Lebanese Awakening

However, the Lebanese were living through a “ray of freedom” in which they wanted to modernize and enhance their ways of life. The population density in Lebanon was crowded and that kept people in communities. The Lebanese are also open to foreign influence. They now have secure lives and own property.

Some young Lebanese went to Italy to become priests. Of them, some went on to spread Orientalism in Paris and Rome while the rest came back to open schools to preach in. During the 18th century the influence from Roman graduates started to show. Through the church reforms, education was spreading through the opening of schools in Bqrqasha, Louwaze and Zougharta. In the 18th century, the best Maronite education was in Ayn Waraqa. These graduates carried on to become powerful figures through the 19th century. The Greek Catholics came from Syria to Lebanon to join the maronites and improve literacy. Main problem was that only well-off families could be educated while the rest stayed ignorant.

The Muslims didn’t want the Arabic language to be used because they considered it sacred and holy. The only education Islamic people taught were religion and the Koran. In return the Druze and Greek Orthodox were the only ones left without superfluous educational levels. Besides the Druze protected their holy texts so much they had nothing to learn.

The next problem rose with the lack of books. As schools opened, there were less and less books available because they were handwritten. The press could not use Arabic because of the Muslims so they used Syriac. First books written were about religion, and then eventually developed into culture. The cultural movement didn’t have a popular effect, because only a minority was getting educated.

Niqula Turk was a pioneering Lebanese poet that awakened new ambitions among his younger contemporaries. Al-Turk represented a wide literary movement in which more poets were rising such as Butrus Karam. Name new young talents were encouraged to join in such as Al-Shihabi who became a very distinguished scholar.

By 1820, the beginning of cultural awakening could be noticed more frequently around. Young men were eager to be educated yet they differed in finding ways to obtain an education. The arrival of the American missionaries was the big new step as they established their religious connections and opened numerous educational institutes across the country.

The American printing press started in 1834. These helped them spread education across Lebanon and by the mid-1800s were holding 25 institutes. All the aristocrats like the educational system by the Americans, and so placed their children in their institutes. One successful network was the “Lebanon Schools” that initiated from 5 to 25 schools that accepted all genders and all religions.

However Ibrahim Pasha started a military school that boosted education for Muslims and even established hospitals all around. This over-shadowed the American educational influence.

Education was disrupted in 1840 with a series of events such as the bombing of Beirut by the British and the landing of foreign troops in Jounieh.

Daniel Bliss another missionary opened the Syrian Protestant College, later renamed to AUB. Despite the main losers at the time, the Shi’ites and the Druze as they didn’t place any effort in education, Lebanon was one of the most modernized part of the Ottoman Empire.

The Christians led an intellectual movement in the 19th century that contrasted with the movements in Turkey and Egypt. This was mainly due to the security the Christian community got with the help of the western powers. The Moslem’s feared the western social changes, but the movement was not stopped.

The Mutesarrifate enjoyed prosperity, trading, commerce and an expanding class of Christian bourgeoisie. Subsequently Arabic literacy was rediscovered strengthening the culture as it spread from Lebanon to around to other Arabic-dialect countries. The American Missionaries kept a close connection with this change and then translated the Bible to Arabic in 1865.

Even one of the most successful and influential men of that time Butrus Al-Bustani wrote a 6 volume encyclopedia called Da’irat al-ma’arif. He later went on to exceed in Arabic journalism and with the assistance of his son who edited his ideas. Other Lebanese writers got renown outside Lebanon like in Egypt where Salim Taqla went to teach and initiate a news paper that survived until today called Al-Ahram. He also wrote about theology, sociology, astronomy and other subjects in the category of historical novels.

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