Born in 1936, Hassan Hamdan left Lebanon 20 years later to study philosophy in Lyons, France, at a time when a progressive opening in his homeland had been closed off. Arab nationalism and communism had begun to make strides in Lebanon. An armed uprising led by these two forces was crushed by the Lebanese elite, who were assisted by a U.S. military intervention. In France, Hamdan joined a clandestine group of Arab communists. The Algerian war was in full swing, and Charles de Gaulle would not allow any dissent within the country. It was fitting that Hamdan left France in 1963 for Algeria, where he and his wife, Evelyne Brun, came to help build the newly independent country. Evelyne Brun taught French, while Hamdan taught evening classes on the newly deceased Frantz Fanon in the provincial town of Al-Qustantiniyah (Constantine). Hamdan’s first published article was on Fanon for the review Revolution Africaine.
Mahdi Amel was killed in 1987, two years before the Soviet experiment began to fail. Already, the LCP had suffered major setbacks. Entry into the civil war in Lebanon meant that it had to concede to the rhetoric of sectarianism, the war between Christians and Muslims. It was impossible not to be sucked into that logic, as Mahdi Amel noticed in his cautionary books on sectarianism and the Lebanese civil war, say two LCP youth leaders, Adham al-Sayed and Jana Nakhal. It was hard to sustain the party in the new context. It began to flounder.