I dunno. I’ve read Juan Cole and The Next Hurrah, and i don’t feel one bit more enlightened. It felt easier to get a handle on the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, but whenever Israel has a stake involved, i want to retreat to the hills and close my eyes. It all becomes too complicated, too subjective.
However, i do understand that the protests are organized by a coalition of Druze and Maronites, two groups with such convoluted theological premises that they must read to be believed. Did i write “believe”? I meant “duly acknowledged.”
I was confused the other day about Maronites and Nestorianism, blending them together in my head, not remembering that Maronites were a schism from Assyrian Church of the East (which apparently wasn’t even Nestorian, but merely sympathetic) over the concept of Monophysitism. I still don’t know quite what to make of those Coptic manuscripts, but I still think the Roman persecution theory is nonsense.
As for the Druze… I’m utterly lost. I remember the name all through the ’70s and early ’80s, and read it most recently in Gonick’s The Cartoon History of the Universe III. All i learned from Gonick is that that particular Muslim (Shiite) splinter (which most Muslims do not consider to be Muslim) is that its founder was an Egyptian caliph in the 11th century named al-Hakim persecuted Jews and Christians (even though his own mother was a Christian) and had his slave Masoud sodomize merchants that didn’t give him a good deal, which started the tradition of Cairo shoppers telling businesses, “Don’t give me a hard time or I’ll bring Masoud.”
Al-Hakim also triggered the First Crusade (which didn’t get launched until 1095) by destroying the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in 1009. Oops. I kinda feel that the Christians were just grasping at straws after waiting nearly a century though.