July 2013, Tripoli, Northern Lebanon: Violent street clashes in Lebanon’s second largest city between the Sunni and Alawite sects seemed like flashbacks of the Lebanese civil war (1975-1990). Many Lebanese feared that the Tripoli clashes would spread to the rest of the country, plunging it into another war. This was the time when we, a group of ex-combatants from different political and religious factions, came together and decided to speak out against the violence and hostility we were witnessing.
We were once young and angered by the political and social situations around us. We were handed guns and decided to fight. Twenty-five years since the end of the civil war, which deprived many of us of normal teenage years, some of us are still struggling to rebuild their lives.
We did not want to see this happen to a new generation of Lebanese youth – we did not want history to repeat itself. We got together and wrote a letter to the youth of today, asking them not to repeat the mistakes of the past – and to realise that in war there are no winners, only losers. Violence only breeds violence, it can never lead to peace.
Our organization Fighters for Peace was born.
Our mission is to engage not only the youth and civil society activists, but in particular our fellow ex-fighters, in order to build a lasting civil peace and a true reconciliation in Lebanon. We envision reaching further, beyond our country, to support our neighbours who are also being torn apart by civil war and violence – from Libya to Iraq to Syria. As ex-combatants who have become Fighters for Peace, we offer our stories and our experience, in order to create a space where former fighters can find a way out of violence, into inner peace and peace within their communities.
Fighters for Peace is the only organisation in Lebanon that unites former fighters from different political, religious and social backgrounds. We are not only ex-combatants; among our members are journalists, filmmakers and psychologists. What unites us is the will to work for a more peaceful country and region.
We hope to grow and expand as more former fighters share their stories with us, and more fighters for peace join our ranks!
What We Do
Our work is focused on building peace, community cohesion and reconciliation through:
- Visiting schools, universities, refugee camps and other institutions and conducting dialogue sessions
- Building an online museum of testimonies of former fighters, thus contributing to Lebanon’s collective memory;
- Reaching out to the community through selected activities
- Creating a safe space for reflection and offering psychosocial support to former fighters
- Delivering training on peace building and reconciliation
- Reaching out to (former) combatants in other countries
In the Press
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