I left my native Lebanon to New York City back in 1987. The war was still raging and the political and economic situations were highly unstable if not volatile. Today, almost 27 years later, the Lebanese struggle with rationed electricity, unstable economic and political situations, living on the brink of another war, receiving a flood of refugees from another neighbor and the only difference from then to now is how much thicker the pockets of our political leaders are getting. Corruption is their religion and money their God. How will the web of greed be ever dismantled?
As the west prepares to launch a missile attack on Syria in the coming days, the innocent children find themselves caught in the games of warring adults having no say as to where their life will be taking them next. More than 4000 Syrians are seeking refuge daily in Lebanon, where they make a staggering 35% of the Lebanese population today. A ticking bomb in a fragile zone, heart breaking and unfair in so many ways. If the children are the hope for our future, why are we endangering that chance?
The uncertainty of things to come~ Syrian refugee in North Lebanon
أحبك “I love you”
Reem is 9 years old. She is a Syrian refugee living in a camp in North Lebanon. I learned today that she lost both her parents in the recent conflicts. The only message written on her hand is : I love you
Below these cranes, so much history was written. The Brooklyn Navy Yard, first started functioning in 1806, was most active during world war II, when more than 70,000 people were employed to make the battle ships of the American navy. It was very impressive to look into this historical place and imagine what it would have been like during the time that the whole place was buzzing with workers burning the midnight oil.
Somewhere along the way during human history, the essence of trust was forced to retreat.
In a country like Vietnam where people had to suffer one occupation after another, and one war followed by the next, seeing a foreigner does not call out the essence of trust as a first principle. Warmth has to be won, encouraged out of people especially if you were like me armed with a camera. It is always a wonderful gift when a smile appears after a frown, and when trust is allowed to soften a human dealing.
One of the greatest powers of being human is the ability to move on. No matter how difficult or hopeless a situation is for a person, there is always the chance that they will be looking back at it with a lighter heart. Maybe this is what gives us all the hope to keep moving and to seek the lighter side of life, because we know that there is a certainty of the good overcoming the bad and of the light overcoming the dark. It is the constant sacred dance between our nights and our days that demonstrates to us this simple law.
photo taken: a girl on the streets of Phnom Penh~ Cambodia
“To keep you is no benefit. To destroy you is no loss.” The horrific motto of the Khmer Rouge, the movement whose guerrilla forces lead a genocide killing and torturing one fifth of the whole population of Cambodia in the 1970s. Cambodia had the misfortune of giving residence to the monster of war that tours our planet taking away innocence and leaving only death in its wake. But as is always the case, out of the greatest darkness, the brightest of lights is born. From those dark times comes a new age to Cambodia and in the new generation lives kindness, pride, strength, brightness and a promise of a much better future.
Another month of blogging comes to a close, the journey back to Congo, the beautiful children, the fantastic sense of hope and resilience, the bright faces, the humanity that I experienced in that war ridden part of Africa is over with this post. But it goes on in me, it never stops and it pulls be back always to revisit it, to never ever forget.
Thanks to all who followed, commented, encouraged, shared, critiqued and thought about Congo this past month. I hope that by more good people thinking and being aware of what goes on in that part of the world, more can somehow be done to change it. As they say, the first step in helping something is being aware of it.
Tomorrow I start a new month of a totally different nature. Stay tuned!