BEIRUT: About a War demonstrates how understanding our history can breed solace, solidarity, and progress in a society where the past is a taboo.
Andrew Kroglund
Kroglund is a critic and writer.
Published date: May 24, 2019

Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, still lives up to its reputation as the Paris of the Middle East. Street cafés, young people in fancy clothes, exciting culinary traditions and a varied cultural life attracts tourists from all over the world. But behind it all lies a hidden pain and a bloody past rarely talked about. The documentary About a War allows a unique glance into the near history and character of this city and land. In essence it portrays three warriors, a nation, justice and hope.

What makes certain people take up arms and go to war? What life awaits these people when the war is over? These are the questions posed by the filmmakers.

According to estimations, the Lebanese civil war, which raged from 1975 – 1990, cost 170,000 lives, while it turned a 1 million people into refugees. As yet, 17,000 people remain missing according to records. The war nearly tore this little, lively country asunder, a fact many Norwegians are well acquainted with. Norwegian peacekeeping forces were stationed in South Lebanon from 1978 – 1998.

One country, many cultures

Lebanon is a result of the heyday of colonialism, followed by imperialism, first under Ottoman rule and later under the French. Neighboring Syria has always voiced claims for the country, yet in 1946 Lebanon was established as a separate state, with several ethnicities like Druzes, Christians Maronites, Shias and Sunnis. The precarious balance between Christians and Muslim groups led to armed conflict in 1975, soon escalating into full-blown civil war.

Neighboring Syria has always voiced claims for the country, yet in 1946 Lebanon was established as a separate state.

The substantial Palestinian population of refugees, who had seeped into Lebanon from 1948 onwards, took part in the war through separate guerrilla groups. This led to interventions from both Israel and Syria, ending with the massacres at the refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila in 1982.

About a War. Director(s): …

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