Al Jazeera World – Lebanon: Fighters to Bikers
This is the story of four bikers who fought on different sides of the Lebanese Civil War but who’ve now found friendship and a common cause in the local Harley-Davidson Club – which they founded. The fifteen-year war between 1975 and 1990 divided communities along sectarian lines, split a country and left deep scars.
George Greige is Maronite, Marwan Tarraf Shia, Jamal Kahwaji Sunni and Ghassan Haider is Druze.
The four now reflect on the senselessness of war, the dangers of power and greed; and their common passion for their saving grace…the Harley.
They say they fought in the war not out of deep personal conviction but because they felt they had to pick a side and defend themselves.
“At a crucial age we found ourselves in an atmosphere of war,” explains Ghassan Haidar. “We had to take part in the war to protect ourselves. Everyone was armed, regardless of their age. So why not us?”
The war involved a mix of local, irregular militias, both Muslim and Christian – as well as the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) which arguably also drove a wedge between communities. The different factions were backed by regional and international powers that flooded the country with arms.
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