Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A Phalangist cedar shrine in glass

Nestled in a predominately Christian area, one which saw huge fights during the war (ironically, also inter-Christian fights towards the end of it!), this glass shrine in the shape of a Phalangist logo (a cedar split into three parts to symbolize their three values - God, Country, Family) has a statue of St. Anthony (of Padua)  - who, in the common mythology is the patron saint of lost items - speaks droves about "us."
Us, as Lebanese, as sectarian, as superstitious, as imploring religion in the face of the "other" (even if, as I said, the other was also a Christian of the same denomination - a Maronite - in the last chapter of the war), as people who want to brag about their affiliation because it gives them security and a community to fall back on (again as a protection from "them").
The area in question, long defended as a Christian stronghold, is now populated by low income Moslem families from Syria in search of manual labor (which is available there) and relatively affordable rent. It took the Syrian war for them to (re)conquer what they set out to take during the war, but perhaps this is too harsh of an interpretation of the many veiled women cozily chatting on the streets with multiple children in tow.

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