Last modified: 2012-04-07 by eugene ipavec
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images by Eugene Ipavec, 06 Mar 2012
According to the Maronite League website,
Eugene Ipavec, 13 Dec 2007
The main purpose of the Lebanese Maronite League is to bring together members of the Maronite Community with the aim of providing them with continuous support and defending their vital interests.
The League also strives to help the Maronite Community to be actively present in the Lebanese society and to underscore the central role played by the Maronites who are recognized as leading contributors to the culture and development of Lebanon and the entire Arab Levant...
The Maronite League also believes that is of utmost importance to consolidate the unity of its Community Members which is crucial to maintaining the unity of Lebanon. As a Community centered on solidarity, we endeavor to strengthen our ties with our Lebanese brothers of all confessions and religions.
The Maronite League was established in August 1952 in Beirut as a private, non-profit and ostensibly apolitical organization of Christian notables, dedicated mainly to defend the independence and sovereignty of Lebanon in the cadre of a democratic and pluralistic society. It is often described as an exclusively Maronite “elitist group” whose membership was “automatic” for prominent figures in the public and private sectors – intellectuals, businessmen, bankers, politicians (including former heads of state and diplomats), lawyers, jurists, public servants, retired senior Army or Police officers, etc. In reality, the League is a Phoenicist-oriented lobby aimed at promoting Christian interests in the Lebanese Government and Parliament. Politically conservative, anti-Communist and opposed to secularization, the group has since the 1950s manoeuvred to neutralize any mesures that might threat the political status quo, quietly exerting pressure on the authorities to lift legal bans on Maronite Church public activities or to restrict labour rights by curbing Trade Unions. The Maronite League became more politicised towards the 1960s, strenghthing its ties with Maronite Church leaders and due to their clear hostility towards Pan-Arabism, they also objected to the presence of Palestinian refugees and the PLO, advocating their total eviction from Lebanon.Eugene Ipavec, 06 Mar 2012
Under the presidency of Shaker Abu Suleiman, an ardent supporter of Father Charbel Qassis, Superior General of the Order of the Maronite Monks, the League in the early 1970s provided secret financial support and cadres to Christian militias, notably the Al-Tanzim. In 1975 Abu Suleiman even used the League's funds to raise a 200 men-strong militia, which he led personally and which saw heavy action in Beirut during the 1975-76 civil war, defending the Christian quarters against LNM/PLO forces' attacks. The League joined the Lebanese Front in 1976 and, despite having their own militia absorved into the Lebanese Forces in the following year they managed to maintain themselves as a separate body. Remaining active – again mostly behind the scenes – throughout the civil war, the League tried to encourage a rapprochement policy and reconciliation between the different Christian parties and militias during the violent inter-Christian strifes of the late 1970s and late 1980s. Eventually, the ML emerged virtually unscatched in the post-war years as a powerfull pressure group with some 700-1,300 current members, which continues to promote Christian interests in Lebanon and abroad.
The flag visible on the League website in 2007 was golden, with the emblem in gold in a black disc; see photo, photo. A flag seen at the League's site in 2010 features the same design, but in a white and blue color scheme and omitting the disc's fimbriation.
Eugene Ipavec, 13 Dec 2007 and 06 Mar 2012
The League's logo is visible in the header of the main page, and is a disc with the organization' name in Arabic calligraphy arranged into the shape of a cedar, what Wikipedia's article on Islamic calligraphy defines as a complex caligram in the Thuluth style.Eugene Ipavec, 13 Dec 2007