Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Os clãs libaneses

Meeting the clans of Lebanon (Al Jazeera):

Originating from Arab tribes in the region, the clans of Lebanon are considered to have a rich history, and whose bonds can never be broken. From the fifth century until the 18th, the clans were based between Tripoli and Beirut, and then subsequently moved to Lebanon's Bekaa region where they continue to reside.

Today's clans share an ancestor - the Hamadiyeh clan. Tracing down the generations from the Hamadiyeh, there are two main branches, the Chamas and the Zaaiter. Within the Zaaitar clan, there are the Meqdads, Haj Hassan, Noon, Shreif, and the Jaafar. Within the Chamas clan, there are the Allaw, Nassereddine, and Dandash.

According to Saadoun Hamadeh, author of The History of Shia in Lebanon, the country began with 80 or so tribes, which have now been whittled down to between 30 and 35. (...)

As-Safir journalist Saada Allaw - of the Allaw family - said the clans "don't count their family members in the conventional way".

"They say, for example, we are 15,000 rifles, which indicates how many people are willing and able to carry weapons." (...)

The Meqdads, who claim to have "10,000 able-bodied men", recently announced the "success" of their military wing's operation in response to the kidnapping of a family member in Syria. While they originate from the Bekaa, their presence is much more noticeable in Dahyeh, a southern suburb of Beirut.

Hussein "Abu Ali" Meqdad, a member of the Meqdad family, told Al Jazeera the armed wing of the clan consists of "1,500 bodies, and another 1,000 on stand-by".  (...)

For Allaw, the term "military wing" is more of a media stunt. "Every clan has members who are willing and trained to take up arms if needs be, it is not a specialised 'wing'," she said. (...)

Author Hamadeh said that the clans "are the least attached to political parties, including Hezbollah and Amal". (...)

"They abide by certain rules that they themselves have created, and have their own judge to look over their feuds," he said. "The state does not get involved."

It was when Lebanese Shia started becoming the targets of sectarian tensions around 2005 that the clans reportedly began showing more compassion for Hezbollah and Amal.

"Today it is not unusual for one of the political parties to mediate a feud between the clans to prevent bloodshed," said Allaw.

Abu Ali was keen to point out that parties such as Hezbollah do not give orders to clans such as his. "We have our own organised hierarchy, and we do not accept orders from anyone, including Hezbollah," he said. "We control our own members."

No comments: