Maroun Abboud: The Red Prince - A Lebanese Tale
Maroun Abboud (1886–1962), the Lebanese master storyteller, blends fact and fiction, religion and myth, fables and folklore, and superstition and realism to weave together the threads of his amazing tale. When the story of the Red Prince unfolds, Lebanon was ruled by the heavy hand of Emir Bashir the Second, whose rule lasted for about four decades. He was a shrewd politician, a brilliant military commander, and a gifted negotiator. This is the story of Lebanon when it was governed by a strict feudal hierarchy with the oppressed villagers crushed at the bottom of the totem pole. The unholy trinity of the prince, the priest, and the rich man presided in absolute power over the lives and destiny of the poor and the powerless.The majority of the characters in this tale are real people drawn from the pages of history. The brilliance of Maroun Abboud is displayed in the way he presents his characters to us. He neither takes sides, nor does he introduce them in a one-sided manner that leaves us wondering what to believe. Should we admire them, or should we despise them? Should we focus on their absolute goodness and humanity or on their ultimate cruelty and inhumanity? The reader remains the jury, and history the ultimate judge.