We Decided To Let Them Say “We Are Convinced” Twice. It Was More Convincing This Way. In the summer of 1982, I stood along with others in a parking lot across from my mother’s apartment in East Beirut, and watched the Israeli land, air, and sea assault on West Beirut. The PLO along with their Lebanese and Syrian allies retaliated, as best they could. East Beirut welcomed the invasion, or so it seemed, and that much is certain. West Beirut resisted it, or so it seemed, and that much is certain. One day, my mother even accompanied me to the hills around Beirut to photograph the invading Israeli army stationed there. Soldiers rested their bodies and their weapons as they waited for their next orders to attack, retreat or stay put. I was 15 in 1982, and wanted to get as close as possible to the events, or as close as my newly acquired camera and lens permitted me that summer. This past year, I came upon my carefully preserved negatives from that time. I decided to look again.
Walid Raad grew up in Lebanon and now lives and works in the U.S. His works include textual analysis and video and photography projects, and concentrate on the Lebanese civil wars, the Arab-Israeli conflicts, and documentary theory and practice. His videoworks include Up To The South (with Jayce Salloum), and the recently completed collection of video shorts titled, The Dead Weight of Quarrel Hangs. His photography projects include The Beirut Archive—an ongoing documentary photography project of post-civil war Beirut. Walid is also a member of the Arab Image Foundation, started in 1996 to promote historical research of the visual culture of the Arab world, and to promote experimental video production in the region.
Winner of the 2007 Alpert Award for Visual Arts from the Herb Alpert Foundation