Iaal, Lebanon

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Iaal
ايعال
Village
Map showing the location of Iaal within Lebanon
Map showing the location of Iaal within Lebanon
Iaal
Location within Lebanon
Coordinates: 34°22′N 35°55′E / 34.367°N 35.917°E / 34.367; 35.917Coordinates: 34°22′N 35°55′E / 34.367°N 35.917°E / 34.367; 35.917
Country  Lebanon
Governorate North Governorate
District Zgharta District
Government
 • Mayor Ahmad Elmir (elected since 2004)
Area
 • Total 2.89 km2 (1.12 sq mi)
Elevation 281 m (922 ft)
Population (2010)
 • Total ≈1,000
Demographics
 • Religion 100% Sunni Islam
 • Languages Overwhelmingly Arabic and English
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 • Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Dialing code +961

Iaal (Arabic: ايعال‎), also spelt as Ī`āl or I’aal, is an ancient village located approximately 12 km south-east of Tripoli, 85 km from Beirut and 5 km from Zgharta.[1][2] It is located within the Zgharta District of the North Governorate of Lebanon. Iaal lies at the foot of the Mount Lebanon range and has a road that runs up into the mountains, and parallel to Wadi Iaal,[3] passing through its borders. The most identifiable building in Iaal is the castle/fort built on the hilltop of the village centre.[4][5] The Fortress of Iaal was built in 1816 by Mustafa Agha Barbar (the governor of Tripoli under the Ottomans from 1798) because the area was considered strategic thanks to its panoramic views, which extend all the way down to the Mediterranean coast. The other identifiable building in Iaal is the mosque along the road that runs up into the mountains, called Masjid al-Taqwa (Arabic for "Mosque of Piety"), built in 1994.[6] There is a second mosque located within the confines of the castle; the 2 mosques being a testament to the villagers’ strong adherence to Sunni Islam.

History[edit]

It appears Iaal was inhabited prior to the arrival of Barbar, as evidenced by a census conducted by the Ottoman’s in 1555. It shows that there were 34 males in the village at that time (females were excluded from the census).[7] However, who these villagers were and where they originated from is unknown. What can be presumably safely deduced is that the modern descendants from Iaal are a product of both Barbar and those serving him, and those who were counted in the 1555 census. Based upon this census alone, there should be more than the few thousand people claiming an origin from Iaal today - i.e. if the population was able to grow without interference of unnatural deaths (e.g. killings) and/or significant migration and subsequent loss of identity.

Agriculture[edit]

The land of Iaal is watered by Iaal Dam and its outflow of Wadi Iaal.[8] This makes it fertile (sustaining a variety of produce and grazing animals) and has resulted in making the town famous for its olive tree gardens.[9]

Climate[edit]

Iaal’s climate is typical of a Mediterranean plain village - with heavy rains, mild winters and hot, dry, arid summers. Its annual rainfall is 810mm. It has the following average temperatures for each month of the year:

Climate data for Iaal, Lebanon
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 61
(16)
61
(16)
66
(19)
72
(22)
77
(25)
81
(27)
84
(29)
86
(30)
84
(29)
81
(27)
72
(22)
64
(18)
73
(23)
Daily mean °F (°C) 54
(12)
54.5
(12.5)
58.1
(14.5)
63.5
(17.5)
68.9
(20.5)
73
(23)
77.9
(25.5)
79.7
(26.5)
76.1
(24.5)
72
(22)
63.5
(17.5)
57
(14)
66.6
(19.2)
Average low °F (°C) 46
(8)
48
(9)
50
(10)
55
(13)
61
(16)
66
(19)
72
(22)
73
(23)
68
(20)
63
(17)
55
(13)
50
(10)
59
(15)
Source: Kfarsghab.net[10]

People[edit]

Its inhabitants are entirely Sunni Muslims and number about 1,000 people[11] (although precise figures are unattainable). In 1988 Iaal had a total population of 903, and in 1998 its population increased by almost 20% to 1,082 people. However, these figures relate to all registered citizens originating from the village, including both residents in Lebanon and those who are abroad as emigrants.[12] The people of Iaal are also all related to one another through common ancestors. The majority of people who trace their ancestry to the village actually live outside of Iaal. The overwhelming majority of these immigrants and their descendants live in Australia; primarily Sydney, in the local government areas of the Municipality of Kogarah (where they own and run a mosque in the suburb of South Hurstville) and the City of Liverpool.[citation needed] This diaspora community also runs the Iaal Charitable Association Inc.[13] Most people from Iaal (at the time) also emigrated to Latin America during the late 19th and early 20th century. However, these emigrants fully assimilated into their new environments and lost all connections with their homeland.

Some common surnames of people from Iaal include: Affouf, Al-Choukairy, Al-Hage, Ardati, Ayyoub, Dennaoui, Diab, Dib, Elmir, Habib, Hadid, Halbouni, Hammoud, Hussein, Ibrahim, Issa, Jameel, Khidr, Mahrees, Merhi, Nasreddine, Nasser, Shehaddy, Subkhi, Taleb.

