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23 December 2019


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And I really liked the one they sing midway at 2.07 in the video- laylatal milad
ليلة الميلاد يمحى البغضُ
ليلة الميلاد تزهر الأرضُ
ليلة الميلاد تدفن الحربُ
ليلة الميلاد ينبت الحبُ

On the night of Christmas ... Hatred will vanish
On the night of Christmas ... The Earth blooms
On the night of Christmas ... War is buried
On the night of Christmas ... Love is born

Merry Christmas sir, to you and your family.


Bravo, Lebanon is a message to the world, utterly embroiled in turmoil eversince PNAC&Co.....

Abu Sinan

My mother in law, although Yemeni, spent much of her childhood in Lebanon due to internal Yemeni politics. She was Zaidi (Shi'a) but was educated in Christian schools in Beirut and could always sing Christmas songs in Arabic.

This is the type of future that would be impossible if left to the Sunnis in many areas of the region.

Keith Harbaugh

Lovely sentiments.
In honor of the season, might I offer a survey of
(Western) Christmas music of the Renaissance and Baroque?


This is very nice, it is so nice to see everywhere and anywhere in this world, different religions,ethnicities, cultures, respect and praise each other' traditions. The Shia in Lebanon can set the example for rest of Arab world, and frankly some in the western world. Thank you for this post.

English Outsider

FO adjusting the narrative. With help from the BBC.


Babak Makkinejad

No, mo no.

Britain stayed on the right side of the United States in Syria, to all appearances and with very little cost to herself, all the while selling stuff to Iran - say Rolls-Royce products.

None of that surprises any Iranian.

Babak Makkinejad

I am doubtful that something like this could have been attempted in 1979; I do not think the Shia or Christian leaders would have permitted that. Imam Musa Sadr could, in principle, before he was disappeared (likely at the behest of Assad le Pere).

This might be a change that the war in Syria over the last 5 years has brought - shattering Medieval prejudices and replacing them with something new and excellent.

The Twisted Genius

Beautiful, soothing, even triumphant. I sense many of the parishioners felt the same emotions. The thought that ran through my heads was, "My God, those are a lot of orphan girls."



Here is Julia Boutros, in a 2103 concert honouring the Hezbollah. The audience which seems largely well dressed Christians sings along enthusiastically.

You can't fake these emotions of gratitude that many ME Christians feel for Hezbollah for saving them from extinction in their homelands.

Isn't it a tragedy that the new US administration is also blinded to this truth- a truth that Russia recognized early on when the partnered with them in Syria.


With with all due respect, in this post of yours you don't know what you're talking about. In 79 the Shia were quite close to Christian positions on issues in Lebanon and today it's even better... Imam Moussa Al-Sadr was a great man, whom I have personally seen giving speeches in our churches in mount Lebanon. Last and not least, Imam Moussa Al-Sadr was not "disappeared" by Assad Père at all, and I am the last person on earth to ever defend the Assads.... but he was disappeared by CIA-MOSSAD using Gaddafi as a cut-out.


Thank you for posting this


I love Lebanon and people there, even if long time ago a friend of mine died in Beyrouth.
I am quite sure poeple in Syria are the same.
Happy Christmas everybody
" et paix sur la terre aux hommes de bonne volonté "


Beautiful1No Jackie Evancho this year? (Perhaps I misremember.)


Interesting, Willybilly, as always when Babak's narrative seems to converge with other parties' political interest. On the surface that is, of course as nitwit:


Sherry Long De Mandel

Merry Christmas, Colonel to you and your wife, and to all who participate on SST.

Sherry and Rob De Mandel

Babak Makkinejad

So I am to believe that there was a classified US Presidential Finding (by Jimmy Carter's administration) to the effect that an obscure Shia Muslim Doctor of Religion in Lebanon was a threat to national security of the United States.

Next, accepting that, I am to construe that at which time CIA was authorized to work with MOSSAD to eliminate him. Since the only deranged Arab leader around at that time to fall for this scheme was Qaddafi; he was the man who was induced to help the United States to eliminate an Arab who posed no threat to Libya.

