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.

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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

Ignorance: the scourge of mankind

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German poet Friedrich Schiller wisely said that “against ignorance, even the gods fight in vain”. “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” said Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. The world-famous physicist Professor Stephen Hawking states that “The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.” And God, how much illusion of knowledge we have in the world today! Anyone is an expert in anything and even some real experts in determined areas fancy themselves in giving opinions about things they know nothing about.

Opinions! How often we mix them with facts! In times of social media, everyone seems to be entitled to express an opinion. The immediate result of that is freighting dominance of fake news all over the world even contaminating the last US presidential elections. In the end, ignorance is a disease, not a right. As brilliantly said by American author Harlan Ellison:

You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion. None is entitled to be ignorant.”

Skepticism is healthy until the point of becoming blind denial. It’s perfectly fine not to believe in everything until the due diligence is made. As per the Merrian-Webster dictionary “due diligence” is “the care that a reasonable person exercises to avoid harm to other persons or their property”, in other words, it supposed to be an unbiased investigation aiming to find the truth about something. However, when someone makes a point against something, their “due diligence” becomes a deranged quest to prove themselves, not to find the truth. Even some educated people make the recurrent mistake of discredit what’s not notorious to them. In the haste of hatred, jealousy and competition some people try to “dress” a malicious opinion desperately making it look like a fact.

I receive all kinds of enquirers about my family’s history. Some questioners are honest, some are not. Many people don’t understand why that history is not notorious (even in Lebanon) like the ones of the Royal families of Europe.

First, we have to understand the historical background and for that we need to go back to the advent of Islam in the VII Century CE when great portions of the Arabic peninsula were conquered by the Muslim armies. In the previous century, Prophet Mohammad wrote to the major kings of the known world “inviting” them to convert to Islam as a condition ‘sine qua non’ for them to keep their own kingdoms. Some accepted, others not. The Ghassanid king Chemor Jablah VI (ruled 632-638) didn’t and had to escape to the Byzantine empire and later, some of his descendants migrated to Mount Lebanon, a safe haven for Christians in the Middle East being known as “the Chemors”, due to the king’s name. Meanwhile, everything that was Christian was considered by the Caliphate to be primitive and pagan and its destruction was incentivized for centuries to come. From those times comes the tradition practiced by the Taliban in the 1990’s and by the Islamic State in the 2010’s of destroying every non-Muslim historical evidence. A lot of information was lost in this process during the first centuries after the Islamic conquest. However, enough remained to even describe in detail some important events (see the thousands of pages written by Prof. Dr. Irfan Shahid, late Emeritus Professor of Princeton is his multi-volume collection “Byzantium and the Arabs”).

Also to be considered, the enormous prejudice spread by east and west. The Arab historians hated the Ghassanids because they were Christians and the westerns because they were Arab. Nothing flattering could be written with this mindset.

The prejudice continued with the Ottoman rule. Capital proof of that is the “Janissarie program” that forced Christian boys to convert to Islam and became Ottoman soldiers, weakening the Christian families that had to cope with the lack of males forcing the women to marry Muslims and convert since by Sharia law a Christian woman can marry a Muslim man without converting but has no right to any inheritance.

In Lebanon specifically, the alliance of the Druzes with the Ottomans also contributed to the weakening of the Christian families. Last, but not least, the competition between the Christian noble families created an “autophagic sentiment” that facilitated the Ottoman rule until WWI. We cannot forget the several wars that almost destroyed Lebanon in the 19th and 20th centuries. The bullet marks in many buildings can still be seen today.

The history of Christians in Lebanon was kept mostly by the Maronite church.

We also have to understand the immense “anti-Arab” sentiment in Lebanon. That comes specially from the Christian people who usually perceive themselves as “Phoenicians” not Arabs. That can be explained, in a simplistic way, by the common and automatic association of everything that’s Arab to the Muslim religion. The Ghassanids came originally from Yemen and are notoriously Arab. The interesting is that it’s very common to have the very same family (common ancestor) living in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Palestine. Only the family branch that lives in Lebanon don’t perceive itself as Arab, all the others do.

