Lecture explores Syrian military security and disappearance of soldiers at end of civil war

York University will host a talk that looks at the Syrian army practice of enforced disappearances of Lebanese soldiers at the end of the Lebanese Civil War in 1990.

The talk, “Enforced Disappearances, Mass Graves and the Politics of DNA in Lebanon,” takes place on Feb. 24 from 10am to noon in the Harry Crowe Room, 109 Atkinson Building.

Roschanack Shaery, co-director of the Syrian Occupation Archives in Lebanon (SOAL), will deliver the talk.

She will discuss the Syrian military security used to transfer thousands of Palestinian and Lebanese citizens over the border and detain them in its notorious prisons.

Families of these disappeared crossed the border to Syria in search of the victims and some even managed to find their loved ones. However, in 2005 when a mass grave was opened in Lebanon, bodies of some of these disappeared soldiers were found there. While DNA tests were used to identify the bodies, the tests were also indicative of other state practices.

The focus of the presentation is to explore the tensions between state citizen relations in a complex story of enforced disappearance across borders in Lebanon and Syria.

Shaery (PhD, University of Chicago) is a specialist on Shi’ite Lebanon and author of the similarly titled volume Shi’ite Lebano: Transnational Religion and The Making of National Identities (Columbia University Press, 2008). She held a post-doctoral research position at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity at the University of Göttingen and is currently the co­-director of SOAL.

All are welcome to attend the talk.

The event is presented by the Departments of Sociology, Anthropology, the Religious Studies program and YCAR, with support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).