April 13th marks the anniversary of the Lebanese Civil War.
On this day, most Lebanese repeat the phrase: “let it be remembered but not repeated”.
As part of my understanding of that phrase, I decided to write up one one of the civil war incidents that touched my family deeply. My uncle was shot and his cousin killed on the same day, April 2nd.
I wrote the story in three parts. And I hoped that they would show what one Lebanese family went through on one one day of the war that lasted for over 15 years. I did not mention extra details about the political parties involved in my story: who was bombing, who was defending… because I wanted to show the Civil War as not a period where some people were right and others were wrong. It’s a period where the Lebanese person, as a whole, got hurt, deeply. It’s a period where Lebanese families were torn and the country was ruined – regardless of religion and sect and political affiliation. You can read the story here: part 1, part 2 and part 3.
Today marks the 36th anniversary for the civil war, which started on April 13th 1975 with the Ain Remmaneh Bus incident. Some people actually believe the bus incident was the main cause for the war. But that is not true. If anything that incident was only the face of a much deeper divide on a country that praises itself for its richness and diversity.
I have not lived through the civil war. So my personal understanding of whatever took place is rather limited. Nor do I want to know too much because well, it is time that we, as a society, move forward from the wounds caused by that era.
The civil war caused the death of over 100,000 people, wounded over 300,000. 30,000 went missing and 90,000 got handicapped. Beirut, formally known as the Paris Of The East, was left in a pile of rubble. The country was more divided than ever. Our politicians tried to stitch whatever was left together with the Taef Agreement but they’re not surgeons – the stitches were as imperfect as imperfect goes and we’re still living with the ramifications of it today.
The Lebanese Civil War might have ended in the sense that people are not killing each other in a flagrant way (but they’re still killing each other whenever they feel remotely threatened). But the Lebanese Civil War is an ongoing process. To say it has ended would be lying to oneself. The war we are living through today is one of words, not weapons. It’s one of political fire, not literal fire, which burned down whole buildings.
It has been thirty six years and we still haven’t learned how to live in our country. It’s our mistake. We can’t blame anyone else. Our divisions today are more serious than ever. Many people are already talking about looming conflicts as if it’s a given, as if it’s a “fun” thing to go through.
Yes, we haven’t learned. And at this rate, we will never do. “Let it be remembered but not repeated”… and pigs fly?