Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Lebanon, the country of cultural diversity, where no one cares for minority groups unless they can be used in the sectarian fights. Did you know that there is a small Turkmene population, which has been in Lebanon for a very long time, is tribal and is neglected and marginalized? The Turkmene, who came to Lebanon during the Ottoman rule (ended 1918), are mostly found in `Akkar and in the Bekaa. They are now settled in small villages lacking services, after having been semi-nomadic pastoralists, tending sheep. They are not Bedouins or Roma (many confuse them). They have recently been granted Lebanese citizenship, but it did not come with not respect or recognition or integration or even basic services. In `Akkar, they still teach Turkish in some schools, and I am told they receive visits from the Turkish embassy. Here, a small news item about a visit by the Turkish ambassador to a small Turkmene settlement in the Bekaa. The ambassador apparently promised development aid: a primary school and some basic necessity. If the Lebanese state does not care for the small local ethnic groups of Lebanon, should it be surprised if they take their allegiance elsewhere?