News / Middle East

Lebanese Children Learn Abbreviated National History

Lebanese Children Learn Abbreviated National Historyi
|| 0:00:00
X
Paige Kollock
November 11, 2012 8:46 PM
Lebanon’s many different sects have their own history, which makes formulating a unified national history challenging. The 1989 Taif Accord, which ended the 15-year Lebanese civil war, called for civic education to be uniform across the country in order to promote national unity. But as Paige Kollock reports for VOA, the goal remains unrealized.

Lebanese Children Learn Abbreviated National History

Paige Kollock
Lebanon’s many different sects have their own history, which makes formulating a unified national history challenging.  The 1989 Taif Accord, which ended the 15-year Lebanese civil war, called for civic education to be uniform across the country in order to promote national unity.  But the goal remains unrealized.

Syrian forces withdrew from Lebanon in 2005 after a 29-year occupation. 

A series of popular uprisings preceded the withdrawal, culminating in one demonstration which brought an estimated one million Lebanese into the streets.  The event, dubbed the “Cedar Revolution,” was seen as a main factor in the Syrian departure.

But Lebanese schoolchildren may never read about it because a ministerial committee recently decided to eliminate the phrase “Cedar Revolution” from a national middle school history curriculum being developed.

Since 1989, the committee dedicated to agreeing on a national history textbook has repeatedly failed to do so.

Maha Kassem is the principal of the Green Space School, an elementary school in Beirut. “The people who are in charge of overseeing the unified history book, they are the ones who are involved in these conflicts," she said. 

Most history textbooks stop in 1943, the year of Lebanese independence, leaving recent history interpretation up to parents, which can further cement a child’s sectarian view.

Lebanese University history professor Mounzir Jabber says the issue dates back to the Ottoman Empire. "As long as the feeling of identity in Lebanon remains sectarian, it’s [impossible] to talk about history on a patriotic basis," he said. 

At the Green Space School, which lies on the edge of Christian, Druze and Shi'ite neighborhoods, Kassem says sectarian affiliation makes history lessons sensitive "Sometimes we have to skip certain lessons or summarize them, to avoid some discussions that might cause troubles between the students," she said. 

Especially when it comes to the 15-year civil war, in which all sects suffered losses and atrocities took place. The country is still recovering physically and emotionally.

Until then, Jabber says, perhaps it is fine to agree to disagree. “Let each group have its own version of history.  But let's make sure that they are highlighting on the elements that keep them together, not the ones that tear them apart," he said. 

For now, Lebanese schools often choose textbooks according to their religious affiliation.

 

You May Like

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anonymous
November 11, 2012 4:59 PM
if you really want to be frightened, find out what Arabs children are taught in schools run by Hamas and Hezbollah and the Palestinian territories - Jordan, Syria, Egypt.... now, that is frighting!!!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid