HIRH Prince Cheikh Antonios El Chemor The Honorary Founder of the modern Royal House of Ghassan

Born in 1910 Cheikh Antonios El Chemor spent his early years between Kferhata his home town and his boarding school at the prestigious Aintoura one of the best schools of that time in Lebanon.
Once school finished, he was sent to Marseille, France to continue his education. Meeting with other Lebanese Fellows and discussing business in Africa he decided to move to Lagos, Nigeria and start his career in trading and commerce. He spent around 15 years and was very successful in trading with meat and clothes for the army.

Back to Lebanon in the mid-forties he became involved in the political and social life in Beirut and Kferhata.
The north was a very poor area and lacked of water, electricity, roads, hospitals etc…
The first project he invested in was to create a grid of potable water for the area. He made a mega project from his own money and distributed water to 48 villages and still used to this day.
He invested in roads for several villages helped financing churches, mosques, hospitals etc… and all these projects on a personal level.
Cheikh Antonios had a very good relationship with all political and business people in Lebanon and around the world.

He got married to the Her Royal Highness Princess Laudy Chehab in 1953 and had 3 children:

HIRH Prince Cheikh Selim El Chemor 1954
HIRH Prince Cheikh Michel El Chemor 1956
HIRH Prince Cheikh Khalil El Chemor 1960

As for social life his wife the Princess Laudy made a big difference in the North as she was directly involved in many humanitarian and tourism project such as helping the red cross acquiring different vaccines for the children, the Ehden Festivals as president, Tripoli old city as president of tourism in the North and she was the one how brought the Nazareth sisters school to Kferzaina for girls. All these projects executed with the help and blessing of her late husband.

Cheikh Antonios spent most of his life helping the poor the unprivileged and the people in need at all level, in creating small businesses for them or helping them find work in Lebanon and abroad in the private and governmental sector.

Unfortunately, life was not fair to him as he died at a young age 1971 leaving behind a long and lasting legacy and still remembered to this day.

For his unprecedented humanitarian legacy and his dedication in studying and promoting the Royal family’s heritage, he’s revered and recognized as the Honorary Founder of the modern Royal House of Ghassan. His oldest son HIRH Prince Cheikh Selim El Chemor is the current Honorary Head of the Sovereign Imperial and Royal House of Ghassan.   

Prince Gharios El Chemor participates in official event invited by Lebanese Government

 

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Prince Gharios El Chemor in Las Vegas for the LDE- Lebanese Diaspora Energy North America

HIRH Prince Gharios El Chemor of Ghassan Al-Numan VIII  has participated of the LDE – Lebanese Diaspora Energy – North America edition in Las Vegas last weekend.

After participating in the 4th Lebanese Diaspora Energy event last May in Beirut, His Excellency Gebran Bassil, the Lebanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants officially invited Prince Gharios El Chemor for the event’s second regional version, the Lebanese Diaspora Energy – North America in Las Vegas. It was the fourth time that Prince Gharios was officially invited by the Lebanese government.

 

The Lebanese Diaspora events are very exclusive, not open to the general public. Below the criteria to participate:

Necessarily an individual of Lebanese origin residing abroad.

  • Currently or formerly holding a high official position (political, religious, military, or judicial) whether on the national, federal, provincial, or municipal level in the country of residency.
  • Currently or formerly holding a high managerial position in a company / organization / international organization within the private or public sector (CEO, CFO, CCO, General Director, etc.).
  • Academia / Sciences: President of a university, Dean of a faculty, highly recognized and published researcher, awardee, patent holder, etc.
  • Sports: National or international participation with recognition.
  • NGOs / Diaspora Institutions with good records and high membership base within the Lebanese Diaspora.
  • Media figure of high standing.
  • Entrepreneur / Investor of a big company (in size, outreach, etc.).
  • Artist of international fame (awardee, sales records, cinema actor / producer, etc.).
  • Individual having a success story of national or international recognition.

More about the Lebanese Diaspora Energy event please Click HERE 

 

The Middle Eastern Laws of Succession

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Just as an example, how the Saudi succession follows the ancient tribal system of “agnatic rotation”

The Royal laws of succession are different from country to country. In Europe, most of monarchies apply the succession system based on primogeniture, meaning, the firstborn son or daughter inherits the throne. However, even in a very homogeneous continent where the royal families are all related by blood ties, the laws of succession are still different from nation to nation.

For example: Queen Victoria or Queen Elizabeth II couldn’t not reign by the French system.  Since the Frankish times (circa 500 CE), French monarchies apply what’s called “Salic law” (Lex Salica), which main tenet  is the principle of exclusion of women from inheritance of thrones, fiefs and other property.

By the Italian Laws of succession (House of Savoy), neither King Felipe of Spain could reign nor Prince William could be in line for the British throne. The Royal House of Savoy excludes princes who entered in what’s called “morganatic marriages”, (sometimes called a left-handed marriages) meaning a marriage between people of unequal social rank, which prevents the passage of the husband’s titles and privileges to the wife and any children born of the marriage. Since both the King of Spain and the British prince had married commoners, they couldn’t succeed by the Italian Law.

“Competence of International Law:

From time to time questions have arisen concerning the succession to various crowns, dignities, and hereditary rights. These questions are primarily juridical and ought to be resolved through the correct application of each family’s Dynastic Laws.” (From the essay “Resolution of Monarchical Successions under International Law” (The Augustan, Vol. XVII, number 4, p. 977 by Professor Stephen P. Kerr y Baca)

Based on the known laws of Succession of European Monarchies, many people are unaware of how the Middle Eastern, especially Arab Monarchies, effectively work. The Succession in the Middle East is very different from Europe but each nation has its own system.

