Before I lived in Beirut, I thought the “Green Line” would be tangible, perhaps even painted on the street. The civil war that raged from 1975 to 1990 devastated whole neighborhoods, dividing Muslim areas from Christian areas principally, but also Druze from Alawite and Sunni from Shia eventually. The “no go” areas between them became very defined, because snipers perched high in buildings to pick off women going out for food and even children going to school. Grass and weeds grew in those sidewalks and streets, even trees, as bullets whizzed overhead. Eventually green lines could be seen from airplanes passing overhead. After years the green lines could be seen by satellites.
These are 2008-9 photos of the chewed-up buildings that remain along those green lines. After the car bombs in Achrafieh (Arabic: الأشرفية ) last week, I hope people will remember the immense and lasting cost that more violence will have.