WHAT WE DO

Achievements   Modus Operandi    The Tent    Project SOAL

Achievements

The main achievement has been the ability of SOLIDE to keep the problem of the Lebanese victims of enforced disappearance at the hands of the Syrian forces in the limelight in spite of the harassment of the consecutive Lebanese governments from 1990-2005 and in spite of the Syrian control of Lebanon.

Other achievements of SOLIDE’s campaign include:

• Local and international recognition of the problem.

• The release of 121 detainees from Syrian prisons on 5 March 1998.

• The European Parliament resolution dated 12 March 1998.

• The establishment of the 1st national commission of inquiry on 21 January 2000.

• The Maronite Bishop’s communiqué of 20 September 2000 asking for the release of Lebanese detainees in Syria.

• The release of 54 detainees from Syrian prisons on 11 December 2000.

• The establishment of the 2nd national commission of inquiry on 26 January 2001.

• The establishment of a joint Lebanese – Syrian commission of inquiry in June 2005 after talks with Mr. Najib Miqati, the Lebanese Prime Minister who visited Syria on 5 May.

• The Lebanese government unprecedented acknowledgement of the problem of July 2005 after 15 years of persistent denial.

• 19 October 2006, Mr. Terje Rod-Larsen added the problem of the Lebanese detainees in Syria to his report on the implementation of UNSCR 1559 that was presented to the UN Security Council.

• June 2011, the inclusion of the issue of Lebanese victims of enforced disappearance, both inside and outside Lebanon, in the ministerial statement of the new Lebanese government headed by Najib Mikati.
 

Modus Operandi

• Maintain a close working relationship with the UN Human Rights Commission and the Working Groups on Arbitrary Detention and Enforced Disappearance and both locally and internationally recognized organizations.

• Follow up communiqués on any developments.

• Lectures, conferences and seminars.

• Civil sit-ins, manifestations and demonstrations.

• Reports.

• Provide legal assistance to the victims and their families to press charges against the perpetrators of these violations.

• Provide psycho-social assistance to the victims of these violations.
 

The Tent and Our New Project

Since 11 April 2005, we have erected a protest tent in downtown Beirut, the longest standing protest tent in the Middle East demanding to know about the fate of the missing Lebanese in Syrian detentions [click here to see some pictures]. However, the issue of the missing is but one dimension of the Syrian army occupation and there are many more. Therefore after almost two decades of successful campaigning we feel compelled to expand SOLIDE and institutionalize it so that there will be a permanent place where the issue of the occupation is dealt with from various perspectives. We intend to realize this plan with our project SOAL. 

Project SOAL

After over twenty years of lobbying on the issue of the Syrian army occupation, SOAL is a must for only through systematic gathering of data and of creating public debate in creative ways can we address one of the most important dimensions of the Lebanese war (1975-1990) which so far has received little attention. We intend to open SOAL on the 26th of April 2012, as a remembrance to the date the last Syrian army occupation forces withdrew from Lebanon.  The project is tentatively divided into four different types of activities, each activity in its own way helps produce knowledge on Syrian occupation and its consequences in Lebanon.

1) Creation of a museum

The goal is to hold various exhibitions in the museum which speak to a wide audience and help create awareness of the various dimensions of the Syrian occupation such as the complexity of collaboration and resistance to occupation. Activities such as video installations, paintings, exhibition of material culture, art competitions form the core of this section.

2) Academic section

The goal here is to create networks of local and international academics working on the history and politics of the occupation as well as producing objective knowledge showing the complexity, tensions, and consequences of the occupation. Short (4 weeks) and long-term (10 weeks) grants will be given to local and international graduate students working on MA and PhD thesis related to the issue of the Syrian occupation. We ask each fellow to give a public lecture during their term on the research subject tailored to a non-academic educated audience. Every two months we also invite prominent scholars to give public lectures related to the topic. Academic conferences and workshops will also be held every two years. We will work with well-known international academic publishing houses to produce regularly edited volumes from the best papers presented at workshops, conferences, and public talks given.

3) Library and bookstore

To disseminate knowledge for activists, academics, and the general audience interested in the subject of occupation we propose to create a library and a bookstore where books and archival material (such as newspaper articles) are made available to the public. Every two weeks we will hold a book discussion session in the library on the topic of occupation in Lebanon and elsewhere in the world. Language of the bimonthly session is English. 

4) Social history of the occupation/Education and training

Creating a database on the everyday life under occupation through oral history methods is one of the main goals of this section. Special attention will be given to women and children in this project. Women played a major role during the occupation serving both as collaborators and participating in resistance against Syrian military in Lebanon. Mothers and wives often suffered from enforced disappearances of their male family members. Many were also often forced to work as prostitutes under occupation. We also envision addressing the issue of occupation by engaging children through plays and by producing history material for schools. Finally, through workshops and talks we would like to create dialogue with institutions dealing with the Israeli occupation of Lebanon and discuss similarities and differences between these two types of occupation.
 

Board of advisors of SOAL: (To be announced)

Institutional Affiliations of SOAL: (To be announced)