“This would be enough for me. A second of hesitation when the drums of war start playing. One second of hesitation.”

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Episode notes

Assaad is best-known in Lebanon for an open letter in 2000, in which he apologised for what he’d done with the Lebanese Forces, a prominent Christian militia responsible for its share of atrocities.

This has been followed by nearly twenty years of philanthropic work. Much of it has been in partnership with other former combatants, through the organisation Fighters for Peace. He has also been involved with a range of initiatives seeking to unblock social dialogue more broadly.

We look back at his experience and ask:

  • What prompted that radical change in perspective, while atrocities were still ongoing?
  • How did he keep moving forward despite the reactions of most of his former comrades?
  • Looking back thirty years, what does change look like in Lebanon? What are his realistic expectations for how younger generations will come to see the world?