Farmers Are Being Prevented From Growing Food By Locals in Lassa, Lebanon Due To Sectarianism

Lassa

The Maronite Patriarchate in Bkerke offered Lebanese families 1,000 square meters of agricultural lands, in an attempt to ease their struggles and support them during this financial crisis.

These lands, located in Lassa, Jbeil, were ready and open for applicants; their yield to be entirely kept by the families who would farm them.

This charitable initiative, however, was met with conflict upon its launch. The farmers, ready to begin their work on these agricultural lands in Lassa, clashed with the Shiite inhabitants.

The reasons behind these clashes? Lassa’s Shiite community accused the Maronite church of attempting to evict the inhabitants, while the Maronite Church accused the latter of invading the lands.

Archbishop Antione Andari and deputy Chawki Daccache denounced the attack on the farmers. They assured that the families’ rights will be protected by the law and that the project will continue.

They also called on both parties to preserve civil peace and coexistence. Noting that these lands are owned by the Patriarchate and are reclaimed by the Agricultural Cooperation Project in the Lassa Region, Gergy Daccache & Sons Co.

The foundation divided the lands to be farmed by 45 Christian families and 5 Shiite families living in Lassa. According to them, none of the 5 Shiite families applied for the project.

After a meeting between Mr. Daccache, the Archbishop, and the Mayor of Lassa, they all agreed to give the village’s inhabitants 12 lands, but the latter went on to claim other lands as well.

This resulted in aggressive clashes between the farmers and the inhabitants. The fight didn’t only take a religious twist, but also a political one.

Archbishop Antoine Andari reportedly called Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nabih Berri, to disapprove of the violent attack.

In his turn, the Imam of Lassa, Sheikh Muhammad Al-Itawi, postponed his press conference in order to exclude the dispute from media attraction and confine it within the legal framework.

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