An extremely deadly struggle that lasted from 1975 to 1990 and caused a great deal of death and enormous destruction. During the Lebanese Civil War, my grandfather, Ali, lived in Beirut with his family. He was a shopkeeper, running a small grocery store that had been in the family for generations. As the conflict escalated, tensions grew, and it became increasingly dangerous to navigate the city streets.
One day, as gunfire echoed through the neighborhood, Ali received a distressing call from his sister, Layla. She lived in a different part of the city and was stranded without food or supplies. Ali couldn’t bear the thought of his sister and her children going hungry, so he made a courageous decision.
Risking his life, Ali ventured out into the war-torn streets of Beirut, determined to reach Layla and deliver the much-needed provisions. The journey was treacherous, with rubble blocking the roads and the constant threat of snipers. Ali moved cautiously, darting from one sheltered area to another, praying for his safety. After what felt like an eternity, Ali finally reached his sister’s neighborhood.
He navigated the maze of destroyed buildings, eventually finding Layla’s apartment. The relief in her eyes when she opened the door was immeasurable. She hugged him tightly, tears streaming down her face, grateful for his bravery. Together, they distributed the supplies to their neighbors, bringing a glimmer of hope in the midst of despair. Ali’s act of selflessness inspired others to band together, forming a network of support amidst the chaos of war.
Despite the dangers and uncertainties, people found solace in the unity that emerged from their shared struggle. Ali continued to make perilous journeys to deliver essential goods to those in need throughout the war. His commitment to helping others, even in the face of grave danger, left a lasting impact on his family and the community.
The Lebanese Civil War was a conflict that lasted from 1975 to 1990 and had a profound impact on the country and its people. Lebanon was a prosperous and cosmopolitan country before the start of the civil war in 1975. Beirut, the capital city, was known as the “Paris of the Middle East” and was a hub of culture, trade, and tourism. However, the war had a devastating impact on the country’s economy, infrastructure, and social fabric.
The conflict led to the destruction of much of the country’s infrastructure, including roads, buildings, and public services. The war also caused widespread displacement and migration, with many Lebanese fleeing the country in search of safety and stability. Despite efforts to rebuild and recover in the years since the war ended, Lebanon continues to face significant challenges related to political instability, sectarian tensions, and economic hardship.
Civil War in Lebanon
According to “Alnahar” newspaper the author discusses what happened in Lebanon before and after the civil war. After the civil war following Alexander’s demise, the area was incorporated into the Seleucid Empire and was given the name Coele-Syria. While after the civil war a statute of amnesty that absolved all political offenses committed before it was enacted was passed by the Lebanese parliament in March 1991. With the exception of Hezbollah, all of Lebanon’s militias were disbanded in May 1991, and the Lebanese Armed Forces, the country’s sole significant non-sectarian institution, started to gradually reassemble. (Lebanon after the Civil War: Peace or the Illusion of Peace? Faten Ghosn and Amal Khoury).
Al-Harb al-Ahliyah al-Libnāniyyah newspaper traces the history of Lebanon in the months leading up to and during the battle, the diversity of the Lebanese people was clear: Sunni Muslims and Christians controlled the coastal towns, Shia Muslims were concentrated in the south and the Beqaa Valley in the east, and Druze and Christians resided in the mountainous areas. As we all know that under the French mandate, Christians had many rights not available to Islam and because of that the nation’s significant Muslim population, however, as well as various pan-Arabist and left-wing organizations, were opposed to the Christian-dominated, pro-Western government. Al-Harb al-Ahliyah al-Libnāniyyah newspaper gives the reader the sense of injustice of the civil war in that time and how Muslims were being arrested and abused not having their bare minimum rights with respect to Christians. This Is What Beirut Was Like Before the War .
The social news writer Ranim Salman posted what was Beirut Like Before the War, as we can observe and return to Lebanon’s pre-Civil War past anytime, we wish for its enjoyable memories. During this tranquil time, considerable improvements were made in the fields of agriculture, tourism, business, and finance.
Many of us have memories of that time because we experienced it firsthand, but many more of us who were born after the war and before it did not get to experience Lebanon, particularly our beloved capital Beirut. The Lebanese capital developed into a popular tourist destination and such a renowned hub of dynamic social, cultural, and artistic life following the French Mandate after World War II that it was dubbed the “Paris of the Middle East.”
In the 1950s, Beirut started to enter its golden period. For twenty years, our capital served as a center for local and foreign finance, as well as for instruction, correspondence, shipping, and transportation. This gives us the idea of how our country was before the civil war came to destroy it and that really a tragedy to Lebanese people, the situation is getting worse, and we have nothing to do.
Gordon N. Converse/The Christian Science Monit describes the situation in Beirut in his on way as he said:
A couple is seen standing on a natural rock arch in Beirut, Lebanon, around the year 1974 while looking out at the city’s buildings. Located in the center of the country’s Mediterranean coast, Beirut is currently its most prosperous port, a vital economic hub, and the capital. Lebanon had a long history of serving as a commercial center.
