Lebanon: Promotion of dialogue and reconciliation process

Dealing with the civil war and reconciliation between the communities
The situation: 

The wounds of the civil war in Lebanon (1975 – 1990) have not yet healed, there is still much distrust between the various religious communities and ethnic groups. The parties involved often interpret political power struggles by putting them into ethno-religious categories. This has led in past years again and again to social tension, serious internal political crises and concern that the civil war could flare up again. Moreover, around 400,000 Palestinian refugees are currently living in 13 refugee camps under, in some cases, precarious social conditions. At the moment, the realisation of their ‘right of return’ to Palestine is almost unthinkable, and in Lebanon they are denied many social and political rights. This lack of a future perspective causes many to resign themselves to their fates. Under such circumstances, some turn towards radical Islamic groupings that the camps also harbour.

What we are doing: 

The people often only see themselves and their communities as the sole victims while ‘the others’ are considered the perpetrators. Covert or, in some cases, open accusations against other communities that they are to blame for the precarious situation complicate social dialogue and block the necessary political decisions, whereby all the people involved suffer from the lack of security, war and violence.
Our aim is to help break through the dynamics of the conflict. The documentation and analysis of the civil war as well as more recent wars like the 2006 summer war is an important initial step towards recognising and acknowledging the suffering of the others too, which, in turn, is intended to promote multi-perspective perception. Our wish is to draw attention to the fact that it is the common task of all persons living in Lebanon to develop and maintain reliability, security and respect for ‘the others’. Together with our future Lebanese and Palestinian partner organisations we endeavour to build bridges between the various religious, denominational and ethnic communities as well as create opportunities for joint experiences and joint responsibility.

Project Facts
Project location: 
Project period: 
2009 – 2012
Sponsoring organisations: 
Forum Ziviler Friedensdienst
Peace experts: 
Manuel Sakmani
Partner organisations: 
Partner organisations in Lebanon endeavouring to analyse the civil war and reconcile the communities
Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung (BMZ)