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Lebanese urged to ‘turn the page’ on war anniversary

Lebanese newspapers published front-page appeals Wednesday for readers to “turn the page” on sectarian divisions

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Lebanese newspapers published front-page appeals Wednesday for readers to “turn the page” on sectarian divisions that persist more than four decades after the outbreak of the country’s civil war.

On April 13, 1975, clashes erupted in Beirut between Lebanese Christians and Palestinians, marking the beginning of the 15-year war that left more than 150,000 dead.

Although the conflict officially ended in 1990, Lebanon remained plagued by instability, corruption, and bitterly divided political factions.

“April 13: turn the page,” read the boldface headline on the front page of Wednesday’s French-language Lebanese daily, L’Orient Le Jour.

“The Lebanese are therefore called to turn the page on conflicts and internal strife, not to fall into denial... but to adopt an approach based on reconciliation,” it wrote.

Lebanon’s war ravaged the country and left 17,000 people missing, but an amnesty allowed many of its key protagonists to subsequently become leading political figures.

Continued rivalries among those figures has paralyzed government institutions: Lebanon’s parliament has twice extended its own mandate and the presidency has been vacant for nearly two years.

Above a composite picture depicting iconic Lebanese landmarks, cultural events, and ski slopes, An-Nahar also asked its readers on Wednesday to “turn the page”.

“You’re fragmented and sectarian. You think of your Lebanon... your religious sect, your interests. So how can you say that you want to turn the page?” read its editorial section.

And Al-Mustaqbal encouraged its Lebanese readers to “turn the page again. Let’s build a nation of love and peace.”

The As-Safir daily, which faces possible closure due to funding challenges, published the same headline alongside a story about Lebanese women whose sons went missing during the war.