To the Death
A Survey of the Continuing Experiences Among Fighters from Lebanon's Civil Wars
بالرّوح بالدَّم...

دراسة إحصائيَّة في أحوال عَيِّنَة من مُقاتلي «الحَرْب»
© 2009/2010 UMAM D&R
Arabic with an English abstract

While working on the What Is to Be Done? Lebanon's War Loaded Memory initiative, UMAM D&R noticed a gap in the literature, analysis, and commentary focusing on the war. Much had been written and produced about the war's social-political dimension, of its sectarian massacres, and its connections to regional actors, but what about the participants of the war, the Lebanese who took up arms against their neighbors and fellow citizens? The literature was remarkably sparse.

In 2010, UMAM D&R produced "To the Death: A survey of the continuing experiences among fighters from Lebanon's Civil Wars" to fill in these holes and provide a balance to the macro-level view that seemed to dominate civil war related conversations. Partnering with a specialized research firm, UMAM D&R sent surveyors around the country to gain insight into the attitudes and decision making of Lebanon's civil war veterans.

Perhaps the most difficult part of this process – simply convincing the former fighters to partake in the survey – was also the most illuminating. Between amnesty laws, the passage of time, and anonymity, personal safety was not an issue, so what might have led towards apprehension in participating? The survey would likely bring back a flood of unpleasant, difficult memories and dissolve self-imposed amnesia. However, painful as the survey process might be for some, these individual sentiments and attitudes are crucial in understanding the war, and consequently understanding some of the problems facing Lebanon today. Regardless of one's participation in the conflict, the Lebanese must collectively face the civil war period and deal with its consequences, large and small.

This publication was made possible thanks to funding from the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (ifa).