wood is astonishingly decay resistant and it is never eaten by insect larvae. It is of a beautiful red tone, solid, and free from knots.

The terminal shoots are erect or slightly inclined. The tree blossoms in September or October, which is peculiar to the genus Cedrus among the conifers. It bears cones that require three years to mature. The cone is initially tiny and pale green. The second year it reaches its full size that ranges between 3-4.5 inches in height and has a characteristic violet purple color. In the third season it turns into a rich brown and scatters its seeds, which are minute, considering the size of the tree. The cones are born upright on the upper side of the branches.
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