Bring Down the Walls: Lebanon's Post-War Challenge

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Lebanon is more than a country, it is a message': these words of Pope John Paul II illustrate Lebanon's post-war endeavor to preserve its age-old Christian-Muslim coexistence and power-sharing formula and to invalidate Samuel Huntington's assumption of a 'Clash of Civilizations.' Lebanon's current challenge is also the challenge of a whole region, the Middle East, where the fate of minorities, including Eastern Christians, reveals the prospects of democracy, pluralism and political participation. Carole H. Dagher, a journalist for Lebanese media as well as an academic, presents an insightful account on how Christian and Muslim communities emerged from the sixteen year-old Lebanese war, what their points of friction and their common grounds are, and what the prospects of Lebanon's communal representation system and pluralistic society are. She describes the central role played by the Holy See and John Paul II in bridging the gap between Christians and Muslims in Lebanon, and analyzes the impact other countries such as Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia have had on the power game and, conversely, the impact of Christian-Muslim interaction on the future of the Arab-Israeli peace process. Bring Down the Walls draws crucial lessons from the recent history of Christian-Muslim relations in Lebanon.