Coexistence in Wartime Lebanon: Decline of a State and Rise of a Nation


Publisher: The Centre for Lebanese Studies and I B Tauris & Co Ltd, Oxford and London, 1993.
E-book ISBN: 1 85043 651 7

This book combines a vast encyclopaedic history of the war in Lebanon with a penetrating sociological analysis. Tracing the war to its origins, the author shows that it has been primarily a surrogate war over Palestine which escalated into a conflict between the diverse Lebanese communities each afraid of being the player left standing in a macabre game of musical chairs.

Hanf’s central theme is the problem of conflict and conflict regulation between these groups. How were conflicts regulated peacefully before the war? How did the country come to be the battlefield of both a surrogate war and a civil war? How do the Lebanese view what has happened in their country? What are their aspirations and how do they conceive a realistic settlement? Is there any prospect of re-establishing coexistence between different elements of Lebanese society?

The author sets out to answer these and other important questions using a wide range of literature as well as his own extensive research in the country. He writes optimistically, suggesting that although fear can breed a vicious circle of hatred and violence, it can also produce reason and compromise.

Theodor Hanf is Director of the Arnold-Bergstrasser Institute for Social Research in Freiburg, Research Professor at the German Institute for International Research in Frankfurt, and Honorary Professor of Political Science at the University of Freiburg.

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