A Bus for Peace










A “bus for peace” began touring Lebanon on Friday to promote reconciliation as the country commemorates the 37th anniversary of the start of the 15-year civil war which ended in 1990, organizers said.

The bus carrying archives and films documenting the conflict in which more than 150,000 people were killed was a replica of a bus transporting Palestinians on April 13, 1975 that was attacked, sparking the civil war.

Militiamen machine-gunned the bus in the Beirut Christian suburb of Ain al-Remmaneh, killing 27 passengers, hours after assailants opened fire outside a nearby church killing a Christian.

The original bus, rusty and with bullet holes in its bodywork and windows, is on display in the South of the capital.

“Reconciliation among Lebanese can only fully happen by addressing the issue of collective memory,” said Joanna Nassar, who is in charge of a United Nations Development Program project aimed at enhancing peace in Lebanon.

The UNDP donated the bus to the research center, which supplied the civil war materials for the tour starting in the center of Beirut, which marked the dividing line between Christian and Muslim parts of the city.

Mohammed Moqdad, badly wounded in the hand when he was nine during the conflict, sees the bus as a “good way to get over the memory of the war.”

Sonia Nakad said the bus could help “young people realize that war could break out at any time if the ground is ready.”