Arabic Language Blog

Lebanon Celebrates its 69th Independence Day Posted by on Nov 22, 2012 in Arabic Language, Culture

Before you begin reading this post, please watch this video to listen to Lebanon’s National Anthem (النَّشيد الوطني). In the video you can see the flag with the symbolic cedar tree, with the anthem’s lyrics in English and Arabic.

Every year on November 22, the Republic of Lebanon commemorates its independence anniversary (عيد الإستِقلال) in downtown Beirut. This honorable day in Lebanon’s history marks its liberation from the French Mandate (الإنتِداب الفَرَنسيّ)that took place on November 22, 1943. The first half of the 20th century was instrumental in the creation of many nation-states in the Levant (المّشرِق). Under the Sykes – Picot Agreement of 1916, the French were allotted Syria and what was declared in 1920 as Greater Lebanon. However, the declining influence and power of the French Empire following their defeat in the Second World War (الحرب العالميَّة الثّانية)led them to relinquish dominion over many colonies in the Orient and elsewhere.

However, the waning power of the French was not the only reason that led to Lebanon’s Independence. More importantly, it was the honorable, courageous and noteworthy struggles of many individuals fighting the French for their tutelage and hegemony over Lebanon. They could no longer tolerate the French meddling in their political and social affairs. The French Mandate was exercised over Lebanese soil for over 23 years. The French were hesitant to relinquish their control over Lebanon, and prior to Lebanon’s golden moment of independence, they arrested some of the most prominent national leaders like the first President (رَئيس الجُمهوريَّة) of the Republic of Lebanon Beshara el Khoury and the first Prime Minister (رئيس الوزراء)Riad el Solh, among others. Lebanon’s Independence is celebrated on November 22, because it was the same day that these national leaders were released from prison.

Every year the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister and the Speaker of the House convene and head the celebrations that mark the country’s independence. These celebrations include a vast military parade (عرض عَسكَري)and the President placing a wreath on the tomb and monument of the Unknown Soldier. At the end of the military parade which lasts for a couple of hours, the President, the Prime Minister and the Speaker of the House head to the official Presidential Palace (القصر الرِّئاسيّ)in Baabda to receive congratulations from politicians, military officials, political party representatives, and religious leaders.

This day is an embodiment that reminds every Lebanese national living in Lebanon and the Diaspora of how their fore fathers were collectively mobilized to achieve independence. Even though at the eve of independence many individuals on the Lebanese political scene had different objectives of how the state should function, they were all united in their struggle against foreign occupation and hegemony. Up to this very day with all the political differences on the Lebanese political landscape, the spirit of nationalism (الوَطَنِيَّة), freedom (الحريَّة)and independence (الإستقلال)has became entrenched in the hearts and minds of many Lebanese nationals. Over the years, many Lebanese nationals quarrel and fight over political, social and religious issues, however, many remain united and collectively form alliances in fighting foreign intervention and occupation. The desire for a free, independent and sovereign Lebanon is etched in the hearts and minds of every Lebanese native wherever they may be.

I have added this video from this year’s commercial for the upcoming Independence celebrations! I hope you enjoy it.

Happy Independence Day Lebanon!!

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About the Author: jesa

Salam everyone! Born as an American to two originally Arab parents, I have been raised and have spent most of my life in Beirut, Lebanon. I have lived my good times and my bad times in Beirut. I was but a young child when I had to learn to share my toys and food with others as we hid from bombs and fighting during the Lebanese Civil War. I feel my connection to Arabic as both a language and culture is severing and so it is with you, my readers and fellow Arabic lovers, and through you that I wish to reestablish this connection by creating one for you.