|A civil war relic; one of the few still standing|
You do not see them that often anymore. They’ve become quite rare lately; the civil war buildings. The shell shattered façade sporting the well-known star-rays pattern of exploding RPG’s, They’re bullet ridden, the targeted victims of snipers, or just accidental victims in the cross-fire, and patched up by a criss-cross work of bricks..
|The star sprayed pattern, result of a shell impact, and patched up again|
Most of the buildings that were heavily damaged, especially those along the former green line, have been either leveled, or renovated. Bullet holes have been closed up, and a layer of plaster cover whatever traces were left of a sad past. I find it a pity, because with those buildings, all outward traces of the civil war are slowly disappearing. I am sure that most Lebanese are happy about that; many do not see the necessity of constantly being reminded of a dark past. But those born after 1985 do not really have a vivid memory of this sad, yet immensely intriguing past. Just like Vietnam was the first televised war, Beirut was the first televised civil war.
Here’s a quote from an article that appeared some years ago: ‘Sociologists and historians have observed that many Lebanese have a tendency, at least on the surface, to try to leave the war behind them and simply move on with their lives. The fact that high school history textbooks still fail to address the civil war is just one example of how greater Lebanese society has tried to forget the past.’ (source)
When I just moved to Lebanon, the place was full of these buildings. One particular part was my favorite; the drive along the Green Line, especially that stretch of road between Tayouneh and the Damascus Road, between the christian neighborhood of Ain el Roummeneh, and the muslim populated Shiyah. That was a kilometer long alleyway flanked on both sides by stone skeletons. House after house, building after building, all the cement had been totally eroded away by years and years of bullet hail. Not one single house was intact. In the very beginning there were still the sandbags. Here's a visual of thet Green Line.
|The staircase (Definitely not to heaven)|
The old Barakat building at Sodeco, in a state of constant cultivated disrepair
But I always thought those buildings were beautiful. Perfect memorials, created by the people, not artists. They have something magical. Memories of a not so distant past really. And so when I saw this building (top one) while driving through Badaro, I 'shot' it. For old times sake.