– A story of war and rec­on­cil­i­a­tion

ArabAd - - BOOKS - By Ibrahim La­houd & Jad La­houd Pub­lished by Noir Blanc Et Caetera G.A.

This book is a rec­ol­lec­tion of sto­ries ex­pe­ri­enced by the au­thors, two brothers nar­rat­ing their jour­ney through a five-year pe­riod of a tur­bu­lent and rav­aging Le­banese War. They nar­rate the prob­lems of young teenagers trapped into this tran­sient life­style where the ab­sence of a fa­ther, school­ing, a sense of safety and hope are lim­ited or com­pletely miss­ing. The au­thors, Ibrahim aka Eby and Jad re­counts their tu­mul­tuous child­hood grow­ing up dur­ing the civil war-a life punc­tu­ated by daily de­pri­va­tion and death-- with not much to do, ei­ther go into ex­ile or en­gage in the mil­i­tary. What they rather chose to do is en­roll in the Red Cross, join­ing the 102 Unit. Their en­list­ment with the Le­banese Red Cross dur­ing the war was unar­guably one of the most for­ma­tive ex­pe­ri­ences of their life, and it pro­vided much of the source ma­te­rial for the book. The La­houd brothers have man­aged to de­liver an en­tirely fresh and ab­sorb­ing ac­count about war events from a new per­spec­tive, hence bring­ing to light valu­able new ma­te­rial on this pe­riod of the Le­banese war. As a mat­ter of fact, they in­tro­duce us to a side of the war that has rarely, if ever, been told, ex­posed to the stench of death, hav­ing wit­nessed through their mis­sions the dark grim apoc­a­lypse of Sabra and Chatila mas­sacres, the as­sas­si­na­tion of Bashir Ge­mayel, the sui­cide at­tempts on the US Marines HQ, the as­sas­si­na­tion of the US am­bas­sador, the Souk el Gharb bat­tles… This story of an amaz­ing brother­hood in a war-torn coun­try and their enlisting in the Red Cross may well have helped the au­thors to rec­on­cile their painful ex­pe­ri­ences. It is a story of brother­hood, com­rade­ship, for­give­ness, re­silience and hope that shows how two brothers dis­cover re­newed pur­pose. This book is for who­ever is will­ing to delve deeply into de­tails about the ex­po­sure to the atroc­i­ties of a war that had such a tremen­dous im­pact on the young gen­er­a­tion that went through it. The au­thors man­age to give a frank ac­count of the hard­ship of life dur­ing war, with­out be­ing bit­ter. Iron­i­cally, the hard­ship seemed to even­tu­ally strengthen them. Un­like other non-fic­tion, which can some­times be­come mo­not­o­nous, this ac­count holds the read­ers’ in­ter­est and want­ing to read more. This book is hard to put down and riv­et­ing, it reads very fast. Very eye­open­ing. The sto­ries are pow­er­ful, heart-wrench­ing, and un­for­get­table. Also buried be­tween the cov­ers are pearls of hope, wis­dom, hu­mor, and re­silience. 102 is one cap­ti­vat­ing book that is a plea­sure to read, im­mer­sive just as much as it is re­fresh­ing in sub­ject and ap­proach, and it will help il­lu­mi­nate the past while it chal­lenges most of the new gen­er­a­tion to re­think how they see and judge Le­banon’s war years.

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