Date of Submission

Spring 2020

Academic Program

Historical Studies; Human Rights

Project Advisor 1

Omar Cheta

Project Advisor 2

Thomas Keenan

Abstract/Artist's Statement

During the course of the 15-year Lebanese Civil War between 1975 and 1990, an estimated 17,000 people were made victims of forced political disappearance. Today, thirty years after the end of the War, timid efforts have been made to find the disappeared or uncover their fate, and limited support has been given to their families. In fact, their story often goes untold as part of a communal effort to forget about the war and the past, reinforced by legislation such as the Amnesty Law.

This research project aims to bring the story of the disappeared in Lebanon to light as it is a painful legacy of the country’s past that has remained unresolved. The project does so by examining Lebanon’s relationship with war memory, a relationship characterized by suppressing such memories. This has made family members and missing people double victims: that of the physical crime itself, but also victims in the suppressed memory. By erasing physical evidence and by creating a system of impunity and lack of reparations, those who were victims in the time of war were also made victims in the time of peace. Many of those victims are women: the wives and mothers of kidnapped people. They are faced with suspended grief as their life is on pause. They face the psychological effects of not knowing, the social effects of stigmatization and isolation from society due to their status as neither wives nor widows, the legal effects and politics surrounding a disappeared body, and the financial effects of losing a breadwinner. While those women faced the harsh realities of forced disappearances many have become agents of change, demanding action from the government, and acting on their own when needed. They created a growing network made up of local and international actors who have taken action in domains that the Lebanese government has dismissed. Their continuous efforts have led to the passing of Law 105 in 2018, a law that incorporates their demands.

Open Access Agreement

On-Campus only

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
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