Osseiran family

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The Osseiran Family (Arabic: عائلة عسيران‎‎) of Lebanon, like the Haidar and Suleiman families of the Biqa' region, are descended from the Bani Assad tribe of Southern Iraq.

According to the late Lebanese writer Ahmad Abu Saad, the distant ancestors of the Osseiran family migrated to the Levant and first settled in the ancient city of Baalbeck in the 17th century. After a feud with the Emirs of the Harfush clan, who were in control of Baalbeck, the direct ancestor of the Osseirans migrated to Sidon, where he started the family known by his name, Osseiran.

Little is known of the early generations of the Osseiran family, except that they were generally in trade. In the mid-19th century, they acquired large fortunes through commerce and gradually bought vast lands throughout what is now Southern Lebanon, or Jabal Amel. They also acquired (in 1849) the consulate of the Kingdom of Persia in Sidon and resided in that city and became a very prominent family in it.

Al-Hajj Ali Osseiran, grandfather of one of the founding fathers of modern Lebanon, the late Adel Osseiran, was at once consul of Persia and an Effendi of the Ottoman Empire, a title granted him by the Turkish Sultan.

Al-Hajj Hassan Osseiran, a cousin of al-Hajj Ali, was a man of learning and philanthropy, and had several children who took up diplomatic posts in different Levantine cities. All this is mentioned by Abu Saad in his book about the families of Lebanon.

Of the five sons of the Effendim, Abdullah, Rashid, Rida, Najib, and Kamil, three died of the plague during World War I. They had been implicated in the Great Arab Revolt against the Ottomans.

It is said, though not proven, that during the famine of World War I the Osseirans opened up their storehouses of grain to feed the hungry people.

The Osseirans were distinguished by the fact that they were generally better educated than most of their contemporaries, having attended missionary schools and having knowledge of foreign languages, including Persian, Turkish, and French.

The Osseiran family has produced a number of pioneers and distinguished professionals in different fields including politics (e.g., Najib Osseiran, Rashid Osseiran, Samih Rashid Osseiran, Adel Osseiran and Ali Adel Osseiran), religion (e.g., Sheikh Mohamad Osseiran) and (Father Afif Osseiran), medicine, such as Dr. Sharif Osseiran and Dr. Fouad Osseiran—both Ministers of Public Health in Iraq and in Lebanon, respectively. Other Osseirans distinguished themselves in law, journalism (e.g. Zouhair Osseiran), literature (e.g. Leila Osseiran Hafez), art (e.g. Samia Osseiran Joumblatt), as well as many other disciplines. Today, prominent Osseirans figure not only in Lebanon but in many other countries as well.

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