The northern part of Neukölln's Sonnenalle is heavily populated by Lebanese owned stores and restaurants. Berlin, May 2017.

Prior to the arrival of Syrians in Berlin, the city’s most overrepresented Arab passport was Lebanese. Many, of course, are held by Palestinians, for whom the ID was a convenient ticket out of the country. But, all the same, a significant number of natives have followed them, for many of the same reasons: escaping the sectarian violence that has plagued the country for the better part of four decades.

The Shi’a organisation Amal is just one of many Lebanese political organisations that have come with them. Though it cares to genuine community needs in Berlin, its general objectives are far more practical.

Similar to Hezbollah and Syrian opposition groups, Amal knows that it must excite Lebanese diasporas in cities like London, Paris and Berlin, in order to link wealthy overseas donors with its activities in Lebanon.

The flyer below is for a festival that marks the ninth anniversary of a period of major violence in Lebanon, at the end of a seventeen-month political deadlock brought on by opposition to former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora. During the crisis, Amal allied with its former rival Hezbollah, and the Free Patriotic Movement, to create a national unity government after the Doha Agreement. The movement was successful, and clearly, Amal has continued to win a propaganda victory from its involvement.

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Amal flyer. Berlin, May 2017.

Amal flyer. Berlin, May 2017.

Nine (years of) Liberation

The Lebanese-German Association of Amal is honoured to invite you to attend the festival of victory and liberation under the auspices and attendance of the representative of the head of the Lebanese Parliament.

President Nabih Bari, head of the executive body of the Amal Movement, Al-Haj Muhammad Nasrallah (Abu Ja’fer), and his Excellency the Lebanese Ambassador to Germany Dr. Mustafa Adeeb, will all be attending. The event will take place on May 12 at 6:30 PM in Imam Sayyid Musa Al-Sadr Al-Thiqafi Centre. This is a public event.

Translated from Arabic by Bilal Ahmed. Photographs courtesy of Joel Schalit.