Universal Syriac Union Party: the Syriac language should be recognized as a national language of Lebanon

BEIRUT/ZAHLE – The Universal Syriac Union Party (USUP) in Lebanon calls for the Syriac language to be recognized as a national language in Lebanon. Official recognition would do right to the Syriac language representing Lebanese national identity, history and culture.

USUP Vice-President Laila Latte made the call on the occasion of International Mother Language Day in an interview with Lebanese TV channel MTV. In an answer to the question what International Mother Language Day means for her, Latte answered;

“The day-to-day Lebanese we speak, is very much related to and influenced by classical Syriac language. Colloquial Lebanese is not, as many think, a dialect of Arabic but much more related to and derived from classical Syriac.”

“That is why on the occasion of International Mother Language Day the Universal Syriac Union Party, appeals to the Lebanese government and people to officially recognize Syriac as a national language of our country.”

Latte further emphasized that for the Syriac people their native language is not Arabic but Syriac, and that official recognition means accepting Lebanon as a multi-cultural and multi-ethnic country. For USUP’s Vice-President it is evident that Lebanese colloquial vocabulary and proverbs are very much from the Syriac language;

“Our Lebanese poetry called Zajal is almost entirely based on Syriac. Our proverbs and idioms are Syriac and our folklore dance and music is Syriac.”

USUP partner Syriac Maronite Union-Tur Levnon, an organization that advocates and promotes the Syriac language in Lebanon, carries the same message; to return to the original Syriac Maronite identity and native Syriac language.

Tur Levnon provides its own language lessons as shown in the MTV report below.