Ketermaya: Two Crimes and More
Reading the (Lebanese) Book of Banal Horror
كترمايا: عن جريمتين وأكثر

مُطالعات في كتاب الفظاعة (اللبنانيَّة) العادية
© 2011 UMAM D&R
Arabic with an English abstract

In a country like Lebanon, with its painful war memories and tenuous peace derived from a series of half-measures, seemingly random acts of violence sometimes command public attention and create momentary pause. In other countries these events would exit the news cycle as quickly as they entered, however, in Lebanon the opposite is true. Hence, after a series of killings in the Chouf village of Ketermaya in May 2010, UMAM D&R felt the crimes, and their coverage in Lebanon's patchwork of newspapers and media outlets deserved further study.

As part of its "Random Acts of Violence vs. Civil Peace" series, UMAM D&R produced a report, "Ketermaya: Two Crimes and More," about the sequence of killings that took place and analyzed media narratives and reporting. The crimes made particular waves in Lebanese society given their brutality: a set of grandparents and their two young granddaughters were killed by a man who was himself killed the following day by a street mob. Already grisly enough, the affair takes on another dimension when looking at the way the villagers issued their own version of "justice" and how his corpse was publicly displayed.

The Ketermaya killings, unique as they might be, fit into a larger puzzle of Lebanese peace and instability and usher in fears of a possible meltdown. As with previous large-scale conflicts in Lebanon, all it takes is one seemingly random act of violence to plunge the country into chaos.

This publication is part of the Memories of the Past, Tools for the Present initiative and was made possible thanks to funding from the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (ifa).