I suppose Junbalat was also eliminated in a joint MOSSAD-CIA operation?

How about this:

- Kifak akhi? Ni Hal?

- Labas. Al Hamdulelah.

- Can you get rid of this meddlesome man?

- Anything for Arab Unity I will gladly undertake.

- Shukran

- Any time brother Assad.

Abu Sinan

TTG, I don't know about this school, but I do know that in the Middle East the concept of being an "orphan" is a bit different than it is in the west. Orphan is often used for children who have lost their father, but still have a mother. We wouldn't call someone in such circumstances in the west an orphan, so when it is used in a middle eastern context it usually requires further information to see just what they mean. With the current issues in the region, there at hundreds of families in Lebanon alone where this might apply, mainly from Shi'a backgrounds.

The Twisted Genius

Abu Sinan,

Thanks for that bit of information. I did not know that, but it makes perfect sense.


Listened to a "Concert de Noël à La Madeleine" which included a rendition of 'Ave Maria', sung by soprano Cécile Besnard. A delightful way to spend the holidays.


I agree the CIA-Mossad type of missing link might might at times be overused slightly.

The Musa al-Sadr and the Amal Movement seems to have surfaced before. Maybe in the discussion below one of the earlier contributions by Patrick Bahzad. I was unaware of both before.

Assad le Pere?

As Gaddafi Teeters, Will the Mystery of Lebanon's Missing Imam Be Solved? By Nicholas Blanford / Beirut Friday, Feb. 25, 2011


Gadhafi and the Vanished Imam. The 1978 murder of a luminary of the Shiite religious class, Imam Musa al-Sadr, foreshadowed the Libyan dictator's later crimes against humanity.
By Fouad Ajami, Updated May 17, 2011 12:01 a.m. ET


Review of Fouad Ajami's 1986 book:

Ajami, The Vanished Imam, As'ad AbuKhalil



What is remarkable about that Christmas is that in West Aleppo, following the fall of the jihadis of the Eastern side, worshippers and their neighbors of all religions were able to enjoy the festivities without fear of incoming rockets. Also milling about enjoying the festivities were the Russian MPs. Huge photos of smiling leading Shia leaders were draped down one side square.

The cathedral, now roofless, was the site of midnite mass, with a creche constructed out of the remains of the roof. Outside, Armenian scouts and a girls choir entertained all those now free to go out and about. Their most prominent song is a traditional one about saving themselves from the Turks. That night, a new Protestant church was blessed.

In Damascus, Christmas was also a seen of communal gathering. Sadly, this was marred when a jihadi couple decided to put their small daughter in a suicide vest, took photos were her and sent her to a police station asking for help and then exploding her bomb, killing many.

In Beirut this Christmas season, in the spirit of the anti-sectarian "Hirak" against their corrupt and incompetent government, predominantly Muslim cities lit Christmas trees in central squares and those that had always done so put up more than one. In Tripoli, where one was burned down by spoilers, it was immediately replaced by the protesters. And yes, interreligious events, as usual, abound.


I lived in 19070s, right up until the beginning of the Civil War. Lebanon and Musa Sadr's close associate was a Greek Catholic bishop from southern Lebanon with whom he shared the desire to help the poor and deprived of that region. I also note that the Amal Movement that he established has maintained close relations with various Christian denominations. At Ashura, the Nabatieh community gather in a center to here a recitation of the Ta'ziyah [with the audience in folding chairs quietly weeping at the most dramatic parts], and usually by an Iraqi with superb delivery. Among the speeches, or rather sermons, one is usually delivered by a Greek Catholic or Maronite priest who talks about the martyrdom of Jesus and al Hussain and their messages to the world.
Inter-Sectarian relations differ across cultures and time. In Lebanon, the sects are intertwined in very complicated ways. Today, in the midst of the anti-sectarian largely youthful Hirak, Muslim protestors have gone out of their way to put up Christmas trees in the town squares in cities such as Tripoli, Saida and Tyre. All of this is being done despite the efforts of the sectarian powers to divide and conquer.

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