October 17 and Beyond : Crisis Reportage and the Birth of Literary and Experimental Journalism in Lebanon



Year of publication 2022
Type Chapter of a book
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description Lebanon’s fate has historically been tied to its unfortunate geopolitical conditions of existence that have caused persistent sectarian and confederate divisions. The civil unrest that has recently transpired has been described by many as the first genuine citizen revolution against a corrupt ruling class that has presided over the country’s resources for decades. This chapter demonstrates the impact of the unrest on the development of Lebanese narrative journalism as seen in contemporary publications by the newspaper al-Akhbar and the magazine Re?la. A close study of samples from the two periodicals shows that, when reporting specifically on the October 17 uprising and the explosion in the port of Beirut, a proclivity to forego journalistic formalities and assertiveness prevails. I identify some of the narrative devices that the journalists at al-Akhbar and Re?la employ, and argue that these devices sustain an equilibrium between two realities: the recognition of the limitation of language in face of unbearable suffering, and an overzealous desire to “de-mythify” the social fabric of the country. I infer that the analyzed samples denote the emergence of a distinctive kind of short-form literary journalism in Lebanon, one that may have opened the doors for boundary-breaking and experimentation in a country that has sacralized tradition for as long as it has existed.
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