Bridging the Sectarian Divide: Grassroots Action In The Middle East

As we reflect upon the growing unrest and sectarian strife in the Middle East, at first glance it seems so difficult to find signs of hope. Consider, for example, the situation in Tripoli, one of Lebanon’s most divided cities, where sectarian antagonism chokes civic society and precludes the intermingling of Alewites, Sunni’s and Druze among others.  That Lebanon is the most religiously diverse country in the Middle East makes the situation on the ground, as it currently stands, even more devastating and far-reaching.

But there is hope.  And not surprisingly, it is the younger generation that are pointing the way to a new future, where inclusion is the watchword.  Journeyman Pictures has made an excellent short film focusing in on two young rappers/hip-hoppers and how their innovative project is providing a powerful message that religion and ethnicity should be no barriers to genuine friendship and co-operation.  One is a Sunni, the other Alawite, inhabiting different warring neighbourhoods, their love of music and dance transcends all man-made boundaries.

“We present to people the art of Tripoli. An art that has never been about guns, bullets, killing, blood or wars“, says one of the young men. “They sing for women’s rights, the environment, children, Tripoli against sectarianism and violence.” says another.

May there be many more like them, following their example and seeking innovative ways to promote peace and understanding.  The world is a better place because of them.

You can watch the film here:

One response to “Bridging the Sectarian Divide: Grassroots Action In The Middle East”

  1. Lebanon is such a remarkable and beautiful place; I’ve only been once (just a couple of weeks after 9-11, which made the tourist sites much quieter than usual…), but it’s amazing. How do we create peace? It’s not all about compromise, but about finding common ground. Compromise is often building bridges across the sky and hoping that they meet up in the middle. Common ground is coming down from the peaks and visiting our neighbours directly in the valleys that separate us. The sad thing about thinking in terms of states (especially in the Middle East) is that the winners get to define the state, and the losers automatically become outsiders, even if they’ve lived where they have lived for many generations. We need to learn to coexist, whether we are religious or not.


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