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Beirut: City of Regrets

American photographer Eli Reed documented Beirut's turmoil during the mid 1980s with images of destruction and desperation

Eli Reed

Eli Reed | Beirut: City of Regrets A young Palestinian boy at the Tripoli front. Beirut, Lebanon. November, 1983. © Eli Reed | Magnum Photos
Eli Reed | Beirut: City of Regrets After a break, Palestinian fighters. Beirut, Lebanon. November, 1983. © Eli Reed | Magnum Photos
Eli Reed | Beirut: City of Regrets Palestinian demonstration in the streets of Beddawi refugee camp. Beirut, Lebanon. 1987. © Eli Reed | Magnum Photos
Eli Reed | Beirut: City of Regrets A Palestinian man in the Beddawi refugee camp. Beirut, Lebanon. November, 1983. © Eli Reed | Magnum Photos
Eli Reed | Beirut: City of Regrets Boy with a gun. Palestinian demonstration in the Beddawi refugee camp. Beirut, Lebanon. October, 1983. © Eli Reed | Magnum Photos
Eli Reed | Beirut: City of Regrets Soldier holds weapon as fire burns in background. Beirut, Lebanon. 1983. © Eli Reed | Magnum Photos
Eli Reed | Beirut: City of Regrets A man confronts the remains of his car. Beirut, Lebanon. 1983. © Eli Reed | Magnum Photos
Eli Reed | Beirut: City of Regrets Shia women. Beirut, Lebanon. 1983. © Eli Reed | Magnum Photos
Eli Reed | Beirut: City of Regrets A Druze woman in the suburb of al Shuwayfat. Beirut, Lebanon. October, 1983. © Eli Reed | Magnum Photos
Eli Reed | Beirut: City of Regrets The Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila. Beirut, Lebanon. 1983. © Eli Reed | Magnum Photos
Eli Reed | Beirut: City of Regrets Staff Sergeant Hernandez. Beirut, Lebanon. 1983. © Eli Reed | Magnum Photos
Eli Reed | Beirut: City of Regrets Marine sentry at the U.S. embassy. Beirut, Lebanon. 1983. © Eli Reed | Magnum Photos
Eli Reed | Beirut: City of Regrets Children at the shore's edge. Lebanon. 1983. © Eli Reed | Magnum Photos
Eli Reed | Beirut: City of Regrets Man and a young fighter walk the streets of Beddawi, a Palestinian refugee camp. Beirut, Lebanon. November, 1983. © Eli Reed | Magnum Photos

“My Lebanon experience began in 1982 during my Nieman Fellowship year at Harvard University. I had heard accounts of the 1982 Israeli invasion from journalists visiting the school. The stories compelled me to try to understand how the average Lebanese citizen could survive their days and nights. So I resolved to go and see for myself. I arrived in late September, 1983, relatively wide-eyed with little historical background or perspective. I wandered around and talked to people, viewing the past through their eyes.

I had expected to live and work in Beirut no more than three weeks. Instead I stayed slightly more than four-and-a-half months. I had little down time while I was there, photographing everything and anyone who came near. Beirut is a lovely place of relentlessly advancing ruin. Lebanon holds the history of five thousand years or more of living. We point in silence at the fickle finger of ethical behavior — as if we had the right. What we should do is truly learn from it.” – Eli Reed