Veronica Ferreri is a postdoctoral fellow at the Zentrum Moderner Orient in Berlin. She completed her Ph.D. in politics at SOAS, University of London, with a dissertation titled “A State of Permanent Loss. War and Displacement in Syria and Lebanon.” At the intersection of legal anthropology and migration studies, her work examines the predicament of war, exile, and revolution experienced by a Syrian community through the prism of loss. Her current research project “Paper Trails and Dislocated Bureaucracy” aims to revisit the concept of state archive in the midst of war by treating Syrian official documents as testimonies of a disappearing past.
An Uncertain Return: Violence, documents, and legal death in the Syrian displacement in Lebanon
This paper examines the trajectory of displacement experienced by a Syrian community originally from Homs countryside and displaced in Lebanon. By tracing the origin of the community’s forced displacement, this paper investigates how this specific genealogy of displacement affects community’s life in Lebanon and their future return to Syria. In fact, community’s expulsion from Syria not only resulted in the illegal crossing of the Syrian-Lebanese border but also in the loss of official documents. This loss produced a distinctive (legal) predicament, legal death, that cannot be fully grasped by the community’s illegal status in Lebanon––a country that does not recognize the Geneva Refugee Convention. By drawing on a long-term ethnographic fieldwork started in 2014, this paper demonstrates how legal death ambiguously lies between citizenship and statelessness in Syria becoming symptomatic of the uncertainties, if not impossibility, of the community to return home due to its involvement in the 2011 Revolution.
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