Lebanon, a Shattered Country: Myths and Realites of the Wars in Lebanon

Lebanon, a Shattered Country: Myths and Realites of the Wars in Lebanon

Lebanon, a Shattered Country: Myths and Realites of the Wars in Lebanon

Lebanon, a Shattered Country: Myths and Realites of the Wars in Lebanon

Synopsis

Formerly a bridge between the Middle East and the West, a meeting ground between Islam and Christianity, the civil war in 1975 transformed Lebanon into a combat zone where every ethnic, religious and political rivalry was accentuated.

Excerpt

A short while ago Lebanon seemed nearby, a familiar and attractive country enjoying an exceptionally positive image in the West. Today it has come to stand for desolation, a hostile universe painfully conjuring up the deaths of thousands of civilians, and the intolerable disappearance of close friends. It is therefore very tempting to claim that we now have nothing in common with it, admitting that from crisis to battle, from murder to assassination attempt, hemmed in by the cynical lusts of its neighbors, Lebanon has exhausted our understanding and solidarity.

Alas, this Lebanon has remained as close to us as the Lebanon of light. In our global village, wasn't the massive stock of arms of the local militiamen expending thousands of cartridges on the concrete walls of an abandoned apartment building a miniature image of the nuclear force capable of destroying our planet dozens of times over? Didn't the ceaseless inflow of weaponry making for the conflict's indefinite prolongation reflect the logic of arms production and sales which the Western powers claim indispensable to their economic recovery? Wasn't the scandalous wealth of the "warlords" and the speculators betting on the collapse of the Lebanese pound a caricature of the universal domination of the logic of finance? In Lebanon, terrorists kidnapped and murdered civilians; elsewhere, democratic governments ordered the bombing of a capital with the avowed intention of "bringing down" an enemy head of state. Weren't battles between militias, the self-defense of communities, the rejection of equality, contempt for the rule of law in this tiny country just so many guises of the intolerance and exclusion poisoning our world in the name of religions, identities, and ideologies, that all have in common the rigidity of their certitudes and fear of and exclusion of the Other?

We were more and more tempted to forget Lebanon as, one by one, foreign interventions failed, costly for the reckless who risked themselves and mostly calamitous for the populations subjected to them. France in particular has had the bitter experience: well-intentioned interventions through its role in the Multinational Force under the aegis of the United States, its air attacks in the Bekaa and the frustrating mission of the United Nations troops in southern Lebanon. Western policy failed, trapped in conflicting loyalties . . .

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