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 Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community 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.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid