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Beirut Diaries

2006
Distributed by Typecast Releasing, 3131 Western Ave., Suite 514, Seattle, WA 09121; 206-322-0882
Produced by Mai Masri in association with Jean Chamoun
Directed by Mai Masri
DVD, color, 80 min.
Jr. High - Adult
Human Rights, Religious Studies, Political Science, Activism, Syrian-Lebanese Culture


Reviewed by Malcolm L. Rigsby, Department of Sociology, Ouachita Baptist University, Arkadelphia, AR

Highly Recommended  Highly Recommended   
 
Date Entered: 9/16/2010

Producer and director Mai Masri brings us up close to the life and experiences of Nadine Zaidan, a 25-year old Lebanese woman as she seeks the truth in Lebanese identity. Chronicled first hand by Masri, we journey over 75 days of encampment in Martyr’s Square in a historical event known as The Cedar Revolution or the March 11th Movement. We are enabled an insider’s look at the lives of a wide faction of people of all ages and plural religious faiths in their search for truth in identifying what democracy in Lebanon should be. Among the issues explored is how loyalists, those in opposition and others such as Hezbollah may seek to overcome tensions and develop an independent state. Tensions that are ever present are the roles of the global community including the United States, the E.U. and Syrian intervention which remains on Lebanese soil spurred on by the 1975-1990 Lebanese Civil War.

Among several questions that arise in conjunction with this film is the question “what is truth, freedom, and nationality in context of any particular group of people that are identified as a ‘nation-state’”? In examining this question groups may wish to include discussions of identity that arise in cultural, social, as well as political context.