Lebanon marks 100 years in turmoil

Video Credit: Reuters - Politics - Duration: 07:24s - Published
Lebanon marks 100 years in turmoil

Lebanon marks 100 years in turmoil

The deadly Beirut port blast on August 4 this year set the tone for a subdued 100 year anniversary for the state of Lebanon.

Megan Revell looks back at a century of hope and despair.

Greater Lebanon was established in September 1920 in a post-war redrawing of Middle Eastern borders.

[Assistant Professor Nadya Sbaiti from the American University of Beirut, saying:] "So, historians often locate the sort of problematic origins if you will to Lebanon's political system at various points some of them will point to 1920 and the construction of Greater Lebanon being carved in a particular way out of Syria." [Salah Tizani, one of Lebanon's first TV celebrities, saying:] "There were people who went to bed one day thinking they were Syrians or Ottomans, and the next day they woke up to find themselves in the Lebanese state.

They asked what was this?

A Lebanese state?

We don't want that." United on the surface, deep divisions rumbled below.

[Newsreel, reporter saying:] "Crowds in the streets of Beirut seem to be born on a wave of a cheerful enthusiasm which contrasts sadly with reports of riots in unrest in the Lebanese capital." [Assistant Professor Amine Elias from the Lebanese University, saying:] "In 1943, the Lebanese were convinced that they could be now an independent nation.

This is behind or this is the reason why they protested against the French mandate in the streets." [Newsreel, reporter saying:] "...Following the dispute that arose between the Lebanese government and the French committee of national liberation in Algiers.

The streets were deserted around the Lebanese parliament buildings, closed by order of the fighting French authorities.

A strong guard of French colonial troops was posted outside to quell possible disturbances.

Following the decree which made General (Charles) De Gaulle the sole political head of the fighting French empire, the Lebanon president and his government found themselves popped in jail." [Nayla Hamadeh, President of the Lebanese Association for History, saying:] "What happened in 1943 was that compromise where the Maronites accepted the Muslims as partners and that they will have also power especially the Sunnis, and the Sunnis especially the factions that were asking for going back to the idea of Syria and Lebanon - they accepted to follow the Riad al-Solh and this wave, this movement, that agreed to shake the hands of the Christians and to make a partnership." The post-independence years brought signs of promise.

[Hayyan Haidar is the son of government minister Salim Haidar, saying:] "In 1953, my father was an ambassador and he was called in 1952 to become a minister.

In 1953, he wrote the first anti-corruption law, 1953.

// I remember at the beginning of 1953 he activated the law with his government and the parliament of that time they issued the law to give women the right to vote and be elected." [Nadya Sbaiti, saying]: "The 1960s as a decade in Lebanese history is most often discussed or most famous for being termed the golden age of Lebanese history." [Nidal Al-Achkar, actor and director, saying]: "Beside people coming from the West, you had people coming from all over the Arab world, from Iraq, from Jordan, from Syria, from Palestine meeting in these cafes, living here, feeling free." [Nadya Sbaiti, saying]: "So, the other side of the 1960s is not just Hollywood actors and Baalbeck festivals, but includes guerrilla training in rural parts of the country." Lebanon was also suffering the aftershocks of Israel’s creation, which sent some 100,000 Palestinian refugees over the border.

In 1968, Israeli commandoes attacked Beirut airport, after an attack on an Israeli plane by a Lebanon-based Palestinian group.

Lebanon’s brewing troubles were also reflected in its art.

[Nidal Al-Achkar, actor and director, saying]: "In our activity as artists, as you know theater makers, all our plays were pointing to a catastrophe (...) We felt that it was coming the war." [Nadya Sbaiti, saying] "So, it is important to understand that for every time that we talk about Lebanon's golden age of the 1960s there are the rumblings underground about what would be the social and economic inequalities which would provide a fertile soil for the conflict in the 1970s for the Lebanese civil war in other words." Civil war began in 1975, initially between Christian militias and Palestinian groups and their Lebanese allies.

The United States, Russia and Syria were drawn in.

Israel invaded twice and occupied Beirut in 1982.

Hundreds of thousands of people were uprooted.

The guns fell silent in 1990… with some 150,000 dead.

[Nidal Al-Achkar, actor and director, saying]: "Why did this war happen?

What happened?

How are we going to start again?

We don't know.

We had this man coming from Saudi, to Syria, to Lebanon, and rebuilding Lebanon using the same people, the same warlords… the same… but they changed their costumes." In the post-war period, Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri took the lead in Beirut’s reconstruction.

[Newsreel, reporter saying:] "Throughout 15 years of civil war, Beirut conjured up images of destruction.

The center of the city, the frontline where Christian fought Muslim was reduced to rubble.

Now, three years after the war ended, Lebanon is about to start rebuilding the devastated centre.

// It's billed as the world's biggest urban redevelopment project of the 1990s." [Nayla Hamadeh, President of the Lebanese Association for History, saying:] "What happened is they imposed amnesia on us.

Prime Minister Hariri was one of those who advanced this idea: Let's not keep remembering.

Let's forget and move (on)." Old fault lines persisted and new ones emerged.

Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims fell out following the 2005 assassination of Hariri.

The last 15 years have been punctuated by political slayings… a war between Hezbollah and Israel … and a brush with civil conflict in 2008.

[Nidal Al-Achkar, actor and director, saying]: "You live between a war and another, and you rebuild and then everything is destroyed and then you rebuild again.

It is not fun, that is why I lost hope." On August 4, Beirut suffered its latest ordeal when a port explosion killed some 180 people, injured 6,000 and destroyed a swathe of the city.

It triggered new reflection on Lebanon’s troubled past and concerns for the future.

