Antun Sa’adah

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Antun Sa'adah (March 1, 1904-July 8, 1949) was a noted Arab Nationalist thinker. He rejected Arab Nationalism as it was theorized at the time, and argued for the creation of the state of Greater Syria that includes the area that "extends from the Taurus range in the northwest and the Zagros mountains in the northeast to the Suez canal and the Red Sea in the south and includes the Sinai peninsula and the gulf of Aqaba, and from the Syrian sea in the west, including the island of Cyprus, to the arch of the Arabian desert and the Persian gulf in the east. (This region is also known as the Syrian Fertile Crescent)" (Kader, H. A.). Being a secularist, Sa'adah also rejected Pan-Islamism. He argued that Syria was historically, culturally, and geographically distinct from the rest of the Arab world, which he divided into four parts. He traced Syrian history as a distinct entity back to the Phoenicians and argued that Syrianism transcended religious distinctions. A Lebanese Christian from Dhour Choueir, he wrote during the French colonial period between the two World Wars. He spent much of the period in exile in Brazil. In 1932 he returned to Beirut and began to teach at the American University of Beirut. That year he founded the Syrian Social Nationalist Party in Beirut to oppose the French division of the region and push for unity. He spent most of the mandate period incarcerated by the French authorities. On July 4, 1949, after the French had created an independent Lebanon, the party launched an attempted coup in Lebanon to try to merge with Syria and achieve Sa'adah's vision. The revolt failed, however, and Sa'adah was executed on July 8. A number of other SSNP members were also executed.

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