Middle Eastern monarchical systems have established various methods of choosing which among the eligible princes will rule.” (Michael Herb, All in the family: absolutism, revolution, and democracy in the Middle Eastern Monarchies, p. 27)

Since the time of the ancient Arab tribes, we see a system called “rotation”. Usually, the heir to the throne was selected from among the King’s male descendants for his qualities, such as: physical force, nobility (if the prince was descended from another Royal line from his mother, it would make him more fit for the throne: even the King’s direct sons could come from different mothers) and also the most intelligent and popular prince among the people.

In succession based on “rotation”, all (male) members of the dynasty are entitled to the monarchy.

“In Europe, where dynasties flourished, succession was once determined by a show of strength among a ruler’s sons.  In time, however, it reverted to primogeniture, in which a ruler’s oldest male descendant acceded to the throneFor a variety of reasons, chiefly because of religious and tribal traditions,  Primogeniture has not developed among Arabian dynasties in quite the same way, because under Shariah law,  all sons of a man are equal and legitimate, even if they were born from illegitimate marriages.  Moreover, in pre-Islamic tribal norms, while the throne could have passed from one generation to the next within a particular family,  it was not necessarily passed from father to son.  Rather the authority also fell to a ruler’s brother, uncle, or cousin, depending on which of these oldest male relatives was  seen to possess ‘ the qualities of nobility; skill in arbitration; hazz or ‘good fortune’;  and leadership ’ “. (Joseph A. Kechichian, “Succession in Saudi Arabia”, 2001, p.10)

 

No firm principle specified which member of the ruling family had the right to rule.” (Michael Herb, All in the family: absolutism, revolution, and democracy in the Middle Eastern Monarchies, p. 22)

The same principle was not only limited to the Arab Dynasties, but also the great majority in the Middle East.

“In the Ottoman Empire after 1617 the eldest living male of the dynasty succeeded, though this was not formalized legally.” (Alderson, “The Structure of the Ottoman Dynasty”, 12-13. J.C. Hurewitz reviews succession across the Middle Eastern empires in “Middle East politics: the military dimension”, 18-27)

The only Arab monarchy that uses primogeniture is the Al-Khalifa Dynasty of Bahrain.

Alone among the Gulf ruling families, the Al Khalifa pass the succession according to a fixed rule. The constitution specifies that the eldest son of the ruler shall succeed him.” (Michael Herb, All in the family: absolutism, revolution, and democracy in the Middle Eastern Monarchies, p. 132)

But even in Bahrain, the Constitution says that:

“… the Amir (ruler), during his lifetime, can appoint a different son as Crown Prince [successor] (Section 1, Article 1).

That’s in perfect harmony with the standards of the Arab monarchies.

Many defend that’s preferable when there’s a clear and fixed law of succession (as in Europe) once there is only one Prince to be the lawful heir. According to Montesquieu:

“When the succession is established by a fundamental law, only one prince is the successor, and his brothers have neither a real nor apparent right to dispute the crown with him. They can neither pretend to nor take any advantage of the will of a father. There is then no more occasion to confine or kill the king’s brother than any other subject.” (Charles de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu (1748), The Spirit of Laws, Book V)

But looking back in history, it’s easy to see that a fixed system of succession based on primogeniture was not able to prevent the assassinations and criminal plots of people in line to the thrones.

In the Middle East, however, the institution of royal murder was notorious.

A ruler had to worry even about his own sons, who like the rest of his family threatened his power, and who might anticipate his death in their efforts to seize it. As a mirror for [Arab] princes once put it: ‘One obedient slave is better than three hundred sons; For the latter desire their father’s death, The former his master’s glory.’  (Nizan al-Mulk, The Book of Government or Rules for Kings, p.117)”

The infamous Law of Fratricide enforced the principle: the sultan, on coming to power, had legal sanction to murder all of his male relatives, and sometimes in fact did so; in 1595, on the accession of Mehmed III, nineteen of his brothers proceeded from the palace in coffins, murdered on orders of the new Sultan” (Alderson, “The Structure of the Ottoman Dynasty”, 23-31)

As with many Arab ruling dynasties, the lack of a generally accepted rule of succession was a recurrent problem with the Rasheedi rule. The internal dispute normally centered on whether succession to the position of Amir [Prince] should be horizontal (ie to a brother) or vertical (to a son). These internal divisions within the family led to bloody infighting. In the last years of the nineteenth century six Rasheedi leaders died violently.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shamar

“The Dynasties of Arabia do not resolve their disputes because they are families, bound by ties of affection. In the days before oil, family bonds did not prevent fratricide, patricide, and other varieties of intrafamily murder.” (Michael Herb, All in the family: absolutism, revolution, and democracy in the Middle Eastern Monarchies, p. 45)

In the Arabic system, you may have dozens, even hundreds of lawful eligible princes, as in the Al-Saud Dynasty in Saudi Arabia.

“Sons of Abdul Aziz (Ibn Saud, the founder of the modern Saudi state) have been, thus far, the only eligible candidates allowed to serve as King or Crown Prince. As a result of the aging of this pool (there are an estimated 22 surviving sons, the oldest being in his mid-80s and the youngest in his 60s); a decree by King Fahd expanded the candidates to include the male progeny of King Abdul Aziz’s sons. This decree has expanded the pool to over 150 eligible candidates, though consensus and competency would limit this number.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_Saud

Again, that’s a common pattern for all the Middle East.

