Lamia Ziade’s Bye Bye Babylon

I just finished reading the graphic memoir Bye Bye Babylon, and loved it. In Maira Kalman-esque pictures, Ziade recreates the lost objects and places of her youth in newly war-torn Beirut, showing us the different military factions, the senseless destruction of buildings, culture, and human life. First, she shows us the bright, bubbly objects of pre-war Beirut:


She then shows the war itself with the same cataloguing impulse, the old bubbling Beirut in the background silently bearing witness:


It’s a gorgeous and heartbreaking book, and a quick read. I’ve heard so many people say they will never understand the Lebanese Civil War. This book does for the Civil War what Persepolis did for Iran’s 1979 revolution. Buy it, or request it for your library.

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