[Medium] A Few Things We Don’t Quite Get About the Levant

(First Draft of the Foreword to Pierre Zalloua’s forthcoming book. For comments.)

Some people believe that the Levant is the end of the East and a portal to the West; others describe it as the end of the West and a portal to the East. Those in the first group tend to belong to the main branches of the Islamic faith, while those in the second belong to various Christian Levantine churches. Now, one might think that the two descriptions are equivalent: an intersection, after all, is an intersection. However, by the same mechanism that generates the so-called ‘narcissism of small differences,’ not only are these two statements not equivalent, but they are, in practice, contradictory. It even took a civil war for the Lebanese to understand this fallacy.

Continue reading on Medium: medium.com/incerto/a-few-things-we-dont-quite-get-about-the-levant-da6ff702974f

One comment

  1. I had to zoom at your profile photo Nassim as the white/silver hair looked as if you were wearing a turban—it goes well with the article. On a more serious note, I think there is an important dimension missing from the conversation and that is not only the horizontal direction (east and west) but also that the vertical dimension is equally important if not more as it holds the key for understanding the significance of the Levant as a geographical location. You see, according to faith, this area is considered as a gateway or featuring the escalator to the pathway to heaven (prophet Enoch, the first researcher, for example was raised up from this area like Jesus much later), and prophet Muhammad’s night journey of the Mir’aaj also took place from there. Finally, it is believed to be the place of resurrection of humankind as it was the initial meeting point for all humanity in the beginning! To complete the circuit, I think this vertical dimension is important to understand the Levant. Thanks

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