A Diamond’s Eye View of the World

a multi-faceted look at the middle east, and the middle west

Beirut before the war

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on August 26, 2007

Thanks to some recent idle Google searches I discovered a fascinating collection of photographs taken in Lebanon in 1965. Charles Cushman bequeathed his photography collection to Indiana University, his alma mater, upon his death in 1972; the university has added his photographs to its digital archives, accessible online as the Charles W. Cushman Photography Collection.

While the captions make me a bit uncomfortable (Cushman refers to the Lebanese who appear in his street scenes as “natives” and “Arabs”), the photographs are stunning – a fascinating record of Beirut before the war.

I had no idea, for example, that traffic used to run through Parliament Square:

parliament-square-cushman.jpg

Nor did I realize that so much of what I think of as Beirut’s post-war faded grandeur – the cracking facades, the dirty stones, etc. – was part of pre-war Beirut as well. (Of course, the bullet and mortar holes are definitely post-war.)

The collection is well worth a perusal. There are 90 photographs from Beirut and its environs, and another 40 from Baalbek, Jbeil and around.

One Response to “Beirut before the war”

  1. Summer said

    i will be back to your blog to read more. i love your pictures. thanks for sharing!

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