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- 04 -242015

“One hundred years of photography in the French Armed Forces”. Fourteenth episode. The Beirut Barracks Bombings, October 23, 1983 by Joël Brun

The Lebanese civil war had already be going on for seven years when the west intervened in Beirut in 1982, as part of a UN peacekeeping force.

MA BA 100ansphoto14 1 20150331 300x203 “One hundred years of photography in the French Armed Forces. Fourteenth episode. The Beirut Barracks Bombings, October 23, 1983 by Joël Brun

MA BA 100ansphoto14 2 20150331 300x202 “One hundred years of photography in the French Armed Forces. Fourteenth episode. The Beirut Barracks Bombings, October 23, 1983 by Joël BrunOn the morning of 23 October 1983, the eight-storey Drakkar building housing French troops was targeted by an attack that caused the deaths of 58 French parachutists and the Lebanese caretaker’s family. The MA BA 100ansphoto14 3 20150331 300x200 “One hundred years of photography in the French Armed Forces. Fourteenth episode. The Beirut Barracks Bombings, October 23, 1983 by Joël Brunsame day, another attack killed 250 American soldiers. Rescue workers searched the ruins of the building for four days and nights, looking for survivors and the bodies of the victims.

Like a forensic identification officer, Joël Brun, a military photographer, shows the attack site in detail, the search operations, the extraction and evacuation of bodies and the collection of clues to the victim’s identities. While collecting the parachutists’ badges and identity discs helped with identification, the photograph taken by Joël Brun also has a symbolic dimension of posthumous homage

MA BA 100ansphoto14 4 20150331 300x201 “One hundred years of photography in the French Armed Forces. Fourteenth episode. The Beirut Barracks Bombings, October 23, 1983 by Joël Brun

Attributed to Hezbollah or Iran, the attack led to military reprisals, including the aerial bombardment of barracks in the Bekaa plain. The trauma was keenly felt in the French contingent and the memory remains bitter today; all the more so in that the reasons and method of the attack are still difficult to grasp. Western troops left Lebanon in 1984.

Photos credits : © ECPAD / Joël Brun

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