April 13, 1975 is officially the date when the Lebanese civil war began. It lasted for 15 years and it officially ended in 1990 after the Taif agreement. More than 150,000 died and hundreds of thousands were injured or displaced. Almost every Lebanese was affected in one way or another. Local groups and organizations commemorate this date with activities that remind everyone of the catastrophe of war with the hope that such activities will prevent its repetition. These activities may be of great significance today since the tensions and bickering among Lebanese political groups are reaching heights similar to those reached in the pre-civil war years during the seventies.
Following is a selection of some blog post that mentioned and discussed this topic.
In this post, Blacksmith Jade mentions an interview with three current leaders who were also militia leaders during the civil war. The paper interviewed them about their regrets and/or apologies for their actions during the war. Besides the defensive tone in their replies, their answers are interesting and may give a clue of what to expect in the near future.
Sietske In Beiroet mentions and posts one of the leaflets dropped over Beirut by a group calling themselves “Lebanese Women for Civil Peace”. The leaflets call on the women to play a role to stop the re-emergence of violence. She also points out the name that Lebanese give to the civil war:
The Lebanese, when talking in Arabic, refer to it as ‘the events’. That phrase ‘civil war’ was coined by the west. There might be war in one part of town, but in the other part of town life went on as usual.
In this article, which discusses some of the reasons that cause civil wars, Courtney C. Radsch discusses the Lebanese civil war and calls on the leaders to work on preventing another one from taking place:
Today, Friday the 13th, marks the 32nd anniversary of the beginning of Lebanon’s bloody civil war, the day that sealed its future not as the Paris of the Middle East but as the war-torn emblem of sectarian violence and destruction. Today should be a day for the politicians in Washington as well as Lebanon to reflect on the causes and effects of the civil war and to try to learn from history in order to prevent another war from breaking out in the currently tense political environment as well as keeping the civil war in Iraq from lasting as long as Lebanon’s.
Skylark posts a poem (Ar) in which he admonishes people to think hard before taking up arms. He also posts pictures of Beirut during the civil war with links to where more pictures may be found.
M Barbay posts a 14 minutes video which claims to capture the past 30 years of Lebanese history with the aim of finding a way to end the template of random repeats of wars.
And here is a different perspective on the war from Angry Anarchist. After pointing out that
On the 32nd anniversary of the eruption of the civil war, virtually all the war criminals, all the fighters, all the butchers, are on the loose. And what is worse, many of them preside over political parties, and hold political office.
She goes on to state that
The mythology of the civil war needs to be destroyed. Not dismantled, but destroyed. There are those who insist, despite what experience has shown, that pampering will lead to the dismantlement of this mythology. That merely “encouraging” people to discuss the civil war is enough to actually get them to do it, and do it in a way that would be more than merely parroting the official version approved by the sect’s self-appointed leader(s).
Finally MFL writes an article which he describes as a summary of a summary of some factors that lead to the breaking out of a civil war, including the Lebanese civil war or the “events” as some in Lebanon like to call them.
This post was also published on Global Voices Online.
BTW, check out GVO’s new layout.