April 10, 2008, - 1:31 pm

“We are NOT Arabs!”

By Debbie Schlussel
In response to my recent column on courageous Costa Mesa, California Mayor Allan Mansoor and American Hero/Medal of Honor winner Michael Anthony Monsoor and their Mid-East heritage, reader RM–also of Mid-East heritage–writes an important letter:

Debbie,
Most Middle Eastern Christians are not arabs. We trace our roots to the pre-arab, indigenous populations of the ME. We are as different from arabs as the Jews are. We Assyrians, for example, do not speak arabic, except in arab countries. We speak Aramaic as our first language. In Iran, we speak Aramaic and Farsi. In Turkey, we speak Aramaic and Turkish. Not one word of arabic is poken by Assyrians in Turkey and Iran. I myself speak only Aramaic, and not one word of arabic.

notarabs.jpg

The Copts are Egypt’s indigenous, pre-arab people. The very word Egypt comes from the Greek, Ikyptos, “The Copts.” Their language is a direct descendant of Heiroglyphics. Heiroglyphic to Heiratic to Demotic and finally to Coptic, over the millenia.
It is true that some ME Christians, Chaldeans and Copts included, have been arabized. But to call them arabs because of their language is like calling the Irish, “English.”
I hope this helps.
WE ARE NOT ARABS!!!!!!!!!!!

Agreed.
One other thing to add: My friends who are Lebanese Maronite Christians also say they are not Arabs. They prefer to be called Phoenicians. The Phoenicians were the original Lebanese, and they much pre-dated the Arabs. Even a Lebanese Druze friend of mine says, “I’m an not an Arab.” In addition to it not being their heritage, it’s also because “Arab” is seen as “Muslim,” and they don’t want to be known as part of the “Religion of (non-)Peace.”

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27 Responses

okaaaaay.

samurai on April 10, 2008 at 1:51 pm

    Fact sheet for Lebanese-Phoenicians

    In a modern days we have learned to identify people by their country’s name and the passport they are holding. For example: you can’t call an Irish person British, because both speak English, you can’t call a Canadian an Australian or an American a South African, because they speak the same language, it is unaccepted in the public, media or in politics or in nature. You can’t call the horse a donkey even they look similar.
    Why are the Lebanese-Phoenician very often labeled Arabs? Whether it is an ediction to the Arab oil cash money or doing Arabism a favor by swallowing the ancient minorities of the middle east, by using an anti-Lebanese policy in world media, politics and public. It is nothing but a modern mistake discriminating the ancient people who are the minorities in the region.
    The fact is that in modern days the Lebanese-Phoenicians enjoy two memberships: with the Francophone and the Arab league for political and economical reasons, not by heritage, A lebanese-Phoenician is obligated to learn all subjects in French: Arabic history, geography, Arabic and English. Lebanese-Phoenician can’t be hired in the government if they dont speak french well and English is recommended, even documents in English or French are accepted. Despite the fact that the Lebanese-Phoenicians enjoy many sects, cultures and languages, for example: the Aramaic language is the Litrugical language for Christians, Armenians, and other minor languages. You can hear them very often in the streets.
    The point here is: how can we fix an internationl error in politics and media enabling the public to have correct views and information?
    The DNA research by national geographic has played a strong role in the fight for the original heritage of the Lebanese-Phoenician people of the east cost of the Mediterranean, from the land of the cedars. The statistic population in the world shows that 23% speak English, 12% speak French, 6% speak Spanish, 45% speak Portuguese, 12% speak Arabic, and 2% speak other languages. Almost 15 million Lebanese-Phoenicians live world wide.
    The result is that Lebanese-Phoenicians are also qualified for commonwealth membership based on their english language statistics and are qualified for the European union membership based on the ancient Phoenician legend of princess europa. They accomplished much for society for example: in medicine, in music, in politics, in culture, in art, and in science. Lebanese-Phoenicians have proven no other identity but choose to carry on what their Phoenician ancestor did.
    Support the Phoenician heritage and identity from the land of cedars.

    Cadmus on June 24, 2012 at 8:22 am

    Ancient civilization of the Middle East minorities way over than 6000 years old, this is a political hijack attempt by OIC to increase their domination map by destroying all minorities of the Middle East.

    Cadmus on December 29, 2013 at 8:50 am

Thanks to the Koran and the Arabic language, much of the Middle East and North Africa became Arabized. But it did not lead to the creation of a common Arab people. The short-lived unions between any number of Arab countries is proof of it. And the Arabization brought by the Arab conquerors were rejected by the Persians in Iran and the Kurds in Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran and has had a superficial effect on many of the people around the coast… the Maronites, Alawites, Druze, Copts and Berbers are all different from those who consider themselves true Arabs. The appear Arab to survive in a hostile environment but aren’t. The same can be said of the Mizrahi Jews. Looks and even language can be misleading.

