Generational Dislocations

One Hundred Years of Displacement in a Beirut Suburb

by Joanne Randa Nucho
published in MER287

Since 2011, violence in Syria has worsened the widespread displacement of people in the Middle East and destroyed several cities. The images of displaced Syrian families fleeing to Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon broadcast around the world had a haunting resonance. Archival photographs of Armenian refugee camps in Aleppo from one hundred years ago are today echoed by images of Syrian refugee camps across the southern Turkish border. With war comes layers of displacement as migration changes the social and physical fabric of both cities from which people are displaced as well as cities in which they have resettled. Sometimes these displacements are generationally repeated by members of the same family.

The Lebanese Elections and Their Consequences

by Rayan El-Amine | published June 14, 2018

Lebanon recently held its first national parliamentary elections in nine years. The expectation was that there would be a major rebellion against the traditional sectarian-based parties. But the results were much less dramatic, reflecting four current political trends in the country.

Lebanon Dispatch

by Karim Makdisi
published in MER283

Trumpism as experienced from Lebanon is inextricably linked to the effects of the Trump administration’s positions and policies in the broader Middle East. The complexities of Lebanese politics and intrigue, and the social and economic challenges faced by the Lebanese as well as the country’s huge refugee population, however, are of little interest to President Donald Trump and his inner circle. Their de-contextualized fixation on Hizballah reflects US domestic politics and parochial Israeli anxieties rather than broader US geopolitical interests.

Please Subscribe to access the full contents of this article.

Managing Security Webs in the Palestinian Refugee Camp of Ain al-Hilweh

by Erling Lorentzen Sogge
published in MER282

On May 31, 2017, Fatah commander Col. Bassam al-Saad was juggling three telephones—two mobile phones and one landline—at his office in Lebanon’s largest Palestinian refugee camp, Ain al-Hilweh. As the commander of the Joint Palestinian Security Force (JPSF), the defacto military police of the self-governed camp, the colonel was in the process of overseeing the deployment of his roughly 100-strong force. Entering a particularly sensitive area in the war-torn Tiri neighborhood following devastating clashes in April between the JPSF and a local Islamist group, he was also juggling the ratio of police from each political faction to ensure a smooth operation.

Please Subscribe to access the full contents of this article.

Municipal Politics in Lebanon

by Ziad Abu-Rish
published in MER280

The municipal system has been a key pillar of debates on administrative decentralization, economic development and political participation in Lebanon. During the late 1990s and early 2000s, activists sought to stop the demolition of the 1924 Barakat Building on the basis that it was a heritage site. In response to public pressure, the Municipality of Beirut expropriated the building in 2013, and has since overseen a contentious process of transforming the space into a memory museum. International donors have increasingly directed aid flows for Syrian refugees in Lebanon through municipalities instead of the central government.

Mobilizing in Exile

Syrian Associational Life in Turkey and Lebanon

by Killian Clarke , Gözde Güran
published in MER278

The neighborhood of Narlıca sits on the outskirts of the small city of Antakya, Turkey. A spread of low-rise, brick-and-cement buildings separated by unpaved roads, Narlıca was a lightly populated working-class suburb prior to the outbreak of civil war across the border in Syria. Today, with that war dragging into its sixth year, the neighborhood has taken on a new identity as Antakya’s “little Syria.” The population has more than doubled, with Syrian residents now outnumbering Turks; most of the storefront signs are in Arabic; and newly opened schools teach the Syrian curriculum.

Garbage Politics

by Ziad Abu-Rish
published in MER277

In late July 2015, mounds of garbage began piling up across Beirut and the towns of Mount Lebanon to the capital’s east. While not without precedent in poorer neighborhoods, such heaps of rubbish had never appeared in more affluent areas. By mid-August, Lebanese government officials, businesspeople, activists, residents and media outlets were all speaking about a garbage crisis. Some observers took a benign view of the accumulating trash, seeing it as one more symptom of the alleged absence of a state in Lebanon. For those inclined to more sinister interpretations, the crisis was the logical outcome of the purported strain that more than 1 million Syrian refugees have placed on Lebanese infrastructure.

Five Exciting Developments from Across the Middle East in 2015

by Jessica Winegar | published January 6, 2016

Negative stories about the Middle East dominated Western news headlines in 2015. It’s easy for Americans, especially those who listen to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and his supporters, to get the impression that the region is just one miserable homogeneous place of violence, terror, religious fanaticism and authoritarianism.

The Lebanon War and the Occupied Territories

by Khalil Nakhleh
published in MER115

Until the war in Lebanon, official Israeli policy toward the Palestinians under its occupation rested on the premise that the PLO was the only obstacle on the road to what Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir called “the fullest advancement of the process that began in Camp David.” [1] The elimination of the PLO, according to this logic, would produce Palestinians willing to take part in an Israeli-defined autonomy. Through the so- called Civil Administration, then-Defense Minister Ariel Sharon had started the process of extirpating “PLO influence in the territories.”

Please Subscribe to access the full contents of this article.

Fawaz, Merchants and Migrants in Nineteenth-Century Beirut

by Carolyn L. Gates
published in MER123

Leila Tarazi Fawaz, Merchants and Migrants in Nineteenth-Century Beirut (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1983).

Please Subscribe to access the full contents of this article.