Photo Essay: Beirut walls speak the language of the past

May 30th, 2008 | Posted in Beirut, Civil-war, Hezbollah, Independent Media, Lebanon, Politics

    Photo Essay from Farah Kobaissy in Beirut.


Graffiti for Future Movement, founded by the assassinated Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

In May 2008 the streets in Beirut and throughout Lebanon witnessed military clashes between armed forces backing the Lebanese opposition lead by Hezbollah and the former Lebanese government supported by Saudi Arabia and the U.S. In May the walls on the streets of Beirut expressed the level of political split of Lebanon.

Street level graffiti is now common throughout Lebanon’s capital as rival political forces take their political struggle to the city walls in Beirut. This photo essay from Farah Kobaissy documents the writing on Beirut’s walls, featuring images captured at street level within recent weeks.

Political graffiti is not something new for the extremely politicized people of Lebanon. However what is most striking is a return to writing common on the walls of the city during the Lebanese civil-war. Armed militias illustrated control over a street or a neighborhood through distinctive writing on the walls. Generally graffiti sprayed by these political militias reflected a larger political orientation, but some tagging simply aimed to praise the militia leader in the neighborhood.

Lebanon’s collective memory of the war retains many street names famed for militia military actions that terrorized Lebanese civilians names like; Abou Adal, Abou el Jamejim, Abou el Mot etc… Today in Lebanon these names are reappearing on the walls marking the recent return for militiamen to the streets of Beirut, reminding people in Lebanon that the war hasn’t finished, and will not truly end until Lebanon’s warlords of yesterday still remain in power today.


A picture taken in Corniche al-Mazraa an area in Beirut that witnessed violent armed clashes between the Amal Movement and the Future Movement leaving multiple people dead, many injured and a terrorized population.


Abou Ja’afar the godfather of silver…


“I love Berri and God”: Berri, is the speaker in Lebanon’s Parliament, also the head of Amal Movement, a widespread predominately Shi’ite armed political party. Imam Moussa Sadr founded Amal Movement in the late 1970’s within the context of Israel’s military occupation in southern Lebanon. Amal Movement played an important role in the latest clashes inside Beirut as part of the political opposition and lead operations to occupy the offices of the western-backed Future Movement in the Lebanese capital.


Abou Arab: women’s heart breaker…

Farah Kobaissy is with Tymat, the Leftist Assembly for Change in Beirut, Lebanon.


Bonjour, je voulait savoir si c’est possible d’utiliser ces images pour un profil dans un journal qui s’appelle “Upstream Journal”
J’ecrit un article sur le graffiti dans les pays de monde qui souffre la violence, la guerre,etc..
Est ce que c’est possible ?

Comment by Andrea — November 5th, 2008 @ 2:47 PM

Love the photos. Thanks for sharing!

Comment by IR35 — May 6th, 2010 @ 4:43 PM

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