NormanF on April 10, 2008 at 2:46 pm

Debbie, thanks so much for pointing that out many Americans do not understand that difference. As I stated in an earlier response, I’m an American first “of a Lebanese Maronite Christian family”.
“Arab” is pretty much a four letter word in our family.
On a side note, My family and I have MANY close Jewish friends. We often joke between us that are so much alike (in many respects) we should be family.
That’s VERY different from the way ARAB MOO-Slums behave.
My G*D bless the Christians & Jews!

RC Flyer on April 10, 2008 at 4:51 pm

    lebanese are arabs. stop with the B.S that lebanese people are not arab. It just proves how insecure you guys are about your ancestry. It’s sad how all this hatred is coming from the christian population. plus what have you contributed to the world to be sooo proud to be lebanese and not arab, kibbeh??tabbouleh??. its pitiful how every lebanese person I have met so far(mostly christians), will spend almost the entirety of the conversation trying to convince me that they are not arab. it just makes you look bad. there’s no such thing as a pure race, all races have been mixed at some point. so you might have mixed blood but definitely mixed with arab. It’s so obvious judging from your huge ugly noses. isn’t that why rhinoplasty is so prevalent in lebanon????
    someone commented about the jews and how similar they are to the christians???? seriously, if anything they have similarities with muslims (they both don’t eat pork and believe Jesus was a prophet). plus don’t forget that we are cousins of the jews and there are arab jews that til this day are proud to say they are arab even though they live in israel (moroccan jews for example). this mentality is so dangerous because it only leads to one thing, civil war. You should have learned by now to coexist.

    maggie on April 30, 2014 at 11:12 am

Arab is a culture and language more than enthnicity. The genetic make up of the Christian and Muslim populations in Lebanon for instance share many of the same traits, and aren’t very distinguishable, that go back 10,000 years. Like a lot of invading forces, the Arabs left their “culture” and language and a portion of the contribution to the gene pool.

Staypositive on April 10, 2008 at 7:12 pm

    This is incorrect, it should be the opposite the ancient people civilization had more influence on the Arabs, but political hijacking by the OIC is the problem and the addiction to oil money is the second problem.

    Cadmus on December 29, 2013 at 8:59 am

wow

ur not arab ur phonenican
where did phonencian come they came from dilmun which is from arabia, and they went to tyre, sydon and byblos which are mainly not christian cities…. wake up dont leave ur roots that is the biggest problem go to the histroy read about where did u come from why do u want to be somone else and neglect who you are, at least we jews we know we came from arabia or europe but we are proud of our routs but you always want to neglect who you are.

thats why you dont get respect you are arabs, lots of us jews are arabs
if ur not arab what are u
nothing then

read and learn
http://ar.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D9%81%D9%8A%D9%86%D9%8A%D9%82%D9%8A%D9%88%D9%86

Nina solman on August 16, 2009 at 5:43 pm

    those who parrot “we are not arabs, we are phoenicians” are mainly christian maronites, but the surprising paradox is that maronites themselves are neither lebanese nor phoenicians,it is known historically that maronites escaped with their forefather Maron to lebanon from syria and propably came to syria from turkey, and to turkey from somewhere else…the important thing is that they are not members of that big middleastern nation , they have no feeling to belongingness to our nation that is why they always seek difference, they are diferent christians, even to most middle eastern original christians who mainly embrace orthodox christianity, while maronites are roman catholics…i think maronites came from eastern europe, maybe they are descendants of crusaders.

    maronites are not middleasterns on October 20, 2009 at 9:21 am

Maronites are not Middle Eastern lol, give me a brake St Maron came from Antioch (Syria) and converted the Phoenicians, hence you have Maronites today! If your looking for true Hebrew Phoenicians, look to the Maronites! we are the same family as the Assyrian, Arameans and all Aramaic/Syriac speaking Christians! Even the Children of Israel were Arameans, Abraham was from Pada Aram and his whole family Isaac and Jacob! Why is this so confusing!

Secondly we are not Roman Catholic, we are Eastern Catholic and hold ties with Rome, Maronites never broke away, which are of the first Apostolic Church in Antioch and Jerusalem!