In vain would it be to establish here the succession of the eldest son; the Prince [King] might always choose another as every Prince of the royal family has an equal capacity to be chosen, hence it follows that the Prince who ascends the throne strangles immediately his brothers [once they all compete equally for the succession], as in Turkey; or put out their eyes, as in Persia; or bereaves them of their understanding as in the Mogul’s country,” (Nathan J. Brown, Constitutions in a nonconstitutional world: Arab basic laws, p.12 citing Charles de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu (1748), The Spirit of Laws, Book V)

In Arabia [Arabic monarchies], all males within the ruling sublineages of the families have a theoretic right to the rulership. In practice, the succession generally goes to those whose fathers ruled (though not necessarily to the sons of the most recent ruler). These general guidelines leave a large number of shayks [Sheikhs] and princes eligible, especially if, as in Saudi Arabia or Kuwait [as in Ghassan], the succession has moved laterally to brothers and cousins instead of directly to the ruler’s sons.” (Michael Herb, All in the family: absolutism, revolution, and democracy in the Middle Eastern Monarchies, p. 26, 27)

Although the Arabic system might create conflict, it also has its advantages. In the book “The Social contract” Rousseau commented the dilemmas of various methods of choosing Kings:

“Thrones have been made hereditary within certain families, and an order of succession has been established to forestall dispute when a king dies. The risk of having children, monsters, or imbeciles for rulers has been deemed preferable to the conflicts involved in choosing a good king.” (Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract, p. 63)

Like most fixed rules of succession primogeniture makes the selection of the ruler a lottery of birth. Efforts may (or may not) be made to form the character of the man, but the raw material is a given, and often it is found that gold cannot be made lead. The [Arab] Dynastic Monarchies, by contrast, avoid both sides of Rousseau’s dilemma. They chose, among themselves, Kings who are qualified (not children, monsters, or imbeciles”) (Michael Herb, All in the family: absolutism, revolution, and democracy in the Middle Eastern Monarchies, p. 237, 238)

 The Ghassanid hereditary succession was similar (but a little different) to what we see in the past and present Middle Eastern Monarchies. The succession also “borrowed” the principle of “co-ruler” from the Roman and Byzantine Empire. The only mandatory law is that the sovereign has to be a male descendant of the last ruling monarch, although, as in Rome and Byzantium, adoptions were perfectly legal.

There’s no “hermetic” Salic Law (or Agnatic Succession, which is the limitation of inheritance to a throne or fief to heirs descended from the original titleholder through males only, excluding descendants through females, although the male claims from female lines have lesser value than the male’s) and definitely no Agnatic primogeniture, also “patrilineal primogeniture” which is inheritance according to seniority of birth among the sons of a monarch or head of a family, with sons and their male issues inheriting before brothers and their issues, and male-line males inheriting before females of the male line.

Here’s how the system of rotation worked for the first Ghassanid Kings:

The first Ghassanid King Jafnah I ibn Amr ruled 220-265, his successor was his son Amr I ibn Jafnah that ruled 265-270. His successor was his son Tha’labah ibn Amr ruling from 270 till 287. His successor was his son Al-Harith I ibn Th`alabah and ruled 287-307. His successor was his son Jabalah I ibn al-Harith I ruling 307-317. King Al-Harith II ibn Jabalah “ibn Maria” that ruled 317-327 and his successor was his son Al-Mundhir I Senior ibn al-Harith II ruling 327-330. His successor was his brother King Al-Aiham ibn al-Harith II and his heir was his brother King Al-Mundhir II Junior ibn al-Harith II and ruled from 327 to 340 and his Co-rulers was his brothers Al-Nu`man I ibn al-Harith II and Amr II ibn al-Harith II succeeded by his brother Jabalah II ibn al-Harith II succeeded by his nephew King Jafnah II ibn al-Mundhir I ruling from 361 till 391 with his brother Al-Nu`man II ibn al-Mundhir I as co-ruler. His cousin Al-Nu`man III ibn ‘Amr ibn al-Mundhir I succeeded him ruling from 391-418 and his son King Jabalah III ibn al-Nu`man succeeded him. His cousin King Al-Nu`man IV ibn al-Aiham ruled with his brother King Al-Harith III ibn al-Aiham from 434 till 456 with his son Al-Nu`man V ibn al-Harith. His son succeeded him, the King Al-Mundhir II ibn al-Nu`man ruled 453-472) with his brother King Amr III ibn al-Nu`man as co-ruler. His successor was his brother King Hijr ibn al-Nu`man. His successor was his son King Al-Harith IV ibn Hijr ruling from 486 till 512. His successor was his son King Jabalah IV ibn al-Harith ruled 512-529. His successor was his cousin King Al- Amr IV ibn Machi (Mah’shee) (529) and his successor was his cousin King Al-Harith V ibn Jabalah ruling from 529 till 569. His heir was his son King Al-Mundhir III ibn al-Harith that ruled 569-581) and his successor and part co-ruler was his brother King Abu Kirab al-Nu`man ibn al-Harith. From 581 till 583 the successor was his cousin King Al-Nu’man VI ibn al-Mundhir ruling from 581 till 583. Succeeded by his cousin King Al-Harith VI ibn al-Harith and his heir was his son King Al-Nu’man VII ibn al-Harith Abu Kirab. Succeeded him his cousin King Al-Aiham ibn Jabalah ruling until 614 succeeded by his brother King Al-Mundhir IV ibn Jabalah succeeded again by a brother, King Sharahil ibn Jabalah. Other brother succeeded him, King Amr IV ibn Jabalah ruling until 628. Succeeded by his cousin King Jabalah V ibn al-Harith ruled 628-632 and succeeded by his cousin King Jabalah VI ibn al-Aiham as the last ruler from 628 till 638.

The great majority of the Arab Monarchies, past and present, follows the “rotation”. Good and recent examples are: the Kingdom of Jordan, the Emirate of Kuwait, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the State of Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and the Sultanate of Oman.

According to the book “World Royal Families” (2008) from Edward Riley, Sandra Forty and Judith Millidge:

Jordan (pages: 240, 241, 242, 243, 244 and 245) For most of his reign, King Hussein I (1935-1999) designated as his successor his younger brother, “at the time” Crown Prince Hassan (1947- ), but shortly before his death, he changed his will in favor of his son, the current King Abdullah II. This is a perfect example of the rotation.

