I had only recently watched this movie as per recommendation, as it is one of the few and rare that mention the violence and bloodshed of the infamous Lebanese civil war. Developed in the nation of Canada and written by Denis Villeneuve and Wajdi Mouawad, Incendies depicts the story of a young woman and her time during this crisis. I found it both fascinating and heartbreaking to watch these events, as to some that may be seeing a foreign land in war, I saw places I am quite familiar with.
The war itself is considered a near taboo subject to mention, but is it from sadness or fear? It seems to be more allocated towards fear, as older generations still seem to hold on to the fear of the past…a fear that something harmful may happen to them. A line stated in the film was “Sometimes, it is better not to know”, perhaps the best definition of this phenomenon. The war is over, and yet the events are felt till now, a constant reverberation echoing on to the next generations. There seems to always be this belief that war is coming…as if a constant omen over the masses, forever inbred in their lives.
What could have been, I wonder, or even..what once was. I doubt the Lebanon I see today is the same place it once was before this toxic event eroded it away. I have my grandparents and even my parents tell me of days back when things were far better, when Lebanon was considered the glowing location of progress and integration, when other nations would look to Lebanon in envy of its people and land. I cant seem to imagine that.
My grandmother told me a story of when my father one day came back from school and asked her an odd question. He asked “Mom, what’s a Shiite and Sunna?”. Perplexed at the need to ask such a question myself, she explained to me that back then, the differences were barely seen, if even considered, and we were all just Muslim. I look to Lebanon today and see how far this divide has become, with each child knowing from youth what ‘sect’ they are part of, and the many divides between their own and others.
An estimate of more than 100,000 were killed, and another 100,000 left handicapped. There was also a mass exodus of around 1 million people from Lebanon, because of this war. Till today, there are still thousands of individuals missing whose circumstances are unknown. There were so many lives gone and futures lost, and yet I wonder…for those that survived, were they better for it? It seems a long lasting habit of mistrust was forever breed from those days. A hate lingering within for those seen as ‘not of us’. Can a nation truly heal after an event like this…or has it forever been crippled?
For those interested, I recommend watching this movie, if you would like a glimpse into Lebanon’s past. Admittedly the ending is quite….unexpected, but I’d rather focus on the events and crisis taking place.