Joseph on August 18, 2010 at 9:28 pm

    If you want to refer to the Phoenicianism Political Maronite Movement , so be certain that it will not work cause it’s full of propaganda and Isolation and Non-Sense arguments. The people of the Levant are mixed. The Lebanese Maronite Phoenicianists do not accept their relation to the Aramean population who migrated and mixed with the local Phoenician population. They even don’t accept any Arab presence mixed to some extend in the Muslim population. They don’t accept that another population have strong links with the Canaanites. They defend the Zionist cause. It’s all about propaganda and Isolation ,fanaticism and Close-Minded thinking.The Nationalist Movements can turn their backs. I believe that they are the most dangerous in the face of propagating Historical contents through web-pages ,social networks and Books

    In response to Cadmus on March 16, 2014 at 7:26 pm

The first Christians were Jews and entire communities came to accept Jesus as the Messiah. Evidence from archaeological studies of Maronite church buildings show that they had earlier been Synagogues.

To this day, the Maronite Church retains its Jewish roots more than any other Catholic rite, as evidenced by its use of Aramaic/Syriac and by the prayers which remain faithful to Semantic and Old Testament forms.

Joseph on August 19, 2010 at 9:19 am

Debbie,The truth that the region is very mixed.All previous cultures influnced us,the last is the Arab culture.Moreover,The Maronite who revived the Arab language ,they would not have done it had they have no attackment or belonging to this culture.Regardless of our origin,which is mixed of several componants,we belong now to the Arab culture and we can play a major role towards modernism The maronite are not foreign people.they are part of the social structure in lebanon,syria and palestine.Even if Israel tried to use the Maronite but the maronite loyality to their country has never been doubted.We are the children of our Saint Maron.We are part of great Syria,and Part of the region and will always stands for justice and human right culture like out father and greatfathers.Be blessed

Maron on September 17, 2010 at 9:57 pm

That’s not true, Arabs are the indigenous people of the Middle East excluding the Northern tier. Those who live in Lebanon, Egypt and other Arab countries and refer to themselves as “non-arabs” or “maronites” are not the indigenous Arabs, because at one point in time, the Christians invaded the Arab lands (Crusades) and lived there which caused assimilation between the Christians and Arabs.

Ahad on March 23, 2012 at 5:52 pm

i agree with ahad^, its just a way for christians to distinguish themselves from other people who speak arabic… get over yourself, this is why christians are getting messed with in iraq because they seem to act as if they are the chosen ones which is totally not true, soon they will be kicked out just like the jews.. So just because your arab does not mean your family history does not trace to its original ancestors obviously people have to accustom to change and that is what most people did except for the “Aramaic’s” and “Chaldeans” who remind me of kurds.

ali on April 10, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    Doesn’t matter whether the christians of lebanon, iraq, iran, egypt call themselves arab or not, they will be hated and subject to envy by the muslims because that is just the muslims’s trait. jealous and want everybody to embrace islam even if they do not want to. Why some people do not want to be islam is never be understood by them. Their blind faith cannot see other colours in this world. That’s why they cannot understand other people have other believe,other roots. read history and learn humanity! this world is not just the arab peninsula for G-d sake!

    ranna on December 18, 2012 at 12:17 am

Check this historical discussion on the matter to find out the truth
http://www.passia.org/meetings/rsunit/Articles/E-August-2005.htm

Richard Jame on December 6, 2012 at 5:30 pm

The whole Assyrian “I am not Arab” is quite funny. I am an Arab (and very proud) and have friends of all types (including “Assyrian”) When you look similar, have the same food as Arabs, have a language which is adapted from Arabic (a lot of “Assyrian words” are an adaptation of Arabic” it is quite funny, you sound displaced. It is not an insult to be called an Arab, if anything it is a compliment. You make food Arabs make and have the same culture pretty much. I think many Assyrians do not know what they are. There is no country, you live like Arabs. Many famous foods that you make are known to be Arabic or Lebanese foods. The one dish that you “claim” known as “dolma” is “warakeneb” that is a traditional arabic dish Iraqis and lebanese people make. Naming it something different is not going to make it your original dish. Arabs wrap the rice etc in the vine leaves, Greeks do similar as well however, Assyrian? What is that. What food do you make at home? ARABIC

Assyrians do not have an identity and persist with we are not arabs. end of the day say it til your black and blue in the face no one can tell you apart. Kinda feel bad for them in a way.

As for Egyptians who are not “Arab” also is quite humerus. when you look like Egyptians or Arabs, and speak Arabic and live the same lifestyle, what are you? Chinese? Italian? Greek? no you are Arab whether you embrace it or not.

People of Lebanese descent are known to be the “cosmopolitan” of the middle east, Lebanon as well as physical appearance etc.
As for Egyptians who are not “Arab” they may be dissatisfied as they are not known to be lets say glamorous, as for Assyrians? another name for Iraqi.