Kuwait (pages: 246, 247, 248, 249, 250 and 251) This is a classic example of the rotation. Emir Mubarak I (1837-1915) had 12 children, including his successor, Emir Jaber II (1860-1917). After his reign, younger brother Emir Salem I (1864-1921) ruled. His successor wasn’t his older son but his nephew Emir Ahmed I (1885-1950). Ahmed’s successor was his cousin Emir Abdullah III (1895-1965). Abdullah’s successor was his youngest brother Emir Sabah III (1913-1977). Sabah’s successor was his 3rd degree cousin Emir Jaber III (1926-2006) who by the way was the 3rd oldest son. His successor was his cousin Emir Saad (1930-2008) and his heir was Emir Sabah IV (1929- ). Although he has 3 sons, his successor is his 3rd youngest brother, Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf (1937- ).

Saudi Arabia (pages: 252, 253, 254, 255, 256 and 257) King Ibn Saud (1876-1953) founded the kingdom in 1932 and ruled until 1953. His successor was his son King Saud Bin Abdul Aziz (1902-1969). After him, his brother King Faisal (1904-1975) reigned until his assassination. His brother Khalid (1913-1982) succeeded him and after him, his other brother Fahd (1921-2005) ruled. The current King is Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz (1924- ) and his heir is his youngest brother, Crown Prince Sultan (1926- ). The 1992 Basic Law of the government states that the King must be a male descendant of King Ibn Saud. Recently, by a Royal decree of October 2006, future Saudi Kings will be selected by a committee of Saudi Princes. This is a revival of the Arab tribal custom of selection as above cited.

Qatar (pages: 264, 265, 266, 267, 268 and 269) The Sheikh Hamad Al Thani made his successor his youngest son, Sheikh Khalifa, deposed by his own son in 1995.

Dubai (pages: 270, 271, 272, 273, 274 and 275) Sheikh Maktoum (1943-2006) ruled Dubai from 1990 until 2006. His successor was his brother Sheikh Mohamed (1949- ) and although having other brothers, indicated as his successor, his son, the Hereditary Prince Hamidan (1982- ).

Abu Dhabi (pages: 270, 271, 272, 273, 274 and 275) Sheikh Sultan (1881-1926) ruled from 1922-1926, and his successor was his brother Sheikh Saqr (1887-1928). His successor was his nephew Sheik Shakhbut (1905-1989). Shakhbut’s successor was his brother Sheikh Zayad (1918- ) and his successor was his son Sheikh Khalifa (1948- ). His heir was already selected, his brother, Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed (1951- ).

Oman (pages: 276, 277, 278, 279, 280 and 281) Sayyid Turki (1832-1888) was the Sultan of Oman from 1871 till 1888 and his successor was not his older son but Sultan Sayyd Faisal (1864-1913).

It’s extremely easy to see that the Laws of Succession in the Middle East are completely different from the ones in Europe.

Father Ignatios El Khoury, one of the most acclaimed Maronite historians of the 20th century

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Father Ignatios Tannos El Khoury wearing the highest Academic Order of the French Government the “Ordre des Palmes académiques (Order of Academic Palms)” in the rank of officer

Around 300 years ago, His Beatitude Estephan II Boutros El Douaihy, Maronite Patriarch (1630-1704) and one of the most respected Lebanese historians, mentioned the ruling Sheikhs El Chemor in his chronicles about the Maronite history. In 1948, Father Ignatios Tannos El Khoury, one of the most acclaimed and respected Maronite historians of the 20th century, published a historical scientific research about the family called “Sheikhs El Chemor rulers of Akoura (1211-1633) and rulers of Zgharta-Zawyie (1641-1747)”. In this study, Father El Khoury states about the origins of the family El Chemor as being princes from the Ghassanid Royal Family and descending from the last King of Ghassan. That being the reason why they were respected by the Maronites as princes and sovereign rulers. Even regardless of the Ghassanid claim, the El Chemor family is undoubtedly a princely family since their titles didn’t come from any higher authority (prince, King nor emperor). They were sovereign and therefore royal, differently than many Sheikhs in Lebanon who got their titles from the princes that ruled Lebanon as “Ottoman puppets”. Not even those princes were technically sovereign since their power emanated conditionally and exclusively from the Ottoman empire. He also states that the Gharios (Guerios) family from Jbeil and Chiyah in Lebanon was originated from the El Chemor family.

The accounts about the El Chemor/Gharios (Guerios) family were never contested in over 300 years. Not even one line was written against the documents, books or even about the authors. On the contrary, patriarch Douaihy was Blessed by Pope Benedict XVI in 1998 and is in the process of becoming a saint. Father Ignatios had published several historical books published not only in Lebanon but also in Europe and 6 years after the El Chemor scientific study was laureated by the French Government with their highest academic Order, the “Ordre des Palmes académiques (Order of Academic Palms)” in the rank of officer, the second highest. This honor is even higher in precedence than the well known “Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Order of Arts and Letters)”.

Father Ignatios Khoury has over 35 (thirty five) academic publications plus several peer revised articles and scholarly essays published in renowned magazines and newspapers in Lebanon, other Middle Eastern countries and Europe.

Please, click below to read his academic biography and publications (Original in Arabic)

Father Ignatios Arabic

Please, click below to read his academic biography and publications (English Legal sworn translation)

Father Ignatios Legal English

Please CLICK HERE  for an official 2014’s article (in Arabic) from the Lebanese Government News’s Agency (Lebanese Republic – Ministry of Information) quoting the book about the El Chemor princely family (recognizing the titles and citing some family members) and validating Father Ignatios as an official source.  

Please, click below of the English legal translation of the article

lebanese-ministry-of-information-artice

Recently, Professor Dr. Abbot Antoine Daou, one of the top modern Maronite historians, have confirmed the aforementioned statements in a sworn affidavit.  Prof. Dr. Daou is not only an acclaimed Maronite historian and author of the book “History of the Maronites” (Beirut, 1970) amongst many others, but was graduated by the Pontifical Angelicum University in Rome with Doctorates in Theology and Canon law. He is a siting professor of the La Sagesse University in Lebanon and is the Abbot of the Antoinine Maronite Order. He also serves as the Secretary of the Commission of the Lebanese Bishops’ Conference for Dialogue with Islam.

