The Rise of Aoun and His Movement (1988–1990)

  • Joseph P. Helou
Part of the Reform and Transition in the Mediterranean book series (RTM)


This chapter discusses the early signs of support for Michel Aoun in the period 1988–1990. It finds that a segment of the Lebanese population experienced personal motivations and wartime grievances that made them willing to join the ranks of the supportive pro-Aoun movement being formed then. It shows that Aoun’s use of simple language in speeches and his position as army commander won him the support of a predominantly (but not exclusively) Christian following who were craving order. His public appearances incubated a pro-Aoun movement expressing secular nationalistic ideas, which sharply contrasted with the sectarian discourse of the militias prevailing during the Lebanese Civil War.


  1. Abi Antoun, N. Interview by this author. 2014. Beirut, September 23.Google Scholar
  2. Achkar, W. Interview by this author. 2014. Jounieh, October 15.Google Scholar
  3. Aoun, N. Interview by this author. 2014. Awkar, September 18.Google Scholar
  4. Assouad, Z. Interview by this author. 2014. Jounieh, October 10.Google Scholar
  5. Azzam, P. Interview by this author. 2014. Beirut, October 9.Google Scholar
  6. Benford, R. D., and D. A. Snow. 1988. “Ideology, Frame Resonance, and Participant Mobilization.” International Social Movement Research 1: 197–218.Google Scholar
  7. Benford, R. D., and D. A. Snow. 1992. “Master Frames and Cycles of Protest.” In Frontiers in Social Movement Theory, 133–155. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Chakour, L. Interview by this author. 2014. Jbeil, September 29.Google Scholar
  9. Chlela, R. Interview by this author. 2014. Jounieh, October 29.Google Scholar
  10. Davies, J. 1962. “Towards a Theory of Revolution.” American Sociological Review 27: 5–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Elefteriades, M. Interview by this author. 2014. Beirut, September 8.Google Scholar
  12. ElKhoury, P. Interview by this author. 2014. Dbayeh, October 1.Google Scholar
  13. ElKhoury, R. Interview by this author. 2014. Jounieh, September 26.Google Scholar
  14. Goffman, E. 1974. Frame Analysis. Boston: Northeastern University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Gurr, T. R. 1970. Why Men Rebel. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Hanf, T. 1993. Coexistence in Wartime Lebanon. London: I.B. Tauris.Google Scholar
  17. Hanna, E. Interview by this author. 2014. Rabieh, October 16.Google Scholar
  18. Harris, W. A. 1997. Faces of Lebanon: Sects, Wars, and Global Extensions. Princeton: Marcus Wiener.Google Scholar
  19. Jenkins, J. C., and C. Parrow. 1977. “Insurgency of the Powerless: Farm Worker Movements (1946–1972).” American Sociological Review 42 (2): 249–268.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kanj, R. Interview by this author. 2014. Beirut, September 19.Google Scholar
  21. Klandermans, B., M. Roefs, and J. Olivier. 2001. “Grievance Formation in a Country in Transition: South Africa, 1994–1998.” Social Psychology Quarterly 64 (1): 41–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Laurent, A. 1991. “A War Between Brothers: The Army–Lebanese Forces Showdown in East Beirut.” The Beirut Review 1 (1): 88–101.Google Scholar
  23. Martin, J. 1986. “The Tolerance of Injustice”. In Relative Deprivation and Social Comparison: The Ontario Symposium, vol. 4, edited by J. M. Olson, C. Peter Herman, and M. P. Zanna, 217–242. Mahwah: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  24. McAdam, D. 1988. Freedom Summer. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  25. McVeigh, R., D. J. Myers, and D. Sikkink. 2004. “Corn, Klansmen, and Coolidge: Structure and Framing in Social Movements.” Social Forces 83 (2): 653–690.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Raffoul, P. Interview by this author. 2014. Beirut, October 2.Google Scholar
  27. Raffoul, P. G. 1994. The Betrayal of Lebanon. Translated by G. S. Khoury. Victoria: The Lebanese Coordination Bureau of Victoria.Google Scholar
  28. Runciman, W. J. 1966. Relative Deprivation and Social Justice. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  29. Salem, E. E. 2003. Constructing Lebanon: A Century of Literary Narratives. Gainesville: University Press of Florida.Google Scholar
  30. Salem, P. 1996. “Two Years of Living Dangerously: General Aoun and the Precarious Rise of Lebanon’s ‘Second Republic’.” The Beirut Review 1 (1): 62–87.Google Scholar
  31. Salloukh, B. F., R. Barakat, J. S. Al-Habbal, L. W. Khattab, S. Mikaelian, and A. Nerguizian. 2015. The Politics of Sectarianism in Postwar Lebanon. London: Pluto Press.Google Scholar
  32. Snow, D. A., and R. D. Benford. 2000. “Framing Processes and Social Movements: An Overview and Assessment.” Annual Review of Sociology 26: 611–639.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Snow, D. A., and S. A. Soule. 2010. A Primer on Social Movements. New York: W. W. Norton.Google Scholar
  34. Tarraf, R. Interview by this author. 2014. Hadath, September 11.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joseph P. Helou
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Social SciencesLebanese American UniversityBeirutLebanon

Personalised recommendations