There’s even a lack of interest in the subject since Lebanon is proudly a republic and any subject related to nobility is a bitter tasted remembrance of the Ottoman rule.

Understanding this background is easier to comprehend why the historical sources are considerably less than in Europe. But the scarcity of notoriety doesn’t make a fact untrue unless someone can prove it undeniably wrong.

Scholars disagree in all fields of science. Even in the field of the called “Exact Sciences” like Physics, Chemistry and Biology, where the existence of empirical evidence is a lot more needed than in history, there are many examples. The most recent one is regarding “global warming”. Both sides of the argument have illustrious scholars and germane arguments. It doesn’t matter how accredited a scholar might be, his simple opinion is nothing more than that, unless he elaborates and actually presents a “counter-theory’. Even with a substantiated counter-argument, a scholar doesn’t “kill” the other theory unless he can prove his “theory” as a “fact”. That’s very rare in the historical field since a great deal of historical scientific research is based on interpretation.

Let’s also remember that even the so-called “scholarly consensus” doesn’t mean the assurance of “a fact”. Not so long ago, the consensus was that the Earth was flat and people who said otherwise was killed.

Regarding my family, everything I claim is scholarly based. I didn’t “invent” anything. For that, I’d have to master “time travel” since those claims were made long before I was born. Some facts were unknown even for my family members until today. But again, that doesn’t make them any less real. But let’s go to facts, not opinions:

The Ghassanid imperial titles 

Several scholars wrote about it:

– Procipius (Greek historian)

– Kazhdan, Alexander “Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium”. Oxford University Press

– Shahîd, Irfan, “Byzantium and the Arabs in the sixth century” Dumbarton Oaks – Harvard University

– Shahid, Irfan, “Ghassan post Ghassan” Festschrift  “The Islamic World – From classical to modern times”, for Bernard Lewis, Darwin Press l989

– Al Tabari, Abū Jaʿfar Muḥammad ibn Jarīr;  “Tarik” (Cairo, 1966)

– Zahran, Yasmine, “Ghassan resurrected” Stacey International (1991)

A detailed article about it can be found HERE

The fact that the Ghassanids kept ruling even after the fall of the first kingdom

Also stated by several scholars:

– Bowesock/Brown/Grabar “Late Antiquity” –, Harvard University Press, 1999

– Khoury, Ignatious Tannos, The Sheikhs Chemor rulers of Akoura (1211-1633 CE) and rulers of Zawie (1641-1747 CE)” Beirut, Lebanon, 1948

– Kazhdan, Alexander “Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium”. Oxford University Press

– Shahîd, Irfan, “Byzantium and the Arabs in the sixth century” Dumbarton Oaks – Harvard University

– Shahid, Irfan, “Ghassan post Ghassan” Festschrift  “The Islamic World – From classical to modern times”, for Bernard Lewis, Darwin Press l989

– Al Tabari, Abū Jaʿfar Muḥammad ibn Jarīr, “Tarik” (Cairo, 1966)

– Zahran, Yasmine, “Ghassan resurrected” Stacey International (1991)

The undisputed fact that the  “Gharios”family comes from the “El Chemor” family and that the “El Chemor” family is a princely family

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 (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.

And this is 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.

Important to explain: 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 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.

The fact that the Ghassanid families migrated to today’s Lebanon

– Malouf, Issa Iskander, “Dawani Al-Kuuf” (1907),

– Malouf, George Hanna, “Maloof The Ghassani Legacy” (1992),

– Zahran, Yasmine, “Ghassan resurrected” Stacey International (1991)

– Khoury, Ignatious Tannos, The Sheikhs Chemor rulers of Akoura (1211-1633 CE) and rulers of Zawie (1641-1747 CE)” Beirut, Lebanon, (1948)