Prof. Dr. Abbot Daou categorically states that the book about the El Chemor family by Father Ignatios “has been considered as an essential reference of Maronite’s and Lebanon history’s references” and that “no book or criticism has been issued by the Maronite church opposing this chronicling.” About Father Ignatios he states “a well-known historian and writer”.

Please, click here to access the document and the sworn legal translation in English: 

affidavit-professor-dr-antoine-daou

Please, click here to access the document and the sworn legal translation in German: 

affidavit-professor-dr-antoine-daou-german

 

 

The El Chemor/Gharios family Vis-à-vis with the International Law

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American journalist and author Gerald W. Johnson once said:

“Nothing changes more constantly than the past; for the past that influences our lives does not consist of what actually happened, but of what men believe happened”.

Nothing could be more accurate than that regarding the history and the history’s perception in and about the Middle East.

Trying not to go too deep in the past and too broad geographically, let’s concentrate in the Al-Sham’s recent history. This area comprehends today the region bordering the eastern Mediterranean Sea, usually known as the Levant or the region of Greater Syria: Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Israel, Jordan, Cyprus and the Turkish Hatay Province.

The_Levant_3

In this relatively small region, it’s concentrated dozens of different peoples and religions. Many of them with conflicting interests and identities. Their inhabitants have suffered enormous pressure by Turkish Ottoman occupation and later on by imperialist western interests. These imperative tensions allied to constant wars impacted the history and its perception tremendously. A very recent example of this is the anti-Arab sentiment in Lebanon. Many Lebanese people refuse to identify themselves as having neither any genetic nor cultural Arab inheritance. The ironic is that the branches of the very same Lebanese families that live for centuries where now is Jordan, Palestine or Syria are not affected by this sentiment identifying themselves proudly as Arabs. The very same happening with the Lebanese families that migrated to South America before the foundation of the Lebanese Republic (1943).

Still talking about Lebanon, the Ottoman occupation for centuries had no interest in allowing the propagation of the history of any sovereign or noble family with the exception of the ones serving the Ottoman interests. This scenario in the Middle East has no parallel in Europe, for example. The history of the sovereign families is very well documented and was always protected by the Catholic and Protestant Churches.

The El Chemor/Gharios Family

According to never contested Maronite acclaimed historians, the El Chemor/Gharios Princely Family is the direct blood line from the last King of the Ghassanids Chemor (or Shoumar) Jablah VI Ibn Aiham (ruled 632-638 CE).

It is a reputed deep-rooted allegation that the heads of Al-Chemor tribe are rooted from Bani Chemor, who are the Christian Kings of Ghassan which belong to Al Jafna.” (Father Ignatios Tannos El-Khoury, Historical Scientific Research: “Sheikh El Chemor Rulers of Al-Aqoura (1211-1633) and Rulers of Al-Zawiye (1641-1747)”Beirut, Lebanon, 1948, p.38)

“The refugees of Al Ghassani and bani Chemor who seeked refuge to Al ‘Aqoura turned into Maronites because the town now only has Maronites Christians and because Al Chemor tribe are the princes and children of kings, the Maronites reigned them over the land where the document states that: “… and Al ‘Aqoura is their own village from a long time, they can do as they wish…” and Al Chemori family could have taken over the throne due to their relentless efforts, money or battles, no one knows.” (ibid p.42)

“Conclusion
This is the history of the Chemor family Sheikhs who are feudal rulers, a genuine progeny of the sons of Ghassan kings of the Levant… one of the most decent, oldest and noblest families in Lebanon.” (ibid p.125)

There are only two ancient families named Chemor/Shammar in the whole Middle East. One, is from the Tayy tribe and has Bedouin origin and is Muslim. They have adopted to use the name Shammar/Shammari after the XIV Century since they inhabited the Jabal Shammar region. The El Chemor Sheikhs from Lebanon come from a sedentary Arab and Christian origin and it’s documented to use this name two centuries before the Bedouin tribe. When they’ve ruled the city of Akoura in 1211 CE they were already using the name Chemor/Shammar.

But the El Chemor/Gharios family is a sovereign Princely family regardless of the Ghassanid claim since it ruled an absolute regime in Al-Aqoura from 1211 CE until 1633 CE only being forced to make treaties with the Ottoman Empire after their arrival in today’s Lebanon in the XVI Century. That makes the rulers absolute sovereigns for almost three centuries! The Sheikhs El Chemor would rule for another two centuries in Al-Aqoura and Zgharta-Zawiye still autonomous but then in treaty with the Ottomans.

Important to clarify that the title “sheikh” has many different levels: In the specific case of the El Chemor family the title “Sheikh” it’s related to a sovereign ruler (as mentioned, Al-Akoura and Zghartha-Zawyie from the 13th until the 18th century) hence, it’s also the equivalent of “Prince”. See the examples of Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, etc. where all the princes belonging to the ruling family are “sheikhs”.

“Besides the sovereigns referred to above, there are several oriental potentates who should be mentioned, the rulers of the Sultanates and Sheikdoms of East Africa and the Persian Gulf (…) The style of these sheikhs is His Highness.”
“Titles: How the king became His Majesty”, L.G. Pine, New York, 1992 (Barnes & Noble) p. 137-138

There are other kind of lesser “sheikhs” even in Lebanon. Those were either elevated by ruling princes (as a noble, not a royal title) or were mere tax collectors of the Ottoman empire. The aforementioned doesn’t apply to the El Chemor princes since it’s documented that they were ruling independently since 1211 CE, when no Caliphate was occupying or dominating Mount Lebanon, almost 80 years before the Ottoman empire was even founded and over 300 years before the first emirate was created with prince Fakhr al-Din I (1516–1544), a puppet of the Ottoman Empire.

