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Memorials and Martyrs in Modern Lebanon

Lucia Volk

Publication Year: 2010

Lebanese history is often associated with sectarianism and hostility between religious communities, but by examining public memorials and historical accounts Lucia Volk finds evidence for a sustained politics of Muslim and Christian co-existence. Lebanese Muslim and Christian civilians were jointly commemorated as martyrs for the nation after various episodes of violence in Lebanese history. Sites of memory sponsored by Maronite, Sunni, Shiite, and Druze elites have shared the goal of creating cross-community solidarity by honoring the joint sacrifice of civilians of different religious communities. This compelling and lucid study enhances our understanding of culture and politics in the Middle East and the politics of memory in situations of ongoing conflict.

Published by: Indiana University Press

Series: Public Cultures of the Middle East and North Africa


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pp. 1-7


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pp. vii-viii

List of Illustrations

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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xiv

Although I visited the village of Qana in South Lebanon for the first time in April 1998, I did not begin the research for this book until after my appointment as Assistant Professor at San Francisco State University (SFSU) in 2003. ...

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Note on Transliteration of Arabic

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pp. xv-xviii

Throughout the book I use a simplified version of the International Journal of Middle East Studies (IJMES) transliteration guidelines. I use the diacritic ’ for the glottal stop hamza and ‘ for the consonant ayn. Following the example of Lara Deeb (2006), I preserve phonemic differences between Modern Standard Arabic in written sources and the Lebanese dialect used in conversations. ...

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pp. 1-16

On a morning in February 2005 I walked into the lobby of the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown University and came to an abrupt halt in front of a television screen. Former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri had just been assassinated, ...

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ONE The Politics of Memory in Lebanon: Sectarianism, Memorials, and Martyrdom

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pp. 17-38

In the Middle East, as elsewhere, governments and political elites have engaged in politics of memory in an attempt to take firm control of putative ancestors or origins that would help narrate, imagine, and legitimate the nation-state. National identities—defined as both stories and sentiments about “who we are” ...

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TWO Sculpting Independence: Competing Ceremonies and Mutilated Faces (1915–1957)

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pp. 39-77

“Il n’existe pas, madame. Ne perdez pas votre temps. Il n’existe pas!” exclaimed a man who identified himself as a descendant of Emir Fakhr ad- Din Maan in the Esquire Bookshop in Beirut’s Hamra shopping district.1 I had walked into the store to buy a newspaper and had found the septuagenarian shop owner in conversation with two men who appeared to be regulars at his store. ...

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THREE Remembering Civil Wars: Fearless Faces and Wounded Bodies (1958–1995)

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pp. 78-114

In 1958 a series of events took place in Lebanon that are variously referred to as Crisis, Civil War, Insurrection, Sedition, Revolt, or Uprising.1 The perfect storm that brewed over Lebanon in 1958 was the result of several factors: the cold war competition between the United States and the Soviet Union jockeying for influence in the Arab world, ...

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FOUR Reconstructing while Re-destructing Lebanon: Dismembered Bodies and National Unity (1996–2003)

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pp. 115-153

In the early 1990s tourists began to flock back to the famed beaches and restaurants of Beirut, and downtown opened again for business amid redeveloped and upscale facades. In 1996 the famed Casino du Liban reopened its doors to throngs of elegant gamblers, and the Baalbek International Festival, ...

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FIVE Revisiting Independence and Mobilizing Resistance: Assassinations, Massacres, and Divided Memory-Scapes (2004–2006)

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pp. 154-188

On a Thursday morning, July 15, 2004, Abdel Monem Ariss, the mayor of Beirut, attended a public ceremony in Jounieh, a twenty-minute drive north of the capital. The previous Monday Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri had called him and requested that the restored Mazzacurati statues be brought back to Beirut ...

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SIX Memorial Politics and National Imaginings: Possibilities and Limits

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pp. 189-202

The preceding chapters presented historical and contemporary evidence of the efforts of various political and cultural elites in Lebanon to conduct a politics of memory that produces national solidarity after times of violence. My argument began with the assertion that Muslims and Christians share the symbol of martyrdom, as martyrs are central to both faiths. ...

APPENDIX Important Dates

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pp. 203-204


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pp. 205-230


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pp. 231-242


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pp. 243-250

E-ISBN-13: 9780253004925
E-ISBN-10: 0253004926
Print-ISBN-13: 9780253355232

Page Count: 272
Illustrations: 23 b&w illus., 1 map
Publication Year: 2010

Series Title: Public Cultures of the Middle East and North Africa