Regarding the connection of the Ghassanid Kings and Sheikhs El Chemor

The book The Sheikhs Chemor rulers of Akoura (1211-1633 CE) and rulers of Zawie (1641-1747 CE)” Beirut, Lebanon, (1948) by Father Ignatious Tannos El-Khoury specifically states about the subject. It’s dishonest to criticize a theory without presenting a counter argument. Also, some people tried to attack Father El-Khoury saying that he was “just a Maronite monk” forgetting he was one of the most acclaimed Maronite historians of the 20th century being author of over twenty books published not only in Lebanon but also in Europe. This “mere monk” was the recipient of the highest Academic Order of the French Government, the “Ordre des Palmes Académiques’ (higher in precedence than the famous “Ordre des Arts et des Lettres”) in the rank of “officer” (2nd highest). But maybe, just maybe his beard was too long! It’s sad and desperate to resort to “Ad hominem” attacks in the lack of real argument.

ignatiosmedal
Father Ignatious Tannos El Khoury, the author of the book about the El Chemor family wearing his medal of Officer of the Ordre des Palmes Academiques

Professor Dr. Abbot Antoine Daou, one of the top modern Maronite historians, have confirmed the aforementioned statements in a sworn affidavitProf. 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.

Please, Click HERE to learn more and access the documents

My legal rights to the titles – laws of succession

Speaking of “Ad hominem” attacks… What’s the level of “an unbiased scholarly research” if someone starts it by calling you “a gorilla”? Again, sad and desperate…

The laws of successions in the Middle East are considerably different than in Europe. There’s no primogeniture nor seniority, the male heirs of the last ruler compete equally for the title. There are also no limitations for the users of the titles.  See the following scholars:

– Michael Herb, “All in the family: absolutism, revolution, and democracy in the Middle Eastern Monarchies”

– Alderson, “The Structure of the Ottoman Dynasty”, pgs. 12-13. J.C.

– Hurewitz, “Middle East politics: the military dimension”

– Nathan J. Brown, Constitutions in a Nonconstitutional World (2002)

– Charles de Secondat, Baron of Montesquieu, the spirit of the laws, book V (1748)

A detailed article about the laws of Successions of the Ghassanids can be found HERE

My legal rights to the titles – international jurisprudence

In today’s world, a title from a non-reigning dynasty is purely honorific and just a courteous denomination. There are no longer any legal privileges of birth for a title’s holder. However, a title is considered to be “immaterial inheritance” and although “non-tangible” obeys “jus sanguinis” laws of the specific family and it’s protected as any normal inheritance. In other words, if your grandfather dies and leaves you an automobile, the decision of driving it or not it’s yours. The same with the title. You might have the title lawfully “in pectore et in potentia” by “jus sanguinis” and never claim it. It’s your right like winning the lottery, it’s your choice to claim the prize or not even having the right. Another example of “jus sanguinis” law is citizenship. Some countries recognize as citizens people born in other countries if they have the “blood”. For example, a great-grandson of an Italian citizen has the right to Italian citizenship even if he, his parents and grandparents were born in China. But even having the legal right “in pectore et in potentia” he will only become an Italian citizen if he legally claims it.

My legal claims are based on the following scholars:

– de Meroe, Dr. Mario Silvestre, “International Nobiliary Traditions” (Tradições Nobiliarias Internacionais) , pg.62-63

– Ian Brownline Q.C, Principles of Public International Law

– de Meroe, Dr. Mario Silvestre, “Studies on Nobiliary Law” (Estudos sobre Direito Nobiliário),

– David Holden and Richard Johns, “The House of Saud”

– Baroni Santos, Waldemar (1978); “Tratado de Heraldica – Direito Nobiliário V.I”

– Baroni Santos, Waldemar (1990); “Tratado de Heraldica – Direito Nobiliário V.II”

– Baroni Santos, Waldemar (2004); “Tratado de Heraldica – Direito Nobiliário V.III”

– Baroni Santos, Waldemar (2007); “Tratado de Heraldica – Direito Nobiliário V. IV”

– Vattel, Emmerich (1883); “The Law of Nations”

– Michelle Francesco, Renato (1951); “Il Angelo Comneno D’empiro e La Sua Discendenza”

– Vincent, Andrew (2002); “Nationalism and Particularity”

– Bonavides, Paulo ;”Political Sciences” (Ciência Política)

– Grotius, Hugo (1625), “On the Law of War and Peace, Book I, chapter IV, number 5”

Also, the international arbitration award 0413/2011 where my rights and titles were legally recognized by “jus sanguinis” was recognized by five judges in Brazil and the United States and was based on recent European jurisprudence:

– 1870 – Court of Appeal of Naples in 03/16/1870

– 1871 – Italian Supreme Court of Cassation, ratifies the verdict gave by the Court of Appeal of Naples in 03/16/1870.

