A century on, Lebanon rediscovers deadly famine – that affected mostly Christians

Photos by Ibrahim Naoum Kanaan document the famine that hit Lebanon between 1915 and 1918, in the midst of World War I

Lebanon is rediscovering a century-old tragedy that most had forgotten — a devastating famine, caused by blockades and a locust infestation, that killed a third of its population.

From 1915 to 1918, in the midst of World War I and before modern-day Lebanon existed, between 150,000 and 200,000 people died of malnutrition and disease, according to estimates by historians.

Those who survived the famine are long gone, but recently unearthed archives offer chilling testimonies of a time when men, women, and children fed themselves on tree bark or died by the side of the road…

…The situation worsened when “Allied forces imposed a blockade” in the Mediterranean to cut off supplies to the Ottomans, [historian Youssef Mouawad] told AFP.

But it was the land blockade ordered by high Ottoman military ruler Djemal Pasha that truly choked off Mount Lebanon, populated mostly by Maronite Christians protected by France.

The Ottomans feared the Maronites would support the Allies in the war “so they had to starve them before they were armed”, said Khalifeh, a professor at the Lebanese University…

…The famine largely fell out of Lebanon’s collective memory and official history, in part because it affected Christians more than Muslims and so did not serve as a unifying force for the young republic…

There were other factors too: it was very bad year for locusts. Still, it is yet another case where the Turks more than happy to see more Christians dead.

  • WalterBannon

    Jesus says we should Nuke Turkey. He says render unto Caesar the keys to the nuclear arsenal so that we can make Islam pay for their genocidal war crimes

  • This suggests we are right to Nuke all the Islamic states in the Middle east

    • Frau Katze

      They’re just horrible. Islam is poison.

  • Guy Bridgeport

    This is very sad and, even worse, was brushed under the rug. Why is it so difficult to get the destruction of Christians recognized? The massacre of 1.5 million Armenians (mostly Christians) can’t be called a “genocide” without protests. Then, if you look back to the 1930’s, there was an even worse famine – completely man-made – which took the lives of somewhere between 2.5 and 7.5 million mostly Christian Ukrainians. Very few people are familiar with this tragedy which was imposed by the Communists who were upset that the Ukrainians didn’t go with the flow with their plans. If we can – as we should – call out the Muslims for their role in the starvation of these Lebanese Christians, we should likewise point out that many Jewish Communists played prominent roles in the Holodomor. Men like Lazar Kaganovich and Genrikh Yagoda were instrumental in getting the ball rolling for this forced famine. In 2009, when Abe Foxman, the head of the ADL, visited the president of Ukraine, he told him point blank, not to try to turn the Holodomor into the Ukrainian version of the Holocaust. Why can’t a nation properly mourn millions of its ancestors who were starved to death? You can watch this on You Tube, as Foxman and the Ukrainian president were speaking English.