Notable people[edit]

Some notable people born in or descending from Iaal include:

Trivia[edit]

  • Politically, the villagers of Iaal are mostly aligned with the Future Movement.
  • Neighbouring and nearby communities to Iaal include Jdaydeh, Kfaryachit, Khaldieh, Morh Kfarsghab and Sakhra.
  • Iaal is one of only 5 Sunni towns in the Zgharta District[22] and is the southernmost entirely Sunni Muslim settlement in the whole North Governorate of Lebanon.

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Google Maps: Iaal
  2. ^ Iaal's location
  3. ^ Wādī Ī`āl
  4. ^ Iaal fortress photo
  5. ^ Iaal fortress details
  6. ^ The photo is of the Mosque at Iaal "Masgid Al Taqwa" built in 1994
  7. ^ 1555 Iaal census
  8. ^ PARTICIPATORY WATER SAVING MANAGEMENT AND WATER CULTURAL HERITAGE: LEBANON COUNTRY REPORT, by K. KARAA, F. KARAM, N. TARABEY, pp. 190-191, in Fig, 2. Sites of the Master Plan’s main storage structures and Table 5. Ten Years Master Plan for Dams and ponds construction.
  9. ^ Towns and Villages Neighbouring Tripoli Lebanon: I'aal
  10. ^ "Iaal's climatic conditions can be equated with those of Morh Kfarsghab, due to the latters close proximity to Iaal". Kfarsghab.net. 2006. Retrieved 2008-06-04. 
  11. ^ Historical
  12. ^ Demographic Study, by Paul B.M. Douaihy.
  13. ^ Skulte-ouaiss, Jennifer; Tabar, Paul (2014). "Strong in Their Weakness or Weak in Their Strength? The Case of Lebanese Diaspora Engagement with Lebanon". Immigrants & Minorities (The I’aal Village Association: Routledge): 12–14,17. doi:10.1080/02619288.2013.877347. ISSN 0261-9288. ... For the village association of I’aal in North Lebanon (known as the Charitable Association of I’aal in Australia), there is no clear line separating those who reside in the village and those who have emigrated, as there is so much circular migration and other forms of transnational interaction. The Deputy Head of the Municipality, Mr Nasser Al Dein Dieb, who has also been a migrant himself, stated that ‘there is no single family in I’aal who [does] not have at least one relative residing in Australia’. The association is active in a variety of infrastructure and education projects in the village; individual migrants are also active in private or family activities, for example, building elaborate and expensive vacation homes that get used only for a few weeks per year. In the 2009 general elections, almost 500 members of the I’aal Diaspora community in Sydney travelled to Lebanon to participate and vote. What made their participation very significant was the fact that they voted in a district (Zghartah district) where the race between the two major political forces running for this election (March 14 and March 8 alliances) was so close, making their contribution crucial for the final outcome of the elections. This village association is by no means the largest that we encountered in our research but rather is typical of many such tight-knit organizations that seek to address the needs of the homeland community that cannot or will not be met by state authorities. Migrants in Australia from I’aal (the majority of I’aal inhabitants who live abroad are found in Sydney, Australia) have contributed abundantly to the development of the village in Lebanon: they have donated profusely to improve the services of the village school and clinic, and to many families who were in need to provide expensive health care to their sick family members or to support their childrens’ education. As a result, all these activities qualify I’aal, like hundreds of other diasporan villages in Australia, Canada and the USA, to assume the role of a non-state actor... What is striking about the I’aal Village Association, as well as others like it tying the Lebanese Diaspora to villages and towns throughout Lebanon, is that they contribute significantly to the financial, social and even political sustenance of these villages and towns... However, as discussion of the cases of...I’aal Village Association, and Auxilia illustrate, the Diaspora is never completely autonomous in its activities. Rather, it is strongest when...the Diaspora restricts its activities to the local level (e.g. I’aal Village Association) but also takes the lead. 
  14. ^ Future Movement Australia: Management FMA NSW
  15. ^ Future Movement Australia: Future Movement – Australia (Tayar Al-Mustaqbal) Official Committee Structure
  16. ^ http://www.moim.gov.lb/ui/moim/guidex/PhonesNorthx.html#top
  17. ^ Khoder Nasser: The man behind Sonny Bill Williams' anger, By Paul Kent, The Daily Telegraph, dated 24 May 2008 12:00AM
  18. ^ Lord of the Ring, by Greg Bearup, The Sydney Morning Herald, dated July 27, 2010.
  19. ^ Cory Paterson joins Team Mundine, by Nathan Ryan, dated 30 March 2011.
  20. ^ Wallaby Cooper should consider league switch – agent, Reuters, dated April 5, 2011.
  21. ^ Deputy Police Commissioner calls for closer cooperation with Muslim community, Reporter: Tanya Nolan, ABC AM, dated Thursday, 21 July 2005 08:12:00
  22. ^ Religious

External links[edit]