What Is To Be Done?
Lebanon's War-Loaded Memory
ما العمل؟

لبنان وذاكرته حمّالة الحروب
2008 - 2009
Supported by Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (ifa)

When Lebanon's civil war period came to an end after 15 years of immense death, destruction, and division, the country was ready to start anew. To help usher in the post-war era and leave its painful memories in the past, a general amnesty law was passed and those who participated in and orchestrated the countless atrocities were summarily forgiven. In essence, Lebanon shrouded itself in a nationwide amnesia under the false notion that forgetting the past would help propel the country towards lasting peace. As Lebanon sputtered forward, however, it soon became apparent that the national approach of avoiding future conflict by forgetting previous wars was not practical.

As UMAM D&R took stock of the social-political landscape in the years after the monumental killing of former prime minister and business magnate Rafic Hariri, it saw a need to recolor Lebanon's whitewashed history and confront the painful and divisive memories of the civil war. The country was understandably loath to reflect upon this difficult period out of a fear that a new conflict might emerge, but to some in Lebanese civil society, future instability was all but guaranteed unless an accounting of Lebanon's history was conducted.