Memory of the War

There is no national curriculum for teaching history in schools in Lebanon. As the educational system is very much divided along sectarian and/or political and social lines, schools often place their emphasis in the teaching of history on events and narratives particularly important for their own clientele. This bears the danger of imparting unbalanced views of history, of reinforcing narratives of victimization and of justifying conflict lines and aggression against others.

The handbook The Memory of the War collects narratives from different sides of the conflict alongside other material about the civil war such as interviews, newspaper articles, pictures and exercises. The material is presented in twelve thematic chapters, each designed to be easily integrated in history lessons at school or to be used as workshop guidelines in youth clubs and NGO work.

The handbook aims to teach youths from the age of 14 that there exist various interpretations of history in Lebanon and to help them accept the existence of divergent views on the civil war. Without claiming to know what is right or wrong, it confronts students with memories from ‘the other side’, for instance by mothers, grandparents or ex-soldiers, and equips them with questions to test their own views and knowledge on the civil war. There are four brief films in Arabic with English subtitles; they show perspective by various people on the civil war, which can be used together with the handbook:

Friendly fire

Crossings/feeling alive


That's how we are going to continue?

As part of the project, teachers are trained on how to use the handbook in different cities in Lebanon, for example Beirut and Tripoli. The project hopes to start a process of reflection in the young which might result in greater tolerance and better understanding, in reducing stereotypes and breaking up cycles of victimization.



Other activities

  • Picture with two books in black and white

    Study on Political Parties in Lebanon and Their Narratives about the Past (2015)

    As a part of its programme on Dealing with the Past, forumZFD supported the compilation of a study entitled "The Power of Remembrance: Political Parties, Memory and Learning about the Past in Lebanon". The study, compiled by Dr. Mara Albrecht and Dr. Basel Akar, investigates how political parties in Lebanon use the memory of the Lebanese civil war that took place between 1975 and 1990 in the educational and political field. read more

  • Come To Me

    Experiences of Non-violent Activism in Lebanon

    However, even during the Lebanese civil war some people refused to use violence as a means of carrying out conflict, resorting to nonviolent activism instead. These experiences build a starting point for historical research. In cooperation with the Permanent Peace Movement, the Imam Sadr Foundation and Umam Documentation and Research, we collected examples of effective nonviolent action. A film entitled "Come to me" documents the findings; it is available in Arabic and with English subtitles. read more

  • mapping_lebanon

    Mapping of Initiatives addressing Conflicts in Lebanon (2015-2018)

    Recent years have seen an upsurge in activities in the field of Dealing with the Past in Lebanon but implementing organisations and activists frequently do not know the others’ projects and rarely work together. Together with its partners, forumZFD has mapped all initativese addressing conflicts in Lebanon which have been implemented since 1990. The mapping is accessible to the public online. read more