Rural peripheries, whether in the northern plains of ‘Akkar, in the Beqa‘, or in Southern Lebanon, were left out of economic growth and modernization during the 1950s and 60s. The nation-state model adopted following independence from France in 1943 did not achieve the climate of stability and development aspired to, nor did it provide the milieu that would close the ranks in order to bolster national unity (Kiwan, 2004). The Lebanese economy at the time, as indeed during subsequent decades, continued to revolve around the commercial and fi nancial role of the capital city, Beirut. During the early years of independence, development of economic and service infrastructures favoured the capital ‘while there was near total neglect of other regions in Lebanon’ (Kiwan, 2004, p. 54). Beirut became an important transport, trade and fi nance hub, not only for the Lebanese state but also throughout the entire Arab Middle East. Communities in rural peripheries were left behind the dazzling growth, marginalized by the state. Lebanon became a

land of high social contrasts between levels of resources, modes of consumption and ways

of life that are similar to those of privileged strata in advanced societies, and levels of

deprivation and lack of opportunities that are similar to those of underprivileged strata in

the poorer societies. (Nasr, 2003 p. 153)

Social and economic contrasts between an urbanized centre and rural peripheries were further amplifi ed during the civil war (1975-1990) and in Southern Lebanon throughout the Israeli occupation (1978-2000). Human suff ering and environmental degradation began to be addressed throughout the post-occupation recovery phase when the July 2006 war broke out.