April 13, 2010 marks the 35th anniversary of the start of the Lebanese Civil War. This year, the two opposing political camps in Lebanon – March 8 and March 14 — chose to remember this day in a friendly football game in a show of solidarity.
Lebanon’s three top leaders — President Michel Suleiman, Prime Minister Saad Hariri and Speaker Nabih Berri — were invited to play on Tuesday at 6:30pm at Beirut’s Sportive City.
Only Hariri, however, was said to participate in the match that aims to promote civil peace.
All 30 Cabinet ministers and lawmakers from both the majority March 14 coalition and the Hizbullah-led March 8 alliance as well as ambassadors, security chiefs and presidents of Lebanese sports associations were also invited to the game under the emblem “we are all one team.”
Among the players in the 30-minute match were the following ministers and MPs: Ali Abdullah Ziad Baroud, Jebran Bassil, Mohammed Rahhal, Akram Shehayeb, Simon Abi Ramia, Ibrahim Kanaan, Ghassan Mukhaiber, Fadi Aawar, Alain Aoun, Ali Ammar, Serge Torsarkissian, Nadime Gemayel, Sami Gemayel and Ali Miqdad.
The Sports Commission announced in a statement that the game, organized by the Sports and Youth ministry, will take place without spectators.
Meanwhile, Farah al-Ata, Arabic for “Joy of Giving” association, in cooperation with the education ministry and a number of public and private schools as well as NGOs, is organizing an activity under the title “Peace amongst us or peace on Lebanon.”
In a related event, families of civil war-era missing will also pursue their cause in hopes of putting an end to the issue.