Stefan Tarnowski

Stefan Tarnowski is completing a PhD about the Arab Spring.

Diary: In Lebanon

Stefan Tarnowski, 21 October 2021

InJune, there was a debate in our building about whether to rayyih al-moteur (‘rest the generator’) at night or during the day. We had electricity from the national grid for only one hour in 24. In July, the only way to cool down in the afternoon was to strip off and lie sweating on the apartment’s terrazzo floor. By August, diesel shortages meant that not even the rich...

From The Blog
10 February 2021

It was during a visit to UMAM Documentation and Research in 2014 that I found out the truth about my grandmother’s death. My aunt, Rania Stephan, was making a film about a car bomb planted in West Beirut in 1983. An AP report from 1991 states the bare facts: ‘5 February 1983: Palestine Research Centre explosion kills 19, wounds 136.’ UMAM’s holdings were more substantial. With the help of the archive’s founder, Lokman Slim, we looked through magazines, newspaper articles, photographs of the explosion’s aftermath. The leftist magazine al-Shirā‘ carried the story on its cover: ‘Saturday Massacre: Perpetrator Known!’Everyone who lived through the civil war knew the motive: to destroy what could have become the Palestinian national archives. No one doubted it was carried out by the Israelis.

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