chapter  1
15 Pages

Palestinians in Lebanon

The shifts and retractions are most evident amongst the Palestinians of Lebanon, traditionally the most politically assertive in the Diaspora. When the idiom of militancy no longer yielded political currency, the Palestinian refugees have reverted to celebrating their peasant origins in an attempt to remind the world of their outstanding grievances. As the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) leadership in Beirut rendered itself the active agent for change and positioned its guerrillas as the vanguard of national liberation, the peasants of Palestine did not fare well in post-exilic life. The PLO leased out its mercenaries to the anti-Shah groups of Iran, the Monteneros guerrillas of Argentina and the Thai Muslim Fatanis. The disorientation, of Abou Harith speaks, has to do with the shift in material support from a militant population which secured its livelihood by being incorporated into the guerrilla ranks, to a minority in a country of ethnic and sectarian differences, all with their own grievances.