Burning tires: Symbol of conflict to sign of peace

Story highlights

  • A Lebanese activist group has been painting tires to promote peace and national unity
  • Tires, piled and burned to create road blocks, are a symbol of Lebanon's conflicts
  • The group, based in Hezbollah's heartland, uses art to lure youth away from sectarianism
  • It was founded to help young people traumatized by the 2006 conflict with Israel
With years of bloodshed in its recent past, Lebanon doesn't want for symbols of conflict. But if one image conjures up the country's fractious political climate better than any other, it's the burning tire.
A common sight during the civil war that ravaged the country from 1975 to 1990, these impromptu roadblocks have re-appeared with regularity in the decades since, whenever flashpoints arise between Lebanon's diverse religious communities, or grievances swell up against the government or army.
But an activist group in the country's Hezbollah-dominated south is reclaiming what has become a wearying symbol of division and conflict, and is recasting it as a symbol of national dialogue.
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