– 1872 – Court of Appeal of Naples in 02/05/1872

– 1909 – Court of Naples 10/22/1909

– 1914 – Civil and Penal Court of Avezzano in 12/03/1914

– 1923 – Italian Supreme Court of Cassation in 04/25/1923

– 1945 – Court of Cassona in 06/05/1945

– 1945 – Court of Bari in 08/20/1945

– 1946 – Court of Catania in 09/14/1946

– 1947 – Civil court of Naples in 06/06/1947

– 1948 – Court of Rome in 09/10/1948

– 1949 – Court of Vico Gargano verdict number 217/49

– 1950 – Court of Perugia in 03/27/1950

– 1952 – Unified Court of Rome in 03/22/1952

– 1955 – Court of Santa Agata de Puglia 06/25/1955

– 1987 – Court of Republic of San Marino Case No. 184/1987

– 2003 – Ordinary Court of Ragusa 02/17/2003

Important to point that neither the lack of knowledge nor the disapproval of family members make any difference to the legality of any dynastic claims. If that was true, almost all of the deposed dynasties wouldn’t exist since cousins and even brothers fight all the time saying horrible things about each other. See the Savoys in Italy, the Orleans and Braganzas in Brazil, the Bourbons in France and in Spain (Carlists), the Borbons also in Two Sicilies, the Bragationis in Georgia, etc…  Disagreements and disapproval are common in any family and wouldn’t be different in a Royal one.

In  conclusion, one of the highest Maronite historians and patriarchs of all times, Estephan II Boutros El Douaihy (1630-1704) wrote in the XVII century about the El Chemor family. He’s in a canonization process being beatified in 1998 by Pope Benedict XVI. All of my legal documents, genealogy and recognitions are in possession of several departments of the Holy See since 2013. In 2014, I was invested as a knight of Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem by special decree of the Order’s Grand Prior His Beatitude Fouad Twal, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem. Since the Order’s sovereign is the Pope, all investitures and promotions have to be approved directly by the Vatican Secretariat of State. In order to issue my diploma as knight, all my documents and pedigree were sent for analysis. Usually, it takes no longer than one month to the whole bureaucratic process. In my case, it took almost six (it can be seen in the document the investiture date as November 29th 2014 and the Secretary of State approval on April 17th 2015)! They did have my baptism certificate and all my personal documents.

If my legal claims were not real, why did they recognize the title as “Prince” with the address of “His Royal Highness”?

Whomever state such preposterous accusations is calling the entire Holy See – notoriously known for being meticulous and strict –  as stupid and incompetent!

Then I ask, did I personally influence all of the aforementioned scholars, five judges, cardinals, bishops, etc? If I did, God I must be powerful and again I’d have to master the “time travel”. If I did master the “time travel” would I be wasting my time writing this long article? Definitely not! For sure, I’d have a lot more interesting things to do than having to respond to ignorant and dishonest people.

To those people, my most profound repulse.

HIRH Prince Gharios El Chemor of Ghassan Al-Numan VIII

 

Royal House of Ghassan appears on Lebanese TV

tv

Today, the president of the Lebanese branch of the Royal House of Ghassan, Sheikh Dr. Elie Gharios was interviewed by Mariam TV. He spoke about the charitable and cultural projects of the Royal House not only in Lebanon but in three continents.

Mariam TV” is a satellite channel from Tele Lumiere. It is a live tribune that transmits the voice of women to the whole world and encourages the development of societies. It’s devoted to broadcasting programs that raise awareness and spread education. It is called “Mariam” since “Mariam”, the Holy Mother of God and the Divine Mercy on earth, gathers around her Christians and Muslims.