Posted by: sean | May 20, 2009

Lebanese Poster Archives

1977 PSP posterI was doing some research the other day and found out that Jafet Library at AUB has an archive of political posters from the 1960’s through the 1980’s. The collection is not as extensive as the one to be found in Zeina Maasri’s excellent collection of posters from the civil war, but there are some excellent images nonetheless. Just browsing, this one caught my eye. (Maasri says it’s from the Communist Party in 1977, although I’m pretty sure that’s a mistake, since pretty much any poster with Jumblatt on it must be for the PSP.) It says, “Against Imperialism and Zionism,” and from left to right and top to bottom, you can see Kamal Joumblatt, Gamal Abdel Nasser, Patrice Lumumba, Che Guevara, Ho Chi Minh and what might be a younger Yassir Arafat, all done up in Andy Worhol fashion. (I’m very unsure about Arafat, because it doesn’t look much like him to me, but I can’t figure out who it’s supposed to be, so if you have any ideas, let me know in comments.)

UPDATE: Nadia in the comments suggests, based on a Turkish site, that it’s Tanios Chahine, the leader of the Maronite peasant rebellion in Kesrouan in the 19th century. I can’t find any pictures of him, but it’s clear that that doesn’t look like an even really, really bad picture of Arafat. One of my students guessed Chahine as well, so that’s two votes more than anyone else.



  1. Kamal Jumblatt was pretty well respected in the LCP (and legalized the party in 1970 when he was sec of the Interior) and was killed the year the poster came out, so it can definitely be an LCP poster. (on the AUB website though, it’s categorized as PSP, so who knows hahaha)

    That’s definitely not Arafat. I did some googling and according to this it’s supposed to be Tanois Chahine, who led the Maronite peasant revolt in Mount Lebanon in 1858?

  2. Typo in the last post – Tanios (not Tanois) Chahine

  3. Ahlan w Sahlan, ya Nadia.

    Hah, my first instinct was to see what Basha el-Atrash looked like, since he might have fit in, but he apparently doesn’t look anything like that. (Gigantic mustache, for the record.)

    The only Tanios I’m familiar with is Tanios-Kichk, and I don’t speak Turkish, so I can’t really verify the find. As for the LCP, you’re right, but given Jumblatt’s prominence and the fact that it’s classified with the PSP posters in the online archive, I’m betting on them rather than the communists.

  4. Ahlank bik! I could not find a picture of Tanios Chahine to verify (used g-translate for the link). I think though for a political poster wouldn’t they use someone with a more recognizable face? Then again, a blacksmith who lead a revolt against feudal lords and established a “peasant republic”? Sounds about right. HAHA

  5. Yeah, furthermore, I’m not sure how likely it is that Tanios Chahine was an anti-Zionist, considering the time period.

    And I agree about the face recognition, but then again, I’m often surprised about these sorts of things. There are many rural Alabamians in the US who can still recognize the face of Jeff Davis, for example.

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