Leadership, or za'ama, is a very particular and recurrent phenomenon in the political and social structure of Lebanon. As such, different parties and political communities offered strong allegiance to the leader figure za'im, particularly the party founder. The strong allegiance to personality cults is clearly visible in the dominance of the leadership theme among the sample of posters produced during wartime Lebanon. As many factions and political communities strove for power on the Lebanese war scene, a number of leaders emerged as the custodians of their own communities.
A leader was commemorated-particularly after his assassination - as the heroic figure and role model that a given party relied on to lend its struggle credibility and continuity. Leaders, their speech immortalized, enter the realm of myth, fixed by their portrait's reference to a frozen ideological moment. The city, the street, and the partisans fall under their watchful gaze. The selection of posters revolves around five prominent leaders that have had considerable representation in political posters: Antun Saadeh (1904-1949), Gamal Abd-el-Nasser (1918-1970), Kamal Jumblatt (1917-1977), Mussa el Sadr (1928-disappeared in 1978) and Bashir Gemayel (1947-1982).
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.