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His Highness Sheikh Sabah IV Ahmad Al-Jabar Al-Sabah, Emir (Prince) and sovereign ruler of Kuwait

And this is also very important to be clarified. If you ask any Lebanese, even historians, who’s “royal” for them, they’ll immediately think of the princely families that ruled the whole Mount Lebanon under the Ottoman empire (i.e.Shuf Emirate, Emirate of Jabal Druze, Emirate of Mount Lebanon, as well as Ma’an Emirate)

The Thesaurus’ definition of the word “Royal” is “of or relating to a king, queen, or other sovereign”. What does “sovereign” means? “1. a monarch; a king, queen, or other supreme ruler. 2. a person who has supreme power or authority.” In this technical sense, the El Chemor family was actually sovereign since their power didn’t emanate from a higher authority. The family had to make deals with the Ottomans only in the last years of rule, culminating with the deposition. The respect to the Maronite Patriarch was similar to the devotion that European Kings had to the Pope.

According to accepted international law and its principle of ‘sovereign equivalency”, the Pope or the prince of Monaco is “as royal” as the Queen of England regardless of the size of their actual territories.

The titles of the El Chemor family were again recognized by the Ottoman empire until its demise (1924 CE) and also by the Lebanese republic until the present date being officially printed on the documents of some family members for generations. The family’s history was kept and validated for centuries by the Maronite Church under the Holy See (Vatican) and the authority of the Pope.

International Law

In international law, sovereignty means that a government possesses full control over affairs within a territorial or geographical area or limit. That’s regardless of its size or the time that the aforementioned “full control” was exercised.

Again, the El Chemor/Gharios family is a legitimate princely sovereign family. That’s beyond any single solitary doubt. As mentioned, both the Ottoman Empire and the Lebanese Republic never ceased to recognize the family’s titles until the present day. Although, according to accepted jurisprudence, the so-called “recognition” is not a ‘sine qua non’ condition to the legitimacy of a Royal House.

It is worth mentioning also that the princely families, with the sovereign attributes, requires no recognition by the government of their country of origin, or submit any record in countries where its members settle in residence. The dynastic and political independence is based on the Sovereignty itself, which guides their social existence and regardless of any legal recognition, with respect to dynastic and private affairs. ” “Studies on Nobility Law” (Estudos sobre Direito Nobiliário), by Dr. Mario Silvestre de Meroe, pg. 65

Professor Emilio Furno, an Italian advocate in the Supreme Court of Appeal, writes as follows “The Legitimacy of Non-National Orders”, Rivista Penale, No.1, January 1961, pp. 46-70:

“The qualities which render a deposed sovereign a subject of international law are undeniable and in fact constitute an absolute personal right of which the subject may never divest himself and which needs no ratification or recognition on the part of any other authority whatsoever. A reigning sovereign or head of state may use the term recognition in order to demonstrate the existence of such a right, but the term would be a mere declaration and not a constitutive act.” (Furno, op.cit.)

“A notable example of this principle is that of the People’s Republic of China which for a considerable time was not recognised and therefore not admitted to the united nations, but which nonetheless continued to exercise its functions as a sovereign state through both its internal and external organs…” (Furno, op.cit.)

It’s accepted by International law that the sovereign attributes are indelibly connected to a family that once ruled being passed to the descendants according to that family specific laws of succession.

“. . . the king does not forfeit the character of royalty merely by the loss of his kingdom. If he is unjustly despoiled of it by an usurper, or by rebels, he still preserves his rights. . . .” (Emerich de Vattel, The Law of Nations, Book II, chapter XII, no. 196)

Professor Dr. W. Baroni Santos in his book Treaty of Heraldry declared:

“The doctrine and jurisprudence have confirmed that the territorial power is not necessary for the exercise of the dynasty, for they are inserted in the person of the sovereign, which keeps the same after the loss of the throne, passing them regularly to their heirs and successors.”

The loss of its territory in no way diminishes its sovereign powers, because these are inherent in the person of the sovereign, transmitting it, perpetually to their descendants.” (Vol. I, 5th ed., 1978, p. 197-198)

The El Chemor/Gharios Princely Family has the legitimate sovereign attributes by all the known principles of international law:

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The Montevideo Convention in 1933

Declarative sovereignty (declarative theory of statehood)

Codified during the Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States in Montevideo, Uruguay, on December 26, 1933, during the Seventh International Conference of American States. The declarative theory of statehood defends the aforementioned by Dr. Meroe and Prof. Furno meaning: “The political existence of the state [sovereignty] is independent of recognition by the other states.”

Recent jurisprudence corroborates:

“(…) it’s irrelevant if that Imperial family is no longer ruling for centuries, because the deposition doesn’t harm the sovereign prerogatives even if the sovereign renounces, spontaneously, to the throne. In substance, in this case, the Sovereign does not cease to be King, even living in exile or in private life (without claiming his sovereignty), because his prerogatives are, itself, by birth and cannot be extinguished, but remains and may be transmitted in time, from generation to generation.”
Court sentence of the Republican Italy (Pretoria de Vico Del Gargano, Italian Republic, sentence number 217/1949)

Still according to Prof. Furno:

“The prerogatives which we are examining may be denied and a sovereign state within the limits of its own sphere of influence may prevent the exercise by a deposed Sovereign of his rights in the same way as it may paralyze the use of any right not provided in its own legislation. However such negating action does not go to the existence of such a right and bears only on its exercise.”(Furno, op.cit.)

The eminent author concludes:

“To sum up, therefore, the Italian judiciary, in those cases submitted to its jurisdiction, has confirmed the prerogatives jure sanguinis of a dethroned Sovereign without any vitiation of its effects, whereby in consequence it has explicitly recognized the right to confer titles of nobility and other honorifics relative to his dynastic heraldic patrimony.” (Furno, op.cit.)

