The War Revisited
 The Ain al-Rummaneh Bus, star of April 13th catalyst for the Civil War, was also the principal of the exposition organized by UMAM Documentation and Research in April 2011 of a collection of paintings in the “real” bus, signed by Hossam Bakala.

On April 15, 1976, an-Nahar newspaper ended its daily security report with the following statement: “It is worth noting that yesterday was the first anniversary of the ‘Ain al-Rummaneh massacre.’” Simply put, despite the widespread combat, death, kidnapping, destruction and truces Lebanon had experienced during the preceding year, April 13 was still not “qualified” to mark the day the war began. Moreover, the deadly events of that year had still not convinced the Lebanese that the deteriorating situation around them indeed amounted to war. Ultimately, that hesitance is neither surprising nor condemnable. Since tradition generally holds that unless one political entity declares war against another, the term “war” seems not to apply, particularly when conflicts occur among a nation’s “civil” groups that are, theoretically, subordinate to a single, higher political authority.

In that sense, a war between two entities that neither share the same interests and ideologies nor reside in the same geographic space might seem more “logical” or intellectually conceivable than one involving groups that reside in the same country and share—at least in principle—the same interests. This latter condition helps explain why the Lebanese needed so much time to accept the fact that the term “war” was an accurate description of affairs at home. Similarly, quite some time had to pass before the Lebanese began to situate the conflict between the two mileposts of the war’s beginning and its end.

Considering that background, the following question must be asked: Is April 13 somewhat fallacious in terms of representing the bona fide start of Lebanon’s consecutive wars? After all, the war was certainly circuitous in nature and witnessed the entry and exit of many different “players” over long and short periods of time. But it is precisely those properties that combine to make April 13 an exceptionally distinct day in the annals of Lebanese history. For instance, if that date should fail to identify the real beginning of the war, then the thousands of pages written by historians about the war’s genesis would be worthless. But that logic poses no challenge to the efforts being taken by certain Lebanese to accept April 13 as the date that separated two periods in Lebanese history and in their lives. By default, then, April 13, 1975 is indeed remembered as the day the war began. But while all Lebanese can recall the moment they heard about the events of that dark day and now see it as the date the civil war began, no such date can be cited as the day the war ended.

This section of Memory at Work is divided into three areas. The first examines April 13 as a date independent of any others during the war. The second section addresses the war in general. Finally, the third area focuses on several dates that made the greatest impact on Lebanon’s failed “civil peace,” even though very few Lebanese are aware of them. This third section is probably the most meaningful to those interested in tracing the memories that are so deeply embedded in the Lebanese psyche.

The organization, its activities and its vision for Lebanon
Acknowledging Lebanon’s past demands that historical evidence and artifacts be collected, protected and publicized. Using a variety of tools, UMAM D&R examines Lebanon’s past to contribute  to the ongoing debate about its collective memory.