Between Brad and Bkerke…

February 9th, St. Maroun’s day, the founder of the Maronite Church.

On this day, we are observing two totally different scenes.
One in Bkerke, Lebanon and one in Brad, Syria.

In Bkerke, the Maronite Patriach, held Mass to celebrate the day. Notable politicians attended.
In Brad, a Lebanese Maronite political leader took his family and supporters to celebrate the day.

The difference in meaning between both celebrations is anything but subtle…

Do not be fooled by the apparent religious cover of the celebration in Brad… it is all political.
Brad might have been an important Maronite location in the past but the present value of this site is what matters: there is nothing currently Maronite about it except its history. If Maronites had felt it suitable to stay in Brad, I’m positive Brad would have been a Maronite beacon today. But this is not the case. What is left in Brad is a few ruins to commemorate the days when Maronites were actually there.

On the other hand, Bkerke is the seat of Maronitisim of the whole Levant region – it is the reference. It is the place where people should celebrate St. Maroun’s day. It is where all Lebanese citizens, regardless of their religious affiliations, come to share the celebration with the Patriarch.
Look at it this way, what would be the value of Rome and the Vatican if they weren’t the current location and base of the Holy See?

This political leader probably thinks he’s making a good deed by visiting Syria to celebrate this day. He probably believes that showing that not all Maronites consider the Patriarch and Bkerke their reference, to further solidify the idea that the diversity in Lebanon, even within certain sects, is a good thing, only working to the enriching of society. I believe this is the best case scenario explanation of his motive.
It would have been good if this precise leader wasn’t so adamant about fighting for Christian – and precisely Maronite – rights.
A simple common sense question I believe I am entitled to ask: do you believe, Mr. politician, that showing a divided front to the world is a good way to fight for your rights? What rights are we supposed to fight for if we can’t even agree where we want to celebrate our founder’s day? What gives us the right to even fight for our rights if we can’t even agree on a proper reference for us in our country?
The reality is: he wants to show that a sizable fragment of Maronites actually consider him their reference.

What is even more ironic is the hypocrisy this leader has shown throughout his dealings with Bkerke and yet his followers seem to forget about it.
2005: The patriarch and Bkerke side with him… the patriarch does not receive any bashing
2005 onwards: This politician shifts sides.
2005 onwards: The Patriarch and Bkerke became critical of him and he, along with his followers, began bashing the patriarch.

This leader is preaching to his followers in Brad. But what about those followers? I know some of them. Some of them are from my hometown, I even share blood with some. And I’ve heard them say on way too many occasions that “our patriarch isn’t worth Hassan Nasrallah’s shoe”. This is how low these people think of their patriarch, their true reference. What does that say of them?
And why do they think so low of the patriarch? Because their political leader is at odds with how the Patriarch views the right direction for our country to be… You see, the simple chronological sequence I illustrated earlier only goes to show that the Patriarch and Bkerke are firm in their convictions. They have not changed. It is those who have changed and cannot tolerate criticism that have been the most sensitive and therefore, the most brutal towards Bkerke.

There are many more differences between Brad and Bkerke than a few hundred kilometers… the difference between Brad and Bkerke is that of ideology.

The only thing this political leader is accomplishing is distancing himself from the Maronite Church. If only he had the common sense to see that this Church he is trying to ignore is a 1600 year old institute that has overcome many, many bigger hurdles than the one he thinks he’s setting up.
If only he had the common sense to see that, at least on St. Maroun’s day, he should at least attend Mass at Bkerke and show the world that at least on the day of their founding, Maronites are united in their cause to stay in the country that made them and in the country that they have made.

8 thoughts on “Between Brad and Bkerke…

  1. I can’t believe you actually published this. This is outrageous and this is EXACTLY why Lebanon will never evolve. WHY do you care where a politician celebrates a RELIGIOUS feast? WHY does that matter? WHY should the patriarch be dragged into politics? Too many why’s… and too few answers..

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    • I care when his “RELIGIOUS” celebration is, as I said, not really “RELIGIOUS” but is as political as politics go. And I also believe it is exactly by pointing out certain flaws that we actually evolve.
      I didn’t drag the patriarch in politics… I specifically said the patriarch is celebrating a purely religious occasion, whilst the politician is making a religious occasion political.
      I’m usually very careful with what I write and the words I choose to put and this is no different. Sometimes speaking up will actually get the country forward and if no one points out the serious hideousness that’s going on today, we will never evolve.
      Thanks for dropping by.

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  2. The amount of sickness in Lebanon is horrible, lust for power and this low need to eliminate others in all possible means are the rule of thumb. Until the herds wake up, we still have a long journey of pain with what’s going on in this so called country.

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    • This is exactly what I meant by this. Regardless of one’s political affiliations, sometimes you need to look at things objectively and what happened today (and what will undoubtedly be repeated next year) is a seriously messed up. And it’s something that Maronites should avoid, especially in the already fragile state they might be in.
      I am not one to like the whole sectarian talk, but I also believe that Lebanon is a country that can only be built by enforcing all of his citizens and Maronites are a big chunk of that society, a chunk that cannot and should not be brought down to the pettiness of some politicians.

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  3. I don’t think this post was sectarian, or dividing at all. Simply, the writer was displaying the amount of hypocrisy in this country to the point where religious celebrations are dragged into it.

    Brad has nothing for the Maronites today, Aoun’s move simply was political, it was there to show his loyalty to Syria, to attack the Patriarch and Bkerke, and to show the Lebanese he does what he wants. It’s funny, this came after he was attacked by March 14 to be a man who does as he is told by Hezballah. Going to Brad didn’t really prove he “does what he sees fit”. I mean as a Sunni I have no right to comment about Maronite history and such, but lets be real Brad may be a significant part of the Maornite beginning…but Bkerke is where it was solidified and strengthened over the centuries.

    Oh well, one day he will wake up and realize he was an idiot. From my point of view, I will say that I will be visiting Bkerke on all Maronite holidays, and NOT brad.

    Awesome post dude, as usual.

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      • I still view this issue as meaningless.

        Blame him for things he did/did not do for the country, for the positions he has held, for his promises, for his WORK, his political opinions, but for God’s sake… does it matter where he goes to Church? He could go to Church in Syria and be totally loyal to Lebanon; he could also go to Church in Lebanon and be totally loyal to Syria… That’s his private life… and we have nothing to do with it independently of our political affiliation. What if he believes Bkerke does not represent him, say? Would you blame him? He’s free….. You could blame him for 2937894728472894729 other things, but not this one, I’m sorry.

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        • He went to pray but made a political brouhaha out of it. Therefore, judging it becomes allowed. If he had gone and prayed and came back without speeches, without addressing supporters, without bringing out supporters with him in the first place… if he had made it a private matter, it would have been a different post.
          Also, by not respecting Bkerke is one of the things I say he’s messing up with. You can’t like Bkerke when you think it’s good for you and dislike it when it’s not.
          Either way, appreciate your comment! 🙂

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