You Might Like

💡 One News Page Knowledge: Other News Mentions

Lebanon Lebanon Country in the Middle East

IMF: Nearly All Mideast Economies Hit By Pandemic Recession

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates: The coronavirus pandemic has pushed nearly all Mideast nations into the throes of an economic recession this year, yet some rebound..
Lebanon hyperinflation adds to economic crisis [Video]

Lebanon hyperinflation adds to economic crisis

Lebanese central bank's warning that subsidies may soon end has provoked a rush to stockpile essential goods.

Credit: Al Jazeera STUDIO    Duration: 02:42Published
Hundreds march in Lebanon to mark year of anti-gov’t protests [Video]

Hundreds march in Lebanon to mark year of anti-gov’t protests

Protesters mark the first anniversary of a non-sectarian protest movement that has rocked the political elite.

Credit: Al Jazeera STUDIO    Duration: 02:48Published

Beirut protests: 'A year of rising and fading hopes'

The BBC's Lina Sinjab looks back at one year of protests calling for change in Beirut, Lebanon.
BBC News

Lebanon protesters' euphoria gives way to despair

The country's problems have worsened since huge crowds took to the streets a year ago.
BBC News

Beirut Beirut Capital and chief port of Lebanon

FBI has reached no firm conclusion on cause of Beirut blast

WASHINGTON - The US Federal Bureau of Investigation said on Tuesday it has reached no firm conclusion about what caused the August 4 explosion in the port of..
Four dead and several injured in fuel tank explosion in Lebanon [Video]

Four dead and several injured in fuel tank explosion in Lebanon

Four people died and several more were injured when a fuel tank exploded in a building basement in the Lebanese capital Beirut

Credit: Euronews English    Duration: 01:05Published
Local NGOs rally to rebuild Beirut in wake of port explosion [Video]

Local NGOs rally to rebuild Beirut in wake of port explosion

Lebanon’s political instability, failing economy, and the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed the Lebanese pound to lose 80% of its value, since August, according to the Associated Press.View on euronews

Credit: euronews (in English)    Duration: 02:59Published

Nidal Al Achkar Lebanese actress and theater director

Syria Syria Country in the Middle East

AP Top Stories October 20 P

Here's the latest for Tuesday October 20th: DOJ sues Google on antitrust concerns; Turkish troops withdraw from Syria; Pope Francis conducts mass in mask; Israel..

Trump sent officials to Syria to try to negotiate Austin Tice's release

Sources say the president quietly sent senior officials to Damascus in a bid to get kidnapped journalist Austin Tice home before the election, but they couldn't..
CBS News

Trump’s Tweets on Troop Withdrawals Unnerve Pentagon

The president’s demands to draw down forces in Afghanistan, Somalia and Syria seek to fulfill a campaign promise. But officials warn rapid troop reductions..

Putin may be liable for war crimes in Syria, claims human rights group

Vladimir Putin bears responsibility for possible war crimes involving civilians being targeted in Syria, a rights group has said, in an in-depth report that..
Syria-Russia alliance targeted civilians in Idlib: HRW report [Video]

Syria-Russia alliance targeted civilians in Idlib: HRW report

The New York-based watchdog says the targeting of civilians by the Syrian-Russian alliance may amount to crimes against humanity.

Credit: Al Jazeera STUDIO    Duration: 02:12Published

Maronites Maronites religious group in Levant

American University of Beirut American University of Beirut Private university in Lebanon

Scientists predict that COVID-19 will become a seasonal virus - but not yet [Video]

Scientists predict that COVID-19 will become a seasonal virus - but not yet

A new review published in Frontiers in Public Health suggests that COVID-19, the illness caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, will likely become seasonal in countries with temperate climates, but only when herd immunity is attained. Until that time, COVID-19 will continue to circulate across the seasons. These conclusions highlight the absolute importance of public health measures needed just now to control the virus."COVID-19 is here to stay and it will continue to cause outbreaks year-round until herd immunity is achieved. Therefore, the public will need to learn to live with it and continue practicing the best prevention measures, including wearing of masks, physical distancing, hand hygiene and avoidance of gatherings," said senior author of the study Dr. Hassan Zaraket, of the American University of Beirut in Lebanon.Collaborating author Dr. Hadi Yassine, of Qatar University in Doha, affirms and states that there could be multiple waves of COVID19 before herd immunity is achieved. We know that many respiratory viruses follow seasonal patterns, especially in temperate regions. For instance, influenza andseveral types of coronaviruses that cause common cold are known to peak in winter in temperate regions but circulate year-round in tropical regions.

Credit: ANI    Duration: 01:09Published

Middle East Middle East region that encompasses Western Asia and Egypt

UAE ministers fly to Israel on first official visit

A delegation of Emirati officials are due to land in Israel on Tuesday for the first official ministerial visit. Abdullah bin Touq, Minister of Economy, and..
Pelosi 'optimistic' on virus aid deal before election [Video]

Pelosi 'optimistic' on virus aid deal before election

The top elected Democratic official said time to seal a massive coronavirus stimulus package before the U.S. election was running out, but she held out hope of reaching an agreement with the White House. This report produced by Zachary Goelman.

Credit: Reuters - Politics    Duration: 01:32Published

Israel and Bahrain establish formal diplomatic relations

Bahrain becomes only the fourth Arab country in the Middle East to recognise Israel.
BBC News
Pelosi 'hopeful' on virus relief bill before election [Video]

Pelosi 'hopeful' on virus relief bill before election

The highest-ranking Democratic lawmaker on Sunday said that despite differences with the Republican White House, she thought it possible to reach agreement on a large rescue package before Election Day. This report produced by Zachary Goelman.

Credit: Reuters - Politics    Duration: 01:17Published

Salah Tizani Lebanese actor, comedian

Tweets about this