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Happy Christmas: Of Shia & Christian in Beirut and Aleppo

[ by Charles Cameron — season’s greetings ]

I trust you can see and hear this video, or at least click through to Le Liban c’est ça aussi : une chorale musulmane qui chante Noël dans une église and watch it. It presents, as the post in French tells us, a Lebanese Shiite choir singing Christmas carols in a church, and with it I offer you my Christmas greetings on behalf of one and all at Zenpundit, greetings secular, sacred, Maccabean, Nazarene, Muslim, or at the mall.


I’m, as you may know, in recovery from heart surgery and on kidney dialysis, and this year I received a very kind care package of renal-failure appropriate food from an anonymous source, so I’m reminded that while the mall, grocery store and food-laden table may not represent the “essence of Christmas” as my mother would have wished — the child born God to brighten our dark world — they can nonetheless represent generosity as well as commerce, a break in the relentless pursuit of dominance, human life as gift and giving.

On this day, therefore, of commercial, charitable and Christian celebration, we wish you all, according to your varied natures and our own perspectives, happiness this Christmas in the teeth of winter and the world.


That Muslim voices are raised above in a Christian church in praise of the Christian nativity offers a glimpse of hope for mutual respect in the strife-and faith-torn Middle East — but such matters as the overlapping and interconnections of faiths are never simple, and by way or remembering something of the nuance, here’s a quick sentence from COL Pat Lang‘s post at Sic Semper Tyrannis yesterday, Christmas in Aleppo – Attention Joe Scarborough:

One of our German correspondents on SST informed us the other day that there are now some Christian members of Hizbullah, the Lebanese Shia militia. This would make sense because after the 2006 war against Israel Hizbullah assigned priority of its own reconstruction money to Christians in south Lebanon.


To quote Charles Dickens:

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity..

Best wishes & blessings to all..

8 Responses to “Happy Christmas: Of Shia & Christian in Beirut and Aleppo”

  1. Scott Says:

    Charles! So glad to see you here again! And indeed, may God bless you all, every one!

  2. Grurray Says:

    With all due respect to the learned and esteemed Col Lang, that is the wrong conclusion. The infiltrations of first Al Qaeda, then ISIS into Lebanon are the real reasons why (some few) Christians have been accepting arms, money, etc. from Hezbollah.
    Although, I can’t argue with the beauty and holiness of the orphan choir, it’s worth noting that, in contrast, later in the week Matteo brought the sounds of the Serene Signoria back to old Beirut http://bit.ly/2iuKmK
    Merry Christmas and welcome back Charles. It hasn’t been the same with you on your medical leave. May you keep hale and hearty during your rehab.

  3. larrydunbar Says:

    “The infiltrations of first Al Qaeda, then ISIS into Lebanon are the real reasons why (some few) Christians have been accepting arms, money, etc. from Hezbollah.”

    Is it also because Russia hasn’t penetrated that far and they are waiting, or are they just not a part of Eastern Orientation and relying on their roots? Maybe neither?

  4. Grurray Says:

    Russia used to operate schools and missionary outposts in Lebanon pre-revolution. They were engaged in a rivalry with England, France, and, to a lesser extent, America to gain influence and make inroads with the various ethnic and religious groups. The Russians originally staked out their sphere with the Orthodox/Byzantine groups, but towards the end they followed the British and supported Arab nationalism. This provided a natural segue for the Soviet’s support of socialist groups like the Ba’athists. There were also communists in Lebanon, but they were absorbed into the Palestinian debacle of the 70s and 80s. Soviet operations were limited by the whims of the Arab Strongmen/Madmen they were backing at any given time.
    These days Putin seems to get some attention in some quarters, but I’m skeptical of any supposed coordination between the Russians and Hezbollah. From what I can tell, the Russians have been careful not to explicitly help Hezbollah positions in Syria. There is actually growing cooperation between Russia and Israel spurred by the rising political assertion of Russian Jewish immigrants. The newly elected Lebanese president Michael Aoun has been too eratic in the past for the Russians to seriously consider working with him, and he’s largely seen as a pawn of Hezbollah. However, he did once have ties with Saddam back in the 80s. You never know what old links and threads may resurface in these perplexing times.
    Maybe the Matteo link above was bad. Phone typing.
    This might work:

  5. Jim Gant Says:


    Thanks for this post. Glad to have you back.

    Merry Christmas…!


  6. zen Says:

    Welcome back Charles!

  7. Charles Cameron Says:

    It is indeed wonderful to be back, though I’m still a bit foggy and not writing much. Jim, I owe you a longish email, which will come in time. Both my book projects (roughly, coronation, jihad) look very different to me now, in ways I hope to explore here. Thanks to all for good wishes.

  8. Jim Gant Says:


    Take your time…Read, write and rest! I am not going anywhere. I will wait patiently with anticipation.

    I search for ‘Samadhi’ – it will take quite some time, I am sure of this. I am looking forward to your help along the path.


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