Perspectives Middle East #7: Rumours

Heinrich Böll Stiftung | 2015

Anyone who has been affected by rumours is familiar with their unhallowed dynamics, and the serious consequences they can entail. Rumours fulfil social functions. They serve as a medium through which unfulfilled hopes or unspecific fears can be voiced. They bond and drive a wedge between people and population groups at the same time. They can destroy reputations, credibility and even lives. In this issue, Hiba Haidar shares her memories of a day in 1975, a day on which a rumour changed her life. Journalist and documentary filmmaker Christina Foerch Saab reports on interviews conducted with combatants from different factions in the Lebanese Civil War, which focus on the role rumours play in psychological warfare. Haid Haid explains how rumours about the Syrian presidential elections persuaded Syrians in Lebanon to vote - even those who viewed the elections as illegitimate. Syrian authors Mohammad Dibo, and Dima Wannous describe how the past and present political climates in Syria have shaped the development of, and belief in rumours. The Syrian intellectual Yassin Al Haj Saleh shares his experiences of how rumours of their imminent release haunted political prisoners and their family members.

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