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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Nadya Sbaiti writes a poetic piece in Jadaliyya about how the Six Day War affected Lebanon:

The legacies of 1967 envelop us and permeate everyday life in Lebanon. Daily we elbow our way through their viscosity, wondering why movement and breath and vision are limited. We take comfort in the invisibility of these legacies, convince ourselves that we have escaped, even as we have spent fifty years wiping the gelatinous tendrils from our very selves.

These tendrils are cartographic, linguistic, and epistemological.

The web of 1967 has spread its tendrils on the land itself. Those five days rent a gash in Lebanon’s southern boundary. The realities of defeat emboldened Israel, known simply as the kayan, or entity, to strafe ever larger swaths of territory, interrupting lives, devastating livestock, and eradicating fish. This relentless military practice, in addition to separating families, has reshaped village life and transformed topographies. And the wounds on the land are not confined to the south. They run along a north-south axis like a C-section scar left unhealed. The wounds shape the grounds of those permanently temporary fixtures: the refugee camps, which greeted a second generation of displaced and expelled.
Lebanon didn't fight in 1967. There was no change to the borders between Lebanon and Israel,  not one centimeter. I would be very surprised if any "refugees" from 1967 made it to Lebanon to go to their UNRWA camps rather than remaining in the West Bank, Gaza or going to Jordan.

I'm sure I could find some NGO that came up with a figure of how many fish Israel "eradicated" in 1967, though.

The author goes on to say that, essentally, he is tasked with inventing propaganda about 1967 to his Lebanese students since there is no actual history there and Lebanon feels left out:

And the thick tendrils breed silences, as the penchant for feigning ignorance feeds an actually existing ignorance, an epistemological insistence on being immersed in but denying the existence of a web of 1967’s legacies. I ask undergraduates who grew up in Lebanon what they know about 1967. I am greeted with a resounding silence. They know nothing, it seems. But, knowledge is a fluid process. As the history lesson unfolds, the same students suddenly comprehend an uncle’s suicide, a mother’s defiance, a neighborhood’s layout, a name unspoken; they ponder the tyranny of citizenship, the buoyant torment of resilience, and the laughter of survival that formidable historical amnesia tries to render invisible. As realization dawns, they sit in the viscous climate, stuck between solid and liquid, and the web of 1967 crystalizes anew.



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