Capturing the Complexity of Lebanon’s Civil War and Its Legacies
In 2021 Najib Hourani gave us an idea about how was the Lebanese civil war frequently portrayed in American media as having been sparked by ancient religious animosities, and human misery was seen through the prism of foreign policy. The complexity of a multi-layered succession of local disputes, including its roots in a political economy typified by severe social and geographic inequality, was buried under the focus on spectacular events, sensational imagery, and the words of self-appointed sectarian leaders, on the other hand, has served as a potent counterbalance to mainstream reporting and analysis by its dedication to highlighting local social conflicts and their connections to the global political economy as well as through sensitivity to historical context. The resulting archive is still a useful tool for researchers studying the region and Lebanon. This can tell us how the foreign community was seeing the civil war in Lebanon.
Primary objective of the study is to determine the negative impact of civil war on people in that time on the psychological and emotional level.
Research Approach & Tools:
A qualitative cross-sectional study was applied to address the research question. Data was gathered via face-to-face semi-structured interviews with adult people who were living through the civil war conducted in Arabic. Transcripts were translated to English before the data analysis.
Interviews start with general questions (what year the civil war was, how was Lebanon in that time, did someone offered you help). Participants were then invited to share their personal experience and how was saving the lives be like through open ended questions about their experiences, emotions and effects of civil war on their health (physical, mental) and what were they facing from poor, scare and violence.
1. How did the civil war affect people at the times of Civil War?
2. How old were you at that time?
3. Were you living in Lebanon during the civil war?
4. Did you lose someone dear to you in the war?
5. Have you been injured?
6. How did the war affect the media?
7. Did you take up arms?
8. Have you been forced to flee your home?
9. Was your house bombed during the war?
10. Was food cut off at that time?
11. Do the schools remain open?
12. Were the violent clashes in the mountains or in Beirut?
13. Was the Beirut port closed at that time?
14. Was work at Lebanon airport closed or suspended at the time?
15. Were the shelters available to receive the people?
All participants unanimously agreed that the civil war was very harsh on Lebanon, destroyed its economy and lands, and led to the displacement of residents from their lands and regions for fear of injury and death.
70% of the participants were between 15 and 20 years old at the time, and 30% of the participants were between 20 and 25 years old. 20% were traveling abroad and 80% were living in the country. All participants lost their loved ones and relatives in the war, and this was a sensitive question for them. A man told us about his sad story of loosing his wife and kids in front of his eyes when the explosion occurred and so far he hasn’t gotten over the shock so we’ve had some trouble talking about these sensitive topics.
50% who were men, were injured and they began to detect the trace of bullets in their bodies for now and the remaining 30% were hidden in shelters. Everyone agreed that the media was severely persecuted by the state at that time.
The participating men were forced to carry weapons at a young age, in addition to the women who were forced to protect their homes and carry weapons for defense, 60% were forced to leave their homes and flee, and some of them were forced to join the ranks of the fighting and the army.
Some of them had their homes completely blown up and their homes were exposed to some particles. Food supplies were cut off from some besieged areas only, but aid was arriving.
All schools in the besieged areas have been closed for the safety of students because it was a Christian attack on the Druze in the mountain, so the violent clashes were in the mountains, not the city. The port was closed because work was suspended, especially in commercial activities inside and outside Lebanon.
The airport lost its status as one of the premier hubs of the Middle East with the start of the 15-year-long Lebanese Civil War in April 1975 and lost virtually all of its airline services with the exception of two Lebanese carriers, Middle East Airlines and Trans Mediterranean Airways. All the participants unanimously agreed that the shelters were available and ready to receive the residents and provide them with protection, but some people did not accept to leave their homes.
A touching sentence was said by a woman: *I was actually lost in Beirut on the way home” and that was really sensitive story, she was talking about her kids shouting for her and crying when hiring the bombs and she can do nothing for them!!
What can learn from the Civil War? What is the message?
The Lebanese people voted this time for change, so they are not satisfied by the actual situation. They want to see a new government. They want to see a new vision. “Rafik hariri” , so as we can see people in that time were fighting for change, they don’t want to see their country back and deteriorated, so the message from the civil war is to turn Lebanon to our dream country.
The diversity of the Lebanese population . A Literature review. The Taif Agreement of 1989, 13 April 1975 – 13 October 1990
lebanon after the civil war – (n.d.). https://www.google.com/search?q=lebanon%20after%20the%20civil%20war&tbm=
Salman, R. (2022). This Is What Beirut Was Like Before The War. 961. https://www.the961.com/this-is-what-beirut-was-like-before-the-war/
Woodward, M. (2021, October 6). Capturing the complexity of Lebanon’s civil war and its legacies – MERIP. MERIP. https://merip.org/2021/10/capturing-the-complexity-of-lebanons-civil-war-and-its-legacies/