Pierre Gemayel, the anti-Syrian politician shot dead in Beirut today, came from one of Lebanon's most prominent political dynasties.
His grandfather - also called Pierre - founded the Phalange party, a Christian Maronite paramilitary youth organisation modelled on the fascist organisations he observed while in Berlin as an Olympic athlete in 1936.
During the 1975 Lebanese civil war, the Phalange party was the most formidable force within the Christian camp.
Its militia shouldered the brunt of the fighting against the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) and, as part of the Lebanese Front - the mostly Christian, rightist coalition - the power of the Gemayel family increased considerably.The Phalange were also the name of Franco's Fascists during the Spanish Civil War.
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