Exhibition by UMAM D&R
Lebanon 1920 - 2020
How Might We Commemorate This Centennial?
لبنان 1920 ـ 2020

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Sep 12 - Nov 4, 2018 @ The Hangar - Beirut

As one of the victors of World War I, France received a mandate to administer the territories of the defunct Ottoman Empire from which Lebanon was culled and on September 1, 1920, a representative of the French military turned over the keys to the kingdom to the Lebanese themselves, allowing for the establishment of the State of Greater Lebanon—the forerunner to the Lebanese Republic, which emerged in 1926. Among the many other French decisions related to the political organization of the territories entrusted to France, this one prompted a series of side effects, including the broad chasm that separated those who believed that this French action fulfilled their aspirations for autonomy, and others who were convinced that it crushed their desire for unity with their neighbors. Regardless of the motivation behind such decisions, the nearly 100 years of Lebanon’s existence have shown that this debate would give way to other debates and arguments, some of which would have dire consequences that arguably had greater an impact on Lebanon than any course of action ever taken by the French.

With Lebanon's centennial steadily approaching, the central debate over its creation also continues to shift according to the impulses of the parties involved. In its most elemental form, that debate is manifested by contradictory calls for commemoration of, or total disregard for that anniversary. According to the pro-commemoration faction, Lebanon's institution represents one of its greatest historical achievements, while those opposed consider September 1, 1920, particularly shameful and fear that themed celebrations could undermine the country's fragile stability. Interestingly, this debate reached the Lebanese parliament in 2017, where a similar deliberation unfolded between pro- and anti-commemoration advocates.

Photo Gallery
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