By creating and continually enriching a citizen resource center focused on Lebanon’s conflict-laden and war-loaded past and by utilizing a variety of tools (including cultural activities, technical workshops and targeted research), UMAM D&R helps boost collective reflection on the many different instances of conflict and violence that have plagued Lebanon’s past, weigh heavily on its present and have the potential to influence its future.
Since informed and well-documented discussions of the past lead inevitably to debates over the present and over the myriad versions of the country’s future, UMAM D&R seeks to provide a platform upon which to assess and help deal with Lebanon’s current problems and challenges.
Ensuring the durability of the process of reflecting on Lebanon’s conflict-laden history represents a critical and inescapable endeavor. Specifically, such reflection can help counter the culture of amnesia and institutional capriciousness that characterized Lebanon’s postwar era. That erroneous legacy propagated not only a political fiasco of tremendous proportions, but has emerged—yet again—as a near-term risk factor capable of upsetting Lebanon’s fragile equilibrium.
Clearly, Lebanon remains central to the work being done by UMAM D&R. At the same time, however, in view of the generalized, yet “rolling” state of conflict that has engulfed the Middle East, UMAM D&R also believes that much of the uniquely Lebanese work it has done in the area of reflection can be adapted and used by other people in other states; people who share the hope that their countries will someday achieve genuine and enduring stability—when the “past” is no longer a hostage taker neither being held hostage.