Interview: From Militia Commander to Peacebuilder

By Ian Quick

Assaad Chaftari is best-known in Lebanon for an open letter in 2000, in which he apologized for what he’d done with the Lebanese Forces, a prominent Christian militia responsible for its share of atrocities.

This has been followed by nearly twenty years of philanthropic work. Much of it has been in partnership with other former combatants, through the organisation Fighters for Peace. He has also been involved with a range of initiatives seeking to unblock social dialogue more broadly.

In this interview, Ian Quick from Rethink Fragility looks back at his experience and asks:

  • What prompted that radical change in perspective, while atrocities were still ongoing?

  • How did he keep moving forward despite the reactions of most of his former comrades?

  • Looking back thirty years, what does change look like in Lebanon? What are his realistic expectations for how younger generations will come to see the world?

Rethink Fragility is an oral history of conflicts, crises, and the aid business. It is hosted by Ian D. Quick, an independent consultant and writer.

Photp: Rethink Fragility

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