April 13, 2015

Like Nothing Ever Happened

Ramlet el Baida, Beirut

Today marks the day that the Lebanese civil war - 40 years ago - officially started. It had been in the making well before that day, but April 13, 1975 is when it all went horribly wrong, with a bus in Ain el Remmeneh. The rest is history.
150,000 dead and some 17,000 ‘disappeared’. A city in shambles, a country in a mess. Sect that do not communicate with one another. Nothing much has changed since then, except for the fact that we’re not shooting one another.

How did we commemorate it? Not.

Pretty much how we deal with all problems in this society. Not.

I went walking the dogs on the beach with my daughter. She does not know that today is that day. She does not even learn about the civil war at school. It’s not in the program, since the forces that may be haven’t figured out yet how to explain what happened without starting a new war. And so 40 years later we walk on the beach as if nothing happened.  An era like that just disappears and is forgotten if the young do not hear or read about it. Maybe it is better that way, you don't learn from history anyway, it repeats itself anyway.

The beach was full of Syrian refugees, who are escaping the density of the Palestinian camps, where many have now found shelter, to enjoy a breather on the beach, and who probably have no idea how much longer their civil war is going to last (and whether it really is civil). They have already lost more people in 3 years than we did in 15 years of conflict. For those living in the west, you have no understanding of what misery really is. Neither do I really. I was from after the war and so is my daughter's generation.
It is sad that such an important day just passes by like that. Like nothing ever happened.


Here is a day-by-day event web site, and this one explains through wiki leak cables how it was perceived by outsiders. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There could never be any commemoration as long as the war is not really over. Maybe bombs are not falling anymore but it's a cold war at its best.
We would be living on lala land if we think that the Lebanon of the 60s' could happen again. When something is broken it can never be fixed the way it was before.
It is time to acknowledge that Lebanon as created by the French FAILED as a country. And time to think of new alternatives. We are no better than what was Yugoslavia or Czechoslovakia. We should accept the same destiny as those countries...