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Near the so called “Green Line” - the main front line through the middle of Beirut between the main warring factions during the civil war. Photo: Sara Fregonese

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BEIRUT

Beirut is a city that suffers from a tradition of conflict like the civil war (1975-1990), turmoil after the assassination of Prime Minister Hariri in 2005, the Israeli invasion of 2006 and clashes between pro- and anti-government paramilitary groups in 2008. Luckily – as one can tell so far – the election in June 2009 brought a degree of much desired stability to Lebanon.
However, many signs of deep seated mutual distrust will remain visible and tangible in the city for a long time. For example, a high degree of segregation characterises the residential distribution of Beirut’s population. Other material consequences of the Lebanese condition are the pockets of destruction and dereliction that still scar Beirut’s urban fabric, particularly along the “Green Line” where the territories of the warring factions used to clash during the civil war. In addition, many security features like street-blocking barrels, sand-bagged army posts or forests of barbed wire mark many boundaries between the different population groups. More recently, enclaves developed around the highly fortified residences of political leaders  which are enforced by barriers, inspection tents and armed guards.

 

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