Accepted paper:

Martyrological Traditions and Conflict Prevention: the case of Lebanon


Marcello Mollica (University of Messina)

Paper short abstract:

Drawing on my multi-sited ethnography in Christian Lebanese enclaves, this paper addresses the determinants that might convince Christians to accept post-conflicts deeds (i.e. acts of self-immolation)

Paper long abstract:

Recent multi-ethnic Lebanese history has been marked by increased tension between sectarian groups and sectarian groups and the state. In many cases groups' resistance developed into an attempt to limit the action of both, other groups and the central authority of the state by developing alternative, even trans-national, loyalties. However, this did not apply to all groups. However, not all state and ethno-religious groups failed to develop a positive dialogue. Drawing on my multi-sited ethnography in Christian Lebanese enclaves, this paper looks at what influences Christians to accept or condone acts in a post-conflict situation, e.g. self-immolation or suicide bombers, that in principle they would otherwise reject. The issue is made manifest where Christian communities are minorities and where Muslim majorities offer the memory of their martyrs as a strategy of self-defence against external aggressors, e.g. Israel. The questions, therefore, arise: Could a martyrdom ideological succession exist and how would it fit political agendas in a consociational democracy? Or, rather, can the acceptance of other martyrs be instrumental to conflict prevention?

panel SE02
Ethnic-religious segregation: the preservation of memory or the preservation of conflict (IUAES Commission on Urban Anthropology)