The Lebanese Military Museum, dedicated for the preservation of old Lebanese military antiques, is located at the Ministry of National Defense, in Yarzeh, a village southeast of Beirut in Lebanon. Near the entrance to the Ministry of National Defense, is an enormous conglomerated tower of real tanks, artillery pieces, mortars and armored vehicles, sandwiched between thick layers of concrete. The 5,000-ton imposing monument that resembles a shelled building rises 30 meters and contains as many as 78 vehicles. It was designed by French-born American artist Armand Fernandez in 1995 and is entitled “The Hope for Peace.” It is a remarkable reflection of the image of a city which had long been reduced to the vision of buildings in ruins.
The idea for this sculpture was on Armand Fernandez’s mind for a long time. According to the Independent, he originally offered his armored monument to the city of Strasbourg during D-Day celebrations in the early 1970s. NY Times says he even tried it on the United States, but it cost too much. When France refused, Fernandez offered his work to the Israelis in 1983, a year after Israel invaded Lebanon, which resulted in the death of 17,500 civilians. But the offer was once again declined. The monument was accepted by Lebanon who then decided to unveil it at the 50th anniversary of the birth of the Lebanese army.
After the end of the 15-year Lebanese civil war in 1990, the country found themselves with a surplus of military hardware, which it willingly gathered for Fernandez’s concrete pyramid. Each gun and tank and mobile artillery piece was welded to the interior structure amid sandbags and concrete. The rusting armored vehicles were then painted in fresh camouflage paint.
“This sculpture expresses a hope for peace,” Arman told the crowd during its unveiling. “The work symbolizes the end of Lebanon's 1975-90 civil war by embedding the tanks and other military vehicles in concrete to eradicate their original use and render them forever still and silent. It is also a warning for those who still desire to make war. By seeing the arms embedded in concrete, they will tend to think twice because Lebanon has suffered a lot and it is time to be friends again.”
Most of Armand Fernandez’s previous works are characterized by the accumulation and assemblage of objects. Before Fernandez built “The Hope for Peace”, he built a similar monument with cars. It is called “Long Term Parking” and is located at the Château de Montcel in Jouy-en-Josas, France. This 20 meters high sculpture consists of nearly 60 cars, mostly French, stacked on top of each other and set in 18 tons of concrete. It was created in 1982.
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