The War’s Fronts

Some Lebanese citizens still recall the intimate experiences they had with the country’s civil war with a sense of irony and jest. Among such stories is the ironic yet true fact that many Lebanese could set their watches according to the regular rounds of bombardment and gunfire. During the war, some zones became such “habitual” fronts that media coverage of the developments in those locations became an essential yet repetitive part of the daily news bulletins.

Those habitual fronts have since combined to form a grey image of the civil war in which lazy fighters would shoot at each other indiscriminately from behind sturdy barricades. Interestingly, some of those fronts have come to symbolize the stale relations between different groups of Lebanese. In contrast to those habitual areas of conflict, many other zones were far more decisive in nature—more black-and-white than grey. This distinction was achieved when one party pushed an enemy back far enough to move the lines of fire or routed the enemy completely, thus erasing the previous skirmish line.

Still, the categories of “fronts” in the Lebanese wars include more descriptions than habitual and decisive. After all, the various episodes of the conflict, particularly those that were especially brief, gave rise to several more types of “demarcation lines.” Further, such fronts cannot tell a complete story when reviewed quantitatively or framed via time- and place-mapping efforts. In the final analysis, these examples of no-man’s-land can offer useful insight into the association (and disassociation) among the Lebanese, and more specifically about missing persons, mass graves, inter-front trade and numerous other issues

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.