Bleeding over the edges

1 10 2008

Lebanon, 1961, Scott C296, 20mm x 36mm

Here we have a somewhat anonymous-looking strip of land with boundaries to the east and west but extending to the bounding pane at the north and south. Topographically, a number of waterways are depicted along with a central ridge feature running to the northeast. And who is the gentleman shown in profile to the left?

It turns out that the land is the central coast of Lebanon, with the coastal cities (for the western border is the Mediterranean Ocean) of Sidon, Beirut, and Jbeil indicated in script. The western border is with Syria and is somewhat altered from its present shape owing to subsequent conflicts in the region. The central mountain range is Mount Lebanon itself, home of the famous cedar trees. There is no indication on the map to the south of where Lebanon ends and Israel begins, although the composition suggests an emphasis not so much on that border which loomed so large in later years but perhaps with domestic concerns in the capital. And the portrait situated right by that capital is that of President Fuad Chehab.

The year this stamp was issued was in the interval between the bloodletting of the 1940s and that of the mid-1970s, during a Presidential mandate marked by factions seeking to gain the upper hand in the nation. Perhaps some of that shows through too.