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The Congress of Vienna 1815

Constitutive sovereignty (constitutive theory of statehood)

Defines a sovereign as a person of international law if, and only if, it is recognized by other states. This theory of recognition was developed in the 14th century and exercised by the Congress of Vienna in 1815. One of the major criticisms of this principle is the fact that a state may use any criteria when judging if they should give recognition and they have absolutely no obligation of recognizing any person nor state. Usually, states only recognize another state if it is to their own political or economic advantage, rarely based on legitimacy.

In 1912, the great German jurist L. F. L. Oppenheim stated about the constitutive theory:

“International Law does not say that a State is not in existence as long as it isn’t recognised, but it takes no notice of it before its recognition. Through recognition only and exclusively a State becomes an International Person and a subject of International Law.”

As previously mentioned, the El Chemor/Gharios family was recognized by the Ottoman Empire since its arrival in today’s Lebanon. The titles of the family members were part of their legal documents even after the deposition in Zgharta in 1747 CE until the empire’s demise in 1924. The Lebanese Republic followed this legal recognition. In 2017, the President of the Lebanese Republic General Michel Aoun has officially received the family members in a private audience reinforcing this recognition. Also in 2017, the family was officially recognized by the Republic of Albania through the head of State, President Bujar Nishani.

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Royal Family with Albanian President Bujar Nishani in 2017

Back in 2015, the Vatican Secretariat of State recognized the Princely Royal titles through the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem. The Order’s sovereign is the Pope.

The above are only the official recognitions from heads of State. The family has numerous recognitions from Princes, Religious leaders, ministries, parliaments, local governments, eminent institutions, etc.

It’s easy to conclude that the El Chemor/Gharios family satisfies the constitutive theory of sovereignty.

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Royal Family with Lebanese President General Michel Aoun in 2017

Principle of Prescription

Some scholars apply the controversial principle of prescription to sovereign titles alleging that the lack of use of the family’s titles for over one century would forfeit the claim for those titles. In other words, it would establish the presumption of abandonment of ownership of those titles. Many eminent scholars disagree:

Neither the elapsed time, even for centuries, or non-use of the acts of sovereignty exercised by the Prince Pretender, Head of Name and Arms of his house, may be derogated, prescribed or canceled. He/She Retains these rights until the end of times ‘ ad perpetuam rei tenendam ‘ which are inserted in the person of Prince Pretender. ” Professor Dr W. Baroni Santos, Doctor D’etat (post-doctorate/ habilitation) from the University of Reims in France in his book “Treaty of Heraldry and Nobility Law” Volume II page 52

That goes in harmony with one of the forefathers of International law, Hugo Grotius who wrote:

“. . . in order that silence may establish the presumption of abandonment of ownership, two conditions are requisite, that the silence be that of one who acts with knowledge and of his own free will. For the failure to act on the part of one who does not know is without legal effect.” (On the Law of War and Peace, Book I, chapter IV, number 5).

According to another forefather of international law, Emmerich Vattel in the book “The law of Nations”:

“CHAP. XI. OF USUCAPTION AND PRESCRIPTION AMONG NATIONS”

§ 144. Claimant alleging reasons for his silence.

In cases of ordinary prescription, the same argument cannot be used against a claimant who alleges just reasons for his silence, as, the impossibility of speaking, or a well-founded fear, &c., because there is no longer any room for a presumption that he has abandoned his right. It is not his fault if people have thought themselves authorized to form such a presumption; nor ought he to suffer in consequence: he cannot therefore be debarred the liberty of clearly proving his property. This method of defense in bar of prescription has been often employed against princes whose formidable power had long silenced the feeble victims of their usurpations.” http://www.constitution.org/vattel/vattel_02.htm

In other words:

Presumption of neglect cannot justly exist, where the original owner has, by ignorance of his rights, or by deception, or personal fear, been prevented from claiming what he is entitled to. If he knew not that he had a right, he could not be supposed to relinquish it. And if fear or fraud induced his neglect, his mind could not have voluntarily consented.” (John Penford Thomas, A Treatise of Universal Jurisprudence, chapter II, no. 13, 1829, p. 34)

According to Professor Noel Cox, a world acclaimed Expert in Royalty and Nobility (letter 1/11/11):

“The broader question of usucapio, or prescription, is an interesting one. in principle international law recognises extinctive prescription, where one sovereign state loses pre-existing rights to another, through failure to assert them. However, the actual application of the principle is extremely uncertain. More importantly, while it may affect such matters as international boundaries, it would have no application over the internal state of affairs. Thus, whether an exiled ruler is still the head of State of a country is not clearly a question of prescription at all. Dynastic right may expire according to domestic law, but international law is a vague and uncertain basis for a ruling. Such examples as the recognition of the Communist Government in Peking, over the Taiwan-based Nationalists, show how difficult this can be. But these questions have little to do with the creation of nobility, or those sorts of matters…”

Even though some family members had to escape to South America due to the Ottoman persecution, the principle of prescription cannot be applied to the El Chemor/Gharios princes since many family members that stayed in Lebanon never stopped using their titles officially until the present date keeping the sovereign claim legally “alive”.

ROYAL CLAIM’S SUMMARY:

– Royal claim based on titles previously recognized by the Ottoman Empire since its incursion in the Levant until its demise in 1924,
– Royal claim based on titles recognized by the Lebanese Republic since its foundation until the present date,
– Royal claim recognized by “jus sanguinis” (law of blood) on an International Arbitration award issued in 2011 and valid in 148 nations of the world by the 1958 NY Convention,
– Vouched by 3 Brazilian Judges (sworn affidavits 2013),
– Recognized and executed by 2 American Judges (2012 and 2016),
– Based upon 150 years of European Jurisprudence of over 20 similar Royal claims,
– Royal claim based on over 50 bona fide scholars (jurists and historians) from East and West,
– Over 100 corroborating scholarly references,
– Formally recognized by 3 ruling heads-of-state (2015 and 2017),
– Informally recognized by governments and reputed institutions of United States (including the U.S. Congress), Brazil, Germany, Spain, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, UAE, Italy, Israel, Palestine and Ukraine,
– Formally recognized by the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem one of the original orders of chivalry in the world having the Pope as Sovereign,
– Recognized by the majority of religious leaders in the Middle East, both Christian and Muslim.    

