sahat al-shuhada’: memorial of a different kind

meanings in silhouette

One of the last things I did in Shatila was to visit the memorial to the martyrs of the Sabra and Shatila massacres of 1982. I won’t go into too much detail about them here, but if you’re interested in reading more about them I recommend anything by Robert Fisk (see this piece by him, for example). Journalists’ reports of the atrocities committed sparked international attention and outrage, although it wasn’t the only massacre of its kind to happen during the years of fighting in Lebanon – perhaps just the most famous.

Instead of words, I’m including a link to the set of photos I took at the memorial. The space is not like the clean, cool, grand marble memorials of Washington; it’s remarkable, rather, because of the kind of space it is: you know you’re nearby because there are trees towering high above it, and because it is mostly open, empty space, both rarities in Shatila. It is not immaculate (I found a set of cards scattered under a tree; another tree had fallen down and lay across one corner of the empty square) but it does feel like a quiet haven, a respected and hallowed space of remembrance and of grief. The walls are covered in somber silhouettes that don’t need detail to communicate their meaning. The photos, I think, speak for themselves.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s