The Pursuit of Happiness
“History does not repeat itself, but it often rhymes”.
− Mark Twain
“I’m at a point in life where I’m accepting everything that comes my way. If I had to die now, I’m really ok with it, I accept it”.
– M.Z – 25 years old
In Lebanon, rhythmic patterns (such as the civil conflicts of 1820, 1860, 1958, and 1975–90) seem to throw together familiar protagonists into common struggles with too predictable outcomes. The consequence is both the stimulated déjà-vu feeling and a fatalistic acceptance among Lebanese youth that the past has never been truly past.
We are the post-war age group —a generation of Lebanese who have grown up overshadowed not directly by the traumatic events but by numerous actions that took place before our birth. We are also referred to as the “post-memory generation” based on the influential notion by Marianne Hirsch.
This unconsumed form of memory carries within it and is connected with the pain of our parents and grandparents. It suggests that traumatic historical events, whether distanced by time or obscured for dubious political reasons, cannot be easily forgotten but instead are remodeled and renegotiated within present contexts and everyday encounters. However, at the same time, due to post-war amnesia, we are detached from the residual effects and future implications of war recollections.
We find ourselves in a complex and ambivalent position searching for meaning, historical truth, and identity, caught between the contradictory forces of collective remembrance and social forgetting.