Wars have been happening existing since the beginning of humanity. The 20th century includes many major wars since the beginning of time which are the two world wars and many other wars which resulted in millions of deaths. The second world war alone resulted in 60 million casualties (Berthon).
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In addition, the 20th century also includes the Lebanese civil war (1975) which started when the Israel government sent thousands of refugees to Lebanon, and that resulted in a dilemma between the Christians and the Palestinians on Lebanese soil(citation). However, that is only one of the reasons that led to the war. Wars usually start after piling up many problems and conflicts. The Muslims became allies with the Palestinians which resulted in the separation of Beirut, between East and West. The Eastern part of Lebanon was occupied by the Christians and the Western part of Lebanon was occupied by the Muslims. This war resulted in dividing Lebanon into 18 sects creating many unsolved political conflicts. This civil war has had and still has a big impact (directly and indirectly) on the Lebanese families. Hence, this essay aims to shed some light on the effect of the Lebanese civil war on my mother and the rest of the citizens, socially, psychologically, and economically.
My mother Wafaa was born in an area in Mount Lebanon called Abey on November 28, 1964, 11 years before the Lebanese civil war begun. She has four older sisters and one younger brother. Her father, the owner of a furniture gallery in Beirut and her mother, a housewife that took care of her children. My mother and her siblings risked their lives to get an education even while living in a country was under attack. There were days, where they had to miss school due to the exacerbation of the situation in the city of Beirut. During the war, dozens of the Palestinians took refuge in the entrance of my grandparents building, leaving my mother and her family scared every time they wanted to enter or exit the building. In Lebanon, every building has an underground safe house, and thats where they hid most of the time. Some days, they got stuck in the safe house for a long period of time that could last up to days. The war had a huge impact on my mother, it made her a stronger person.
This war hit the whole society, many people dropped out of school to join armed forces, the level of education decreased, public transports also decreased, degradation of public health services, increase of drug and alcohol abuse, and last but not least, increase of suicide rate. In addition, there were days where water was not found, had to be bought for basic necessities like shower and laundry. Adding to that, the electricity would go out most of the time leaving them with candles as their only source of light. Moreover, citizen who owned a car had to wait sometimes for hours so that they can refill their tanks because they dont know when the gas stations are going to run out fuel.
Dividing Lebanon between East and West had a big impact on peoples lives. Each side had their own businesses like schools, beaches, and shopping centers. Muslims lived in the west part of Beirut, they had hotels, restaurants, and a shopping boulevard like Hamra and Mazraa. They also had schools and universities that stayed open, and foreign embassies did not change their location from West Beirut. Renting an apartment got twelve times more expensive than before the war, and people could not afford it. East Beirut was occupied by the Christians. It was a residential area with apartments and a house for the middle and working-class people. The east side got destroyed by the bombings and shooting. The social life was not popular in the west Beirut. My mother and siblings used to cross the borders to watch movies and get their groceries. People on the East side of Beirut where not allowed cross the borders, so my mother had to cross the border every time she wanted to see her Christian friends.
The war also had an impact on people in a psychological manner. Many people lost their loved ones during the war which left them full of rage and ready for revenge. In addition, many individuals experienced traumatic events such as having someone put a gun to your head or your loved ones head. Not to forget the rape that was happening during the war and the torture that messed up peoples lives. Moreover, many friends and families got separated especially when they built borders between the East side of Beirut and the West side. This separation created tension and hate between Christians and Muslims, which did not end when the war ended. Moreover, during the war my mothers uncle got shot in the shoulder right in front of her. She was frightened and had a breakdown and kept having nightmares for a while; she had some days where she wakes up screaming in the middle of the night. She was only 18 years old when this happened. In addition, the war had many other implications on citizens mental health. Many citizens experienced traumas which caused depression, anxiety, difficulty sleeping, becoming overprotective parents, anger etc. The war has not only affected my mother and all the people that experienced this war but also myself and the rest of people who were born after the war ended. That is because it is still affect the country politically, and because of how our parents fear of wars affected us.
Finally, the economy in Lebanon dropped tremendously during the civil war. After the invasion of Israel in 1982, the Lebanese Pound began to decline, that was due to the political instability and regional recession of oil-producing countries. The Pound dropped by 80 percent against the dollar, which made it difficult for the citizens to pay their rents, buy food, and get health insurance (Nakhoul). However, many foreign funding was entering the country in huge amounts to fund the rebels or the opposition movement (the different militias in Lebanon). Moreover, during the first 19 months of the war (1975-1976), the country witnessed a widespread destruction of the infrastructure and services, especially in Beirut (https://countrystudies.us/lebanon/69.htm)
As a conclusion, people say that the civil war is over, and that it has not affect the citizens anymore. However, that is not true, the civil war still affects ever Lebanese citizen whether they were born during the war or not. This war has created 18 political sects in Lebanon, which created many political conflicts and hate among citizens. Each sect is greedy to have as many spots as possible in the Parliament or the Ministry. For instance, a few years ago Lebanon did not have a president for two years because of the disagreement among politicians. The civil war destroyed Lebanon in many ways, it left unrecoverable scares in people’s hearts, and thousands of people died and lost their homes. Up until today, these political conflicts have not end, and the people of Lebanon are still living the consequences of the war and nothing has been done to fix it.
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