News / Middle East

Lebanon Remembers 35th Anniversary of Civil War Outbreak

Lebanon's civil war broke out 35 years ago Tuesday, after a Palestinian school bus was fired upon by Lebanese Christian militiamen. The anniversary comes amid increasing tensions between Lebanon's Hezbollah and the governing March 14 coalition over Hezbollah's arms, allegedly being furnished by neighboring Syria.

Some lit candles in parts of Beirut to honor the estimated 200,000 people killed during Lebanon's bloody 15-year civil war. Fighting erupted 35 years ago, Tuesday, when Christian gunmen ambushed a Palestinian school bus.

Rival militiamen tore up much of Beirut, over years of street-battles and shelling, leaving the city scarred and divided. A final frenzy of fighting in 1989 resulted in an Arab-brokered peace agreement which brought the long ordeal to a close.

Paul Haidostian, who is president of Beirut's Haigazian University says that the anniversary of the war causes him to relive some sad and bitter memories.

"Every time I think about the civil war, I relive some of the saddest stories and I remember as a teenager, even, I used to say to myself: if only the world hears about this, someone will stop this carnage and aggression. But, then, when I grew up, I learned that even if people know about this in the world, people are quite insensitive and feel powerless in relation to stopping wars and tension," he said.

Despite the memories which people of his generation still carry with them, Haidostian argues optimistically that the younger generation has recovered for the most part and created a totally different world.

"Lebanon and the young generation has moved on, really. We've had alternative experiences, said Haidostian. "Being together and forgetting about the past, and so on, but once in a while, we realize that sometimes people have a nostalgia for the past, and part of the past is war. So, something comes up and people remember and once in a while we feel again that Lebanon is also a fragile country."

Beirut's An Nahar newspaper, whose front pages were once filled with gruesome scenes of explosions, rubble, carnage and fighting, paused to remember  Tuesday with the headline: "35 Years Ago, Today: Peace Among Us, Or Peace Be To Lebanon."

That peace remains fragile, especially with the often angry complaints by members of the March 14 parliamentary majority that the pro-Syrian Hezbollah is a "state-within-a-state."

Many Lebanese continue to demand that Hezbollah turn over its reportedly large cache of weapons to the government.

Despite the surface tensions, Timor Goksel, veteran former spokesman of the U.N. peacekeeping force UNIFIL, thinks that the situation in Lebanon is totally different from what it was during the civil war and that it is unlikely another civil war would break out, soon.

"People forget that when the civil war started, we had a massive military Palestinian presence which had already unsettled the balance in the country," he said. "We don't have an external military force in the country, anymore, and also, the Israeli involvement is not as it was before. Moreover, there is some sort of-not perfect yet-but there is some sort of civic peace that we did not have in those days."

Goksel also believes that the Lebanese government is much stronger and its security forces more capable of preventing the outbreak of a conflict than they once were. "There is a much more credible army, and the security forces are slowly rebuilding," he says. "It's a totally different ballgame."

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid