Transforming Conflict and Stigmatization through the Love and War Tour

Tripoli, Lebanon’s second-largest city, has long been plagued by social unrest and sectarian clashes between the communities of Jabal Mohsen and Beb El Tebbeneh. These conflicts and recurring clashes which have ended with a ceasefire in 2014, have not only resulted in physical damage but also contributed to the neglect and marginalization of some of the city’s most culturally and historically significant neighborhoods and landmarks. Additionally, the area has suffered from negative stigmatization due to its association with violence and conflict. 

In efforts to address these challenges and promote positive change, MARCH has launched its innovative social initiative known as “The Love & War Tour” in the aim of reviving economic sustainability, promoting tourism, countering stigmatization and fostering social cohesion. 

Featuring Kahwetna and the Love & War Tour on Lebanon’s Local Tourist Map 

In a momentous event on Thursday, July 6, 2023, the once contentious demarcation lines of Jabal Mohsen and Beb El Tebbeneh in Tripoli were officially recognized on Lebanon’s tourist map, marking a remarkable journey of unity, reconciliation, and resilience. The ceremony, held at Kahwetna, MARCH’s cultural hub on Syria Street in Beb El-Tebbeneh, brought together esteemed guests including government officials, media personalities, and influencers.

During the ceremony, Mr. Walid Nassar, the Minister of Tourism, made a groundbreaking announcement, officially incorporating the “Love & War” trail and “Kahwetna” center into Lebanon’s tourist attractions. This initiative seeks to showcase the rich cultural heritage of these areas to both local and international visitors, while also revitalizing the economy of marginalized communities.

The “Love & War” tour is led by ex-rival fighters, who now stand united in their commitment to building a better future. This immersive experience allows visitors to delve into the center and hear firsthand accounts of untold stories and experiences that were overshadowed by past conflicts. By breaking down stereotypes and fostering understanding, these initiatives are paving the way for a brighter and more harmonious future for Tripoli and beyond.

At the heart of this transformative movement lies Kahwetna, a cultural hub that has served as a catalyst for change since its establishment in 2016. Bringing together former adversaries from Jabal Mohsen and Beb El Tebbeneh, Kahwetna has been instrumental in promoting culture, education, and community development. Through its efforts, individuals who once stood on opposite sides of conflict have emerged as champions of peace and agents of positive change in their communities.

In the face of adversity, MARCH continues to demonstrate the power of unity and resilience through its initiatives and transformative work. 

Check out these testimonials from some of the Love & War visitors!