Adam on February 21, 2013 at 6:05 am

The patheticness of the situation was that the maronites used and revived the Arab language in order to protect themselves the ottoman policy of turkifiying the whole region. The whole pathetic Arab countries owe their existence to the maronites of Lebanon. What do they do instead of thanking them? They slaughter them and continue their persecution of them up until these modern days. The maronites used Arab culture to protect themselves. An ends to a mean!
Maronites will always be of a Phoenician race, Aramaic origin , lebanese nationality and Maronite Christian faith. They have predated the Arabs. It’s insulting to the Maronite ancestors to call them Arabs when they have for 1500 years resisted the occupation of their lands and persecution by Arabs!! Arabs till this day are still destroying lebanon and are still persecuting against christians in the levant!

Paul on July 28, 2013 at 6:19 pm

What is Phoenician in race and Aramaic in origin ?

You can’t have the cake and eat it , it seems like many Maronites or Assyrians have identity issues.

Arameans are closely related to Arabians as matter of fact the ganged up together to fight the Assyrians and Mesopotamians and were severely beaten up

Even the Quran has Aramaic roots

Arabs are Semetic people who speaks Arabic and practice Arabic cultures with DNA J ( 1 or 2 ) being dominant

27% of Lebanese has Phoenician DNA . Saudi has 25%

Big deal?

Stop saying WE, please use some or many of us are not rabbits or Arabs or aliens .

Remember many Arabic speaking Christians are also proud yemeni Bani Ghassans , the Ghanems , Makhlouf, Haddad, Malouf , mhaid, Lahoud , dabdneh, Chamorr and alot more

Antun on August 13, 2013 at 5:24 am

Anyone with Semitic ethnicity is an Arab. Assyrians are arabs.

Brad on August 31, 2013 at 5:23 pm

@adam the Assyrian language is adopted from Arabic? You need to learn your history because ‘Arabic’ is a branch of ‘Aramaic’ which is the native tongue for Assyrians which has been modernised .. So get your facts right.. Just because you can’t accept the fact that Assyrians are Christians and have no relation to the Arabs, it hurts your pathetic heart because we are a special rare and different race, Unlike your race which is common and a bunch of savages and monkeys. X

Johnson on September 26, 2013 at 5:36 am

Arab is not a citizenship, Arab is not a country, Arab is not a race, Arab is not a continent, Arab is not a union. Arab is fake and is the creation of Soviet communist with the help of the Egyptian Nasser an attempt to nationalize the Oil wealth under fake identity as a political piracy to take away the American and foreign oil investors in the entire region as a failed political strategy supported by Soviet union cold war against NATO and US.
Too bad the oil addiction by the media, brain wash of political corruption and ethnic wars of the Middle East help to promote this idea to please the Gulf states influence.

Cadmus on December 29, 2013 at 8:46 am

Recently they tested some Genetic affiliation from Lebanese Arameans that they originally came from Southern Turkey.

They came up with Haplogroup J2.
Guess what the Geneticist claimed ? That they are Phoenician.
It’s funny how the Phoenician propaganda contradict itself in many way like the Arabic Nationalism.

To consider the Haplogroup J2 just Phoenician is like to consider that the Haplogroup J1 come only from Modern Arabic tribes which is totally false.

In response to Cadmus on March 16, 2014 at 7:31 pm

Lebanese are arabs and nobody can change that. People come and go and this is no expection for the phoneicans who became extinct.

Lebanese are arabians on June 8, 2014 at 12:33 pm

“Most Middle Eastern Christians are not arabs. ” First off, if your going to argue this for Christians, let me state something about Muslims. Then I believe it would be fine for me to argue the same goes for Muslims in the countries you stated, but what I’m about to state also goes for North African nations and the countries of the Levant (Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and Jordan). Their IS proof that Muslims in the regions I just included have very little differences with the Christians of the region. Muslim and Coptic Egyptians both trace their roots to the ancient Egyptians. Lebanese Muslims and Christians (including Maronites) both have Phoenician ancestry. Palestinians regardless of religion are Canaanites. And Syrians are Aramaens. HOWEVER, it is politically incorrect to call Assyrians, Arabs. They usually speak Neo-Aramaic as their first language not Arab. The only reason why were all recognized as “Arabs” is because the majority of us speak Arabic as a first language and hve been for some generations. Maronites and Copts have been speaking Arabic for generations the same as the Muslims of the populations in the respected countries they are from. Their is no genetic or significant cultural difference between the Muslims and Christians of the Middle East unless you are Berber, Assyrian, Circassian, Armenian or Kurd. These “Arab” Muslims are descended of Christians and Jews who converted and became Arabized under Arab rule. Some Muslims in Arab countries stayed loyal to their pre-Arab cultures for example Berbers in North Africa and the small Aramaic speaking Muslim communities in Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine. On another note, I wanna send love to ALL Christian brothers and sisters.
-From a Palestinian Muslim American

Sean on October 27, 2014 at 2:57 pm

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