Staging the Lebanese Nation: Urban Public Space and Political Mobilisation in the Aftermath of Hariri’s Assassination

Sep 2006 – Jun 2007

MA Project at the Middle Eastern Studies at the American University of Beirut, Lebanon (AUB).
AUB Supervisor: Samir Khalaf PRIO Supervisor: Åshild Kolås

The killing of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri 14 February, 2005, was followed by a massive political mobilisation probably unprecedented in Lebanon in its magnitude. At one point – 14 March – around one million people, a quarter of the country’s population, gathered to demand the truth about who killed Hariri, and to protest the incumbent government and Syria’s long-standing involvement in Lebanese affairs. I would like to shed light on three dimensions: how people mobilised; the uses and meanings of the sites of mobilisation; and projections of national identity. I believe these dimensions are intimately interlinked. In particular, I suspect that patterns of mobilisation and uses and meanings of space fed into a particular Lebanese “we”-story, the construction, content and limitations of which constitute the focus of this study.

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