Martyrdom is an omnipresent theme characterizing the subject matter of a large number of wartime posters. The age-old language of martyrdom is laden with emotional symbols of courage, self-sacrifice, nobility, and righteousness. While the glorification of martyrs has mostly been attributed to historical leaders, the posters presented in this section praise the partisans fallen during the course of the war. In their most basic function, martyr posters act as public obituaries. The martyr poster is issued by a political party acting as the 'family' of the deceased to inform about the loss of one of its members and to honor them as martyrs.
Political parties competed among themselves in the declaration of their individual share of zealous participation at the battlefront by proclaiming the amount of martyrs this or that party had 'offered' up to the common cause of the front. This became more pronounced when parties proclaimed their martyrs in collective form through a single poster. The party as such honors its martyrs with the nobility of a cause in as much as it glorifies the party through the number of martyrs fallen in its name.
The poignant character of martyr posters is rather unavoidable since they confront us with the massive number of people ready to lay down their lives. Each poster repeatedly asserts the death of a person: you see the face, read the name, date of birth and passing. The martyr posters are striking in their immediacy. While the other theme posters might be compelling in their idealized political rhetoric of noble causes, heroic endeavors and mythical leaders, the martyr posters proclaim that these narratives were very 'real' to those who died in their cause.
Organized into separate thematic keywords, this part represents the core of the exhibition. It displays posters according to recurrent subjects of communication across the different political factions and war phases: Belonging, Commemoration, Leadership and Martyrdom.
The exhibit reveals the weight each of these themes, and corresponding sub-themes, has held in the discursive frameworks of Lebanon's civil war. The thematic arrangement provides a comparative viewing of the signs and iconography across parties. It thus allows us to observe the antagonistic discourses and disparate visual representations around the same theme.