This transnational collection of essays, interviews, and creative pieces on the 1982 Siege of Beirut explores literary representations of the siege by a diverse set of writers alongside journalism and other media including film and art. The book investigates and promotes an awareness of an ethics of representation on questions of extreme emotional investment, comparing representations of the siege to representations of other traumatic events, visiting responses from those of different cultural backgrounds to the same event and considering implications with respect to comparative approaches. Chapters explore how literature, journalism and art contribute to overcoming the dangers of forgetting and denial, memorial excess and fundamentalism, the radicalization of violence, and the complete breakdown of trust on international levels, asking how they challenge geopolitical, intellectual, and psychological states of siege and instead promote awareness, acknowledgement, mourning, and justice across divided communities. The book extends the use of postcolonial methodologies affiliated with history, international relations, and psychoanalysis (memory, trauma) to Middle-Eastern studies, and visits the siege’s effect on different forms of memory and memorialization: selective memory, trauma, gaps and fissures in historical accounts, recording of eyewitness reports, and artistic re-imaginings and realizations of alternative archives.
Table of Contents
Preface Gilbert Achcar Introduction Caroline Rooney and Rita Sakr Part 1: Representing the Siege 1. ‘War is surrealism without art’: Representing the Unrepresentable in Mahmoud Darwish’s Memory for Forgetfulness, Rawi Hage’s De Niro’s Game, and Robert Fisk’s Pity the Nation Rita Sakr 2. Writing Beirut c.1982: James Buchan, Robert Fisk, and Charles Glass Donna Landry and Gerald Maclean 3. ‘Besiege Your Siege!’: Mahmoud Darwish, Representation, and the Siege of Beirut Patrick Williams 4. ‘Looking the Beast in the Eye’: Screening Trauma in Waltz With Bashir and Lebanon Anna Ball 5. Sonallah Ibrahim on the Event(s) of Beirut Ziad Elmarsafy 6. A Question of Faith in Humanity: Jean Said Makdisi’s Beirut Fragments and Other Beirut Fragments Caroline Rooney 7. Violence, Trauma and Subjectivity: Compromise Formations of Survival in the Novels of Rawi Hage and Mischa Hiller Julia Borossa 8. Contrapuntal Beauty and the Betrayal of Representation: Jean Genet after Shatila Filippo Menozzi 9. Jawdat R. Haydar and William Wordsworth: London under Siege, 1982 May Maalouf Part 2: Remembering and Reporting the Siege 10. Reporting Sabra and Shatila Tim Llewellyn 11. Recording Memory: The Palestinian Experience Ghada Karmi 12. Excerpt from Beirut Fragments: A War Memoir Jean Said Makdisi 13. Interview with Robert Fisk 14. Interview with Mischa Hiller 15. Interview with Mai Masri 16. Sabra-Shatila Commemorative Mural Project Susan R. Greene
Caroline Rooney is Professor of African and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Kent, UK.
Rita Sakr is Research Associate at the University of Kent, UK.