There has been much fanfare about the removal of political signs and posters from Beirut, as part of a reported reconciliation deal between the parties/militias/old men that run this country. I have to admit, I was surprised to see the decades-old Amal mural painted over on Spears Street.
The Daily Star reported that Hezbollah had even removed posters of martyrs in Saida, though advertisements for the party’s museum remain up.
But what the Star didn’t report is that as posters came down for some groups, a massive billboard campaign went up commemorating the life of slain prime minister Rafik Hariri. The billboards promoted a political rally for his party that would be held on the day of his assassination last week.
The billboards are literally ubiquitous across the city. From downtown:
The northern suburbs:
Multiple images on the same panel:
Even three billboards on one street:
I wonder if this campaign was excluded from the reconciliation deal and why.
Look out for my column next month in Bold Magazine for more on Beirut’s history with political posters, how the latest crackdown compares to previous removal campaigns and what is often left out of the process.