About a war

About a war by Daniele Rugo


The Lebanese Civil War saw 250,000 dead, 1 million displaced and 17,000 people still missing. During the conflict thousands of teenagers picked up arms to fight in a 15 years war that tore the nation apart.

In 1990, the Taif agreement brought the war to a close, integrating warring parties into a power sharing government. With an amnesty pardoning all crimes against civilians and no plans to reintegrate militiamen back into society, many fighters became anonymous, silent and were left to disappear into a society ravaged by internal strife.

Moving through the testimonies of Assad, a right wing Christian intelligence officer; Ahed, a Palestinian refugee fighter and Nassim, a Communist commander, About a War unpicks the personal motivations, trauma and regret of militiamen who picked up arms during the civil war. With no official account of the conflict, their testimonies build a multi-perspective picture of a crucial turning point in Lebanese history that radically transformed the Middle East.

Nowadays, ex-fighters Ahed, Assad and Nassim work towards breaking cycles of violence among young people in Lebanon. While their own personal confessions delve deeper into issues of violence and politics in the Middle East, they also stand as a cautionary tale for a country that continues to be marred by inequality and sectarian divide.


Daniele Rugo is a director/producer who has worked as an editor on a range of feature films including The Land's Music (2016) and has directed visual arts projects such as Leaving Room (2015). He has a PhD in Philosophy and currently holds a post as Senior Lecturer at Brunel University, London. He has published books and articles on World Cinema, documentary as well as themes of conflict and violence. Publications include: Philosophy and the Patience of Film (2016), James Benning's Environments (2018).

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