Julia Makarem, a first generation Druze American, has always been proud to be a Druze and to promote her faith. Those first Druze immigrants landed on the North American shores during the early turn of the 20th century, and they, as Julia's parents did, instilled in their American born children the pride and joy of being a Druze. To understand the Druze Faith has always been a goal to Julie Makarem. She has written extensively on the culture, as well as the heritage of the Druze. Her latest accomplishment is this invaluable website, www.americandruzeheritage.com. She is among the first to research the history, culture, and perceptions of the Druze in English and put it all in one succinct and user-friendly source that is accessible to whoever is interested to know more about the people who belong to this mystical faith.
What prompted Julia to start her endeavor, and thereafter, made her main purpose in researching and writing is twofold. First when she arrived in Lebanon as a young bride, she realized she was lacking almost all knowledge regarding her people; and soon after, she also realized that the Lebanese Druze themselves knew even less. Thus, she set to work on her goal of making available to the Druze, as well as the non Druze, a website in English to answer questions most usually asked about the culture and the heritage of the Druze. Thus: www.americandruzeheritage.com!
Julie, an American born, has always been interested in her Druze heritage, so it was only natural that she would marry a Druze and live in Lebanon. She and her husband went to Lebanon after they were married and settled in Beirut, as well as their village, Aytat. They arrived in 1963. The memories of those first years living in Lebanon are "treasured memories," and she, like so many others, have called those years "Lebanon's golden years."
She and her husband, Dr. Sami Makarem, and their two daughters, Sahar and Rand, were living a life of peace and tranquility and enjoying Lebanon, as every national, as well as foreign resident was. Then, after four years of living a wonderful life in a wonderful country, there was a horrible change that disrupted the entire Middle East. Julie tells her story of what happened in Lebanon after the Arab Israeli War broke out in 1967.
I would like to recount an experience that will traumatize me the rest of my life. The experience is the result of one of the frequent political disputes in the Arab World. I feel that it is pertinent to tell this story; first, the American irony of a Lebanese American, and second, the American, as well as the Lebanese scenes that were so much alike.
The time is now August 14, 2006. The Lebanese Hizabollah War with Israel which began July 12, 2006 ended today. Around twenty-five thousand Americans evacuated, first to Cyprus, and then to Germany and on to the United States in the early days of the War. My daughter and her husband and two sons were among the evacuees. They told me the trip took a total of five days. They were exhausted when they arrived home; however, the entire trip had all been planned and prepared by the American government. I, on the other hand, did not have the luxury of getting assistance from anyone other than to the first leg of my trip, Beirut to Athens.I had evacuated from Beirut in June 1967 because of the Arab Israel six day war. From Athens on, I was on my own with two little girls ages three and four. Here is my story; I have named it "Traumatism."
Walid Jumblat took this picture of me while he was a student at the American University of Beirut. Sami, my husband, was regularly visiting Kamal Jumblat in Mukhtara during the time Kamal Beik Jumblat was writing the
introduction for Dr Sami Makarem's book, Lights on the Druze Faith.
I would often sit and chat with Walid Beik Jumblat while I was waiting for
my husband and Kamal Beik to complete their work on my husband's book.
During that period, we usually drove up to the Castle in Mukhtara once a