The historical development of secularism and the idea of a civil state in Lebanon has faced numerous challenges and controversies, as Mark Farha details in this thoroughly researched study, Lebanon: The Rise and Fall of a Secular State under Siege. Every Lebanese politician and political organization has, at some point, paid lip service to the idea of a secular civil state, but such a state has yet to be realized. The most ardent proponents of secularism in Lebanon were the Lebanese Communist Party and the Syrian Social Nationalist Party, avowedly secular youth-dominated popular organizations, but other popular organizations also spoke of secularizing the state. In time, these youth-dominated popular organizations, whose early histories are the subject of Dylan Baun's magnificent book, Winning Lebanon: Youth Politics, Populism, and the Production of Sectarian Violence, 1920–1958, “grew up” and became part of a political establishment that was not keen on reform and political change. In their place, an array of new youth-dominated popular organizations, including university student clubs and civil society organizations, have become the standard bearers for secularism. Using Farha's and Baun's works as a broad framework, this article explores secularism and youth politics in Lebanon following the Ṭaʾif Accords.

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