Conclusion

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The philosopher Maimonides wisely said:

“Truth does not become more true by virtue of the fact that the entire world agrees with it, nor less so even if the whole world disagrees with it.”

The only flaw of the El Chemor/Gharios princely family is not being notorious like their peers in Europe or even in the Middle East. That have been creating some room for surprise from some uninformed people raising questions about our history. I hope this article could shine some light over the subject from the legal and historical perspective.

 

Ignorance 2: it thrives and abounds

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The worst fool is the one proud of his ignorance

It amazes me how could someone that dares to claim attendance in middle school could insist in such absurd theories without absolutely no evidence. But unfortunately, ignorance thrives and abounds.

They’ve called me “scammer” without showing any evidence or even producing any victim of my alleged scam. No convictions of any crime, not even formal accusations. I’ve just spent money and time and matched all the donations I’ve ever received by, at least, a twofold. My accounting books were examined by the IRS in the US and by the NGO committee of the United Nations. The result was the approval of the tax-deduction status in the US in 2014 (retroactive until 2011) and the Special Consultative Status in the UN in 2016. After reading the fifteen pages long “cease and desist letter” from my lawyer in Germany, they decided that may be would be a good idea to remove the term “scammer” from their kind mention of me on their Facebook page.

But I’m here to confess my scam. My scam was to help, from September 2014 till December 2016, over a thousand families of Syrian, Iraqi, Lebanese, Jordanian and Palestinian people in need. And I can prove that anytime to anyone. This great scam was recognized by governments and institutions of ten countries in three continents. Including the Vatican, the US and the Brazilian Governments. I like to believe that none is, or at least shouldn’t be, awarded just by “being a prince”.

They accuse me of “inventing” something that was claimed centuries before my existence! They attack an awarded and acclaimed Lebanese Maronite historian that was never formally (nor informally) criticized until now. We’re not talking about an obscure historian but the recipient of the highest academic Order of the French Government! Also, his book about my family that was considered by the Lebanese government as an official historical scientific research and again, was never contested in almost seventy years that it was written. Alas, twenty five years before I was even born! Not a single book, not a peer reviewed article, no academic work not even a bad book review from sixth grade student! But stop everything! They have decided in Germany he was wrong! Again, without presenting any evidence nor an academic “counter-thesis” disproving what he wrote.

If I want to claim that the Bourbon family is not entitled to the Japanese Empire, I’ve to present a theory to support my statement. I’ve to offer the evidence that the family descends from Hugh Capet, not from emperor Murakami.

Anyone that frequented high school knows that scholars disagree all the time and about a plethora of subjects and the fact that they do it alone doesn’t make them neither right nor wrong. Just attacking something doesn’t make it a lie. I don’t care about the credentials or titles you may hold. Unless you’re the pope, your mere opinion is not infallible. Even the pope has to substantiate his “ex-cathedra” argument. His infallible teachings must be based on, or at least not contradict, Sacred Tradition or Sacred Scripture. But apparently, they’re above the pope and any academic rule.

As the philosopher Maimonides wisely said:

“Truth does not become more true by virtue of the fact that the entire world agrees with it, nor less so even if the whole world disagrees with it.”

Seemingly, another terrible crime that I’m guilty of is allegedly having two cousins that disagree with me. We can prove now that both of them were manipulated and instigated against me. How can someone try to manipulate a ninety one years-old lady on a wheelchair and look himself in the mirror everyday?  How low can you go trying to destroy someone?

But it wouldn’t make any difference even if all cousins hated me. My claims are based in dynastic and international law, not in a family popularity contest. Even if the disagreement was totally legitimate and spontaneous – not the case here – let the one that never disagreed with cousins to throw the first stone!

And there’s also the “very mature” and “scholarly based” insult calling me “a gorilla”. Apparently we are all back to the kindergarten’s playground. By that alone you can evaluate the “caliber” of my critics. You’ve to be completely desperate for arguments when you resort to “ad hominem” attacks of “zoological” nature.

But one may ask why are you being attacked?
Aren’t you doing a humanitarian work? Aren’t you defending peace and dialogue? Isn’t that a good thing? What could possible be wrong with that?

Unfortunately, we live in a divided world. Even apparently natural allies have diametrical opposite interests. For example:

* We defend the ecumenical dialogue and the actual unity of the oriental churches in the Middle East for practical (not theological) purposes. Sadly, many people, mostly laymen inside the Catholic Church, even going against the Supreme Pontiff’s command, are completely against that,  

* We also defend the dialogue and strategical alliance with the Muslim leaders. The greatest part of the Christians in the west – specially in Germany – are also against that, 

* We accept that most Lebanese families might come from Phoenician origin but, some of them, specifically the Ghassanid families, come originally from Yemen and therefore are Arab. This “Arab DNA” was “diluted” being Hellenized and Romanized over the centuries and, culturally speaking, the majority of the Ghassanids adopted an Aramaic culture and religion. However, there’s a strong anti-Arab sentiment in Lebanon,  

* We are presenting solutions for the problems in the Middle East, “a cure for the disease”. Many charities in the region are just interested in “keep selling medication”,  

* According to their own private correspondence, we pose as a great threat of “stealing” the catholic donors in Germany. They see us as “business competition” that has to be stopped.  

So, there are more than enough reasons.

I could go on and on of all the legal and logical inaccuracies in their claims but as Napoleon wisely said: “Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.”

HIRH Prince Gharios El Chemor of Ghassan Al-Numan VIII

 

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