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The eternal waltz of Beirut

Rute Coelho*

The images of the explosions at the port of Beirut this week immediately referred me to an Israeli film of autobiographical animation that is practically a documentary: “Waltz with Bashir” (2008), by Ari Folman.

The brain’s mechanism fetching seemingly unrelated facts from a drawer is fascinating. For what connection can there be between poorly packaged ammonium nitrate in a port in the Lebanese capital and the massacres in the Palestinian camps of Sabra and Chatila, on the southern outskirts of Beirut, in 1982, remembered by the film? Apparently, none.

Only this: that of Beirut, former Paris of the Middle East, as a martyr city. In the film, there are some unforgettable images like the arrival of Israeli soldiers on the seafront of the capital of Lebanon and the beautiful song by the Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD) “Enola Gay” to the sound of which the Israeli military dance on a ship.


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