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TERRITORIAL MARKERS AND SOCIAL FRAGMENTATION IN BEIRUT’S VISUAL URBAN LANDSCAPE.

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Presentation on theme: "TERRITORIAL MARKERS AND SOCIAL FRAGMENTATION IN BEIRUT’S VISUAL URBAN LANDSCAPE."— Presentation transcript:

1 TERRITORIAL MARKERS AND SOCIAL FRAGMENTATION IN BEIRUT’S VISUAL URBAN LANDSCAPE

2 Religion in Lebanon Defining Lebanese population Dividing state power National Pact (1943) : an unwritten agreement Political foundation of modern Lebanon on a confessional system :

3 President of the Republic = Maronite Prime Minister = Sunnite President of the National Assembly = Shi’a Deputy Speaker = Greek Orthodox Ministry of Defence till 1975 = Druze

4 : the civil war Faith fractures Signs shaping new territories Lebanon is deeply cleared along ethnic and socio-religious lines of force

5 It creates a situation The city, the country are running contrary to the will of its people Divided among communatarian and regional lives Markers, messages … elaborating mental borders

6 CIVIL WAR AND IT’S TERRITORIAL MARKING

7 April 1975 In a popular suburb of Beirut Political frustration Occupation of downtown Beirut : symbol of Lebanon’s multi-confessional character

8 Parliament Square

9 The Downtown : stage of fighting Demarcation lines : Martyrs Square and Damascus street Beirut is divided in two sectors East Beirut : Christian West Beirut : Muslim Put a stop to coexistence

10 Visual markers and messages

11 Territorial markers Political and religious Sign of affirmation community : « this land is mine » Bill-boards, posters, graffitti, flags… = boundaries of ideological territories To communicate quickly a message to supporters and residents

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13 RETURN TO PEACE

14 Political issues and confessional new territories

15 After 1990 Former warlords entered into the State Defending private interests Milicia performs in a legal way Hezbollah is an exception : still armed to defend its « secure land »

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17 Media and audio visual markers

18 Religious authorities Are using media and television « Al-Manar » belongs to Hezbollah « Télé Lumière » to Catholics They preach good word and demonization of the other religious communities

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20 New kind of war New places of worship are more impressive in size September 2010 : inauguration of a towering cross of 73 meters tall by Maronite church

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22 Rehabilitation Minarets much higher Multiplying bells Powerful speakers

23 The biggest bell in the Middle East

24 Fertile ground : the youth Consolidation of Community Lebanese Universities : University of Balamand = Greek Orthodox Univsersity of Holy Spirit = Maronite Islamic University = Shi’a Arab University = Sunnite …

25 Cyber propaganda « Internet is a wonderful tools that gives to political movement an echo of disproportion relatively to their real size » (DESTOUCHES G., 1999)

26 « CNN of the poor » The « Arab Spring » is the illustration of the political power of social networks like Facebook, Twitter…. Islamists and others religions websites Or terrorist and militia networks They practice cyber propaganda that amplifies ideological messages

27 target Young unemployed people Mobile’s screen or electronic bill boards New media calling for rally, commemoration, informations …

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29 Clothing and behaviour

30 In the Muslim world The veil Rigor is not the same everywhere Lebanese streets : western fashion, iranian tchador, islamic headscarf, body piercing….

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34 New attitudes sale of alcoholic beverages prohibited in lebanese sunni cities (Sidon, Tripoli…) Lately it extends in Christian areas During the month of Ramadan new type of decorations : crescent moon, palm tree…

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36 Educational Institutions or stores doesn’t close anymore during a religious holiday of another community Advertising Companies consider 2 posters for the same product Calendar of commemorative dates or events is still respected

37 Sport and politics

38 Sport To assert its sovereignty, independance a Nation creates its own sports teams Football = a collective national cohesion and promotes the group Since 2005, in Lebanon, football games are played without spectators

39 Football game

40 The militia’s role Confessional behaviour Great influence on the people Territorial fragmentations are wider between rich and poor people 28% of Lebanese families lives below the poverty line

41 militia’s activities Various social projects Support to youth groups Allowing an ideological indoctrination Recruiting from a much more fanatical youth than before

42 THE CULT OF MARTYRDOM

43 Statue, monument, memorial « These markers strike the imagination and allow us to individualize a place to make it unique » (NESSI J., 1999)

44 memorials Are numerous in the Middle East Object of pilgrimage for Jewish, Muslims and for Christians In Israël : Wailing Wall, Yad Vashem…

45 The Wailing Wall

46 In Lebanon Cult of martyr was born in the civil war Militias were using the symbolic dimension of space to legitimize their power In West Beirut : pictures of martyr Moussa Sadr

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49 Hezbollah Pictures or painted panels representing Khomeiny… Sound & Light shows Decorating gravesites Flags with Katyusha

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51 Hezbollah Flags

52 For young Shi’a Martyr falling in the service : a supreme honour The goal is not a military victory but rather to have the privilege of being a martyr

53 Syrian occupation ( ) During the « Pax Syriana » several statues had been installed in many lebanese regions They were unbolted or vandalized during the withdrawal of Syrian troops (2005)

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55 14 February 2005 Since the assassination of Rafic Hariri, « new martyrs » have their public places Surprisingly since Islam forbids all image representations Plaques, statues, gardens… became places of memory

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58 CONCLUSION

59 In Lebanon Tension and idology of fear which « creates a report of mistrust and potential conflict with each other; « us » and « them » have built virtual walls that draw the boundaries of our new indentities and affiliations. » (RAMADAN T,. 2005)

60 Lebanese Constitution carries with it the seed of community division Great difficulty to establish a national dialogue Shi’a is by now the largest sect in number

61 Should we despair ? A large part of Lebanese people is fighting for values : family, education, civil order… Religious coexistence for centuries

62 Cathedrale & Mosque

63 Former rector of USJ « In Lebanon Christians and Muslims share more than they think, common patterns of behaviour and thought; the former are more Arabized and the Second more Westernized that they do think » (ABOU S., 1994)


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