From 1975 to 1990, Lebanon endured one of the most protracted and bloody civil wars of the twentieth century. Sune Haugbolle's book chronicles the battle over ideas that emerged from the wreckage of that war. While the Lebanese state encouraged forgetfulness and political parties created sectarian interpretations of the war through cults of dead leaders, intellectuals and activists - inspired by the example of truth and reconciliation movements in different parts of the world - advanced the idea that confronting and remembering the war was necessary for political and cultural renewal. Through an analysis of different cultural productions - media, art, literature, film, posters, and architecture - the author shows how the recollection and reconstruction of political and sectarian violence that took place during the war have helped in Lebanon's healing process. He also shows how a willingness to confront the past influenced the popular uprising in Lebanon after the assassination of Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri.
Sune Haugbolle is Assistant Professor in Arabic in the Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies at the University of Copenhagen. He is the coeditor of The Politics of Violence, Truth and Reconciliation in the Arab Middle East (2009).