“Don’t Reach for the Gun,” Ex-Combatants Warn Lebanese Youths


Youth in Lebanon want to work to break down taboos surrounding the civil war in Lebanese schoolrooms, where the subject is omitted from history books. When Salwa Saad, a young women who fought in the conflict, gives talks at schools, she has a clear message for students: “Look at us, our souls are wounded, we destroyed our country, so many people killed and what did we gain?” Assad urges them to be critical about what their radio station, religious or political leaders say about ‘the enemy’.

Saad was the first person in her village to carry a gun. “I had status, people looked at me with pride,” she says. She became a regional leader of the Communist Party where she recruited and trained women in the use of weapons. Though she fought several times on the front, she says that she never killed anyone.

Today, Saad works for  Fighters for Peace– the only organization in Lebanon that brings together former combatants from both sides – to address “hatred of the other” and steer young people away from violence.

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