Posted by: sean | November 20, 2010


The Organization of Communist Action in Lebanon. Martyrs, resisting the occupation, defending the nation's land. The Land is Ours.

I know that hindsight is 20/20, but I couldn’t help but laugh when I read this about Shi’a sectarian militias in a piece on “The Progressive Forces” by Aziz Al-Azmeh in an  excellent collection of essays on the budding civil war from back in 1976:

Attempts to set up sectarian Shi’i organizations were very short lived. The “Movement of the Disinherited” of the Imam Musa as-Sadr, as well as his military organization, Fityan Ali, had hardly got beyond a few mass rallies when the Shi’is decided they did not want to star in a bad melodrama and opted for the leadership of men like George Hawi of the CP [Communist Party] … or Fawwaz Trabulsi, of the OCAL [Ogranization of Communist Action in Lebanon]…

And then later:

There was bitter organizational rivalry and differences between the two groups [CP and OCAL] at the outset, but the civil war brought them into close cooperation, and the OCAL has grown considerably during the war, supplanting the  influence of Imam Sadr both in the South and in the suburbs of Beirut.

My how times, they have changed…

The  poster is from the wonderful collection of political posters at AUB’s Jafet Library.



  1. Somewhat off-topic, but you should read Azmeh’s Islams and Modernities if you have not.

  2. I’ve got it on the shelf but haven’t had the time to get to it lately. He was here recently for a colloquium on fascism and the Arab world if my memory serves, but I couldn’t make it because I had work.

  3. He taught at AUB from like 2000-3. I think Syrian by birth, and quite possibly an AUB grad. Wicked smart in the way of those who speak their third language better than I speak my first.

  4. Don’t you know is it possible to found “Essays on the Crisis in Lebanon” somewhere in the internet?

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