45 years have passed on the onset of the Lebanese Civil War that had ravaged the country and left many casualties.
To remember so it won’t be reiterated, the Lebanese people took this year a stand of national unity on their balconies, on the anniversary of the Civil War, on April 13th.
The call was launched last week by the association of Offre Joie, inviting the Lebanese people quarantined at home to step out on their balconies, raise the Lebanese flag, and chant the National Anthem at 7:00 PM.
During the 15 years of war, Lebanon was divided into numerous political parties, militias, and politicized sects. Beirut, the middle eastern capital of diversity, was divided into Eastern Beirut and Western Beirut.
The Eastern Beirut and Western Beirut were two war fronts fiercely opposed to each other.
The Civil War left behind 120-150 thousand dead and 17 thousand missing to this day. As for Beirut, the long war left Lebanon’s city of culture wounded, shattered, and covered with debris.
The memory returns every year to awaken the sorrow of those who lost a loved one, those who are still hoping for justice, those who are still waiting for the missing ones, and those whose dreams were forcibly aborted.
The anniversary of the war is a time in which we should not revive the hate we once harbored towards those who had caused us harm during the war. It is instead a time to acknowledge that our unity as a nation must be sacred to us.
That was the purpose of the initiative of Offre Joie on April 13th this year.
“To remember but never to return” is the motto that the Lebanese people have adopted for years after the war ended in 1990.
Melhem Khalaf, Head of Beirut Bar Association and cofounder of Offre Joie encouraged the Lebanese to unite their voices for the cause.
A video done by the organization showed George Khabbaz, Nadine Labaki, and Wedad Halawani, among others, calling out for unity and peace.
The Lebanese singer Jahida Wehbe sang the National Anthem in the streets of Ashrafieh as the Lebanese flags waved high from balconies.
The initiative was a way to stress that even though the civil war cannot be forgotten and, whether we like it or not, is a part of Lebanon’s recent history, the days of hate is long behind us, and that our voices are united for a better Lebanon.
Watch the Lebanese people singing the Lebanese national anthem here: