How does a middle-aged man redeem himself for war crimes he committed as a teen?
Forty years ago, a war broke out in Lebanon. A country the size of Connecticut buckled under the pressure of 17 sects, all with their own grievances, frustrations and visions for the future of their country. The war ended in 1990, but the country was devastated: 1 million people were homeless, 250 thousand had been killed, and 1 million had been wounded. Even worse, the brutal conflict had not resolved any of the underlying tensions that led to war in the first place. Twenty-six years later, the scars of war remain. Sectarian tensions are as palpable as they’ve ever been, and Lebanon stands on the precipice of war yet again. The very real fear now is that history will repeat itself in Lebanon.
Syria shares a border with Lebanon and is at the epicenter of the regional conflict inflamed by ISIL. As extremist groups continue to develop more sophisticated methods of leveraging media to recruit young people, Lebanon is feeling the pressure. Youth all across the country are being lured into the fighting. The Syrian conflict is spilling over the border and threatening Lebanon’s precarious peace.
Despite all of this, there is hope for Lebanon – and Syria, and the rest of the Middle East. There are voices rising to share a different story. These voices come from the unlikeliest of places: former soldiers from Lebanon’s Civil War. For the first time in the country’s history, men and women who know the cost of war personally want to speak out and share their own experiences of loss, pain and regret. Confessions from the War is not only about warning the youth of today about what lies ahead of them if they choose the path of conflict; it’s also about recognizing that the country cannot move forward without experiencing truth and reconciliation. These former fighters must confront their past for the sake of Lebanon’s future. They must confess.
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