Look at this guy… Why does he need to look so ugly? the Islamist type is serving as template to symbolize militias! This is part of a campaign (surely Leo Burnet and the billboards provided by Picasso), to ‘build’ some kind of ‘awareness’ about the fact that the different Lebanese factions are arming themselves and are getting ready to play the civil war game again (le3bet el dama to refer to the famous sketch played by Ziad Rahbani and Jean Chamoun on Saout el Shaab Radio in the mid seventies right after the Syrian entered to help the Christian factions).
There is something completely surreal in the visual effect of this billboard. I’m still trying to work out the social dynamics of it, but one thing is sure advertising companies in Lebanon have for a while became a third (after the State and the Confesssional/sectarian) disciplinary institution, but in this case a very perverse one: As its moral program does not have any ‘practical’ implication (it does not change in any way the lives of people, their habits, dispositions, etc.) its materially empty discursive production can at best create schizophrenic attitudes among people (something to be observed in itself).
Here is the article from which this picture is taken from, a set of rumors and investigations on the different re-armings of the Lebanese population from loyalist and opposition side in the Iklim al Kharoub region. Basically, according to the various people the journalist interviewed in these villages, Hariri partisans are getting training through private security and organizations while Hizbullah is said to create a parallel military apparatus for internal conflict purposes.
By the way, talking of Rahbani and Chamoun’s sketches, please check this most funny passage illustrating a conversation taking place on a plane coming back to Beirut from the US (again mid-70s after the Syrian entry). So many things in this conversation… some things remain unchanged.