Whenever listing Lebanese demographics it appears that an asterisk is necessary to account for the silly delusions of some Lebanese. Why?
Call it ultra-Lebanese nationalism and the cult of the Phoenicians. Lebanese’s Maronite establishment has long sought to distinguish itself from the Muslims in Lebanon and the region. Until the 1960s, more or less, the Maronites constituted a majority in Lebanon making the Lebanese state the only one where a majority of the population and a majority of the MPs and head of state (president) were Christian. And as a Christian nation in a overwhelmingly Muslim Middle East, the Maronites wanted to carve out a distinct identity that would separate them from the Muslims. This was not the prerogative of all Christians and there has always been a streak of Arabists Maronites.
But the trend that dominated the Maronite Church then and now has been one that sought separateness from the Muslim majority in the region and the then growing Muslim population in Lebanon (which is now easily the majority). And with the development of the modern state of Lebanon the Maronites believes that their power relied on their ability to create a distinct Lebanese identity or else be absorbed into some pan-Arab confederation which would negate Lebanese sovereignty, and without Lebanese sovereignty – the sole nation were Maronites dominated – the power of the community would dissolve. So the Maronite elite enunciated a nationalism which sought to portray Lebanon not as an Arab country but as “Phoenician”. The Lebanese were supposed to be the descendants of the “Phoenicians” (a hilarious proposition) and thereby to keep their own nation instead of joining what was now presented as the Arab “other”. And this ultra-nationalist project has poisoned some Lebanese into believing in a uniquely “Lebanese” identity.
The C.I.A. is cognizant of this idiocy: Arab 95%, Armenian 4%, other 1%
note: many Christian Lebanese do not identify themselves as Arab but rather as descendents of the ancient Canaanites and prefer to be called Phoenicians.
Note: Many Lebanese have an inferiority-complex vis-a-vis the ‘White Man’ and like to pretend that are White. But, jokes on them, first the Phoenicians are all dead and, second, the Phoenicians were darker-skinned than the Arabs.