“Let it be remembered but not repeated” UNDP Supplement promoting collective memory of the civil war and reconciliation
Samira Fakhoury, 85 years old, came all the way from Hammana, Mount Lebanon to Beirut to participate in a discussion session around the 15th issue of the “Peace Building in Lebanon” news supplement. “I didn’t want to miss the chance of discussing my experience with young activists and prominent journalists. Such discussions make me feel young again” she said.
The discussion took place on April 19th, 2017 to debate over the topics issues related to civil war memory and civil peace mentioned in the supplement. Writers, journalists, activists and NGO and INGOs representatives discussed together the content of the supplement published on April 13th, funded by KfW and distributed with the An-Nahar newspaper in its Arabic version, with The Daily Star in English, and with L'Orient-Le Jour newspaper in French.
Samira, is one of the supplement’ participants and writers. She answered a call for stories posted on the UNDP Lebanon social media platforms in March 2017, and shared her personal story and her experience during the civil war. “Looking at my blank page, I wonder whether the war that has ravaged Lebanon since 1975 is really over. I wonder whether in our hearts we feel the calmness of peace” she mentioned in her article. Sitting next to Samira, Aicha Yakan, also a supplement’s participant, read the article she wrote in in the context of the call for stories. “I do not usually write colloquially… But the memories of the war took me back to the depths of my scattered childhood which I was not able to express in formal language” she said.
In addition to Samira and Aicha’ articles, UNDP published 6 other stories of people talking about an experience they had while running from a region to another; in the bunker or hiding at home. Stories from both Lebanese and Syrians showed how both have lived similar experiences, and draw similarities between human sufferings.
This supplement gathered many other interesting topics, such as mass graves, the referents of memory, transitional justice, the case of the disappeared and the missing and the role of culture during war. Participants in the session shared their comments and questions with the writers, and offered recommendations and suggestions for upcoming issues.
While many organizations commemorated the war in various ways this year, UNDP offered a platform for a debate on its repercussions, on remembering it through the eyes of those who experienced it and wrote about it.
To read the supplement, please visit: www.lb.undp.org/pbsupplement