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University of Balamand > Academics > Research > Seminars > Jonathan Hall

Materializing Mourning and Forgiveness in the Reconstruction of Beirut

Thursday, December 13, 2007 from 12:30PM to 2:00 PM at the Jacobo Auditorium

SUBMITTED BY: Dr. Jonathan Hall
University of Balamand

ABSTRACT: In a number of ways Martyrs' Square in the center of Beirut is a political space that materializes mourning. The wounded figures of the martyrs´ monument memorialize the square as a recurrent scene of violence. Many recent protests meanwhile have transformed mourning into political action. By contrast, alongside the square, the Garden of Forgiveness is being constructed among excavated ruins to publicly materialize an ethical response to violence that has religious rather than political roots. This paper examines the tension between mourning and forgiveness that will be materialized within the center of Beirut when this garden sits alongside the square. Jacques Derrida´s work on hospitality and forgiveness is used to ask how such ethics may be materialized within the political space of the city. Does the ethics of forgiveness have a place in among the political uses of mourning? How does ethics appear within the polis?
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