The world around us is always changing, every second could bring a new outcome, could cause a new future to onset. What are we in control of? Only our choices, in the now.
Europe feels so turbulent at this time and that unsettlement, I feel echoed in me. I feel the shockwaves of the despair and fear inside of those facing the unfortunate aggression going on in the Ukraine, and the human in me has a very hard time separating from the pain of other humans at this time.
So I keep pressing on with art, with trying to stay creative and feeling the immense value of having a space where peace can still exist. Every new day feels like a new opportunity and the only way I can help is by remembering human purpose in defiance of those who oppress and who take away from the innocent.
Let’s pray again and again for peace so that life and art can have a chance in shaping our future.
On the third day of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, my mind goes back to my experiences with refugees and the misfortunes of war.
I am finding myself unable to disconnect from the shock of seeing this happen in front of our eyes again, the war, the pain, the destruction, the displaced people and most importantly, children having their childhood stolen from them.
The pictures shown here are from the Syrian refugees that I photographed back in 2013, and back then, I saw a side of humanity that I was hoping I would never have to meet again.
Here we are in 2022, innocent people and their children subjected to tragedy because of ego, the strive for power and an unfathomable greed that lives in people like Putin.
The world does not need more refugees, we do not need more pain and confusion, humans have the right to lead a happy, productive, and full life with the chance to be who they are meant to be.
Who gives others the right to take that away? What kind of essence fuels wars? Will history keep repeating itself to the detriment of the human race and this planet?
On November 13, 2019, I was in Tripoli during the height of what had come to be known as the October Revolution in Lebanon. During those months, Tripoli was given the name ‘ the bride of the revolution’, because its people rose with power, with hope, and with an undeniable spirit to right what was wronged by a failing and criminal government of thieves and war lords in Lebanon.
What I met that evening was unforgettable. Simple and humble people gathering in the city square with music, art, food and a common cause. Hope tinged the air with gold and the enthusiasm was infectious. I found myself lifted to the platform where the speakers were addressing the crowds along with my camera and lenses.
But looking back on the first image today, 2 years and 2 months later, I am heartbroken to realise that back then, the cry of the people expressed in writing on that wall in red : ‘your lies are causing our hunger’, was only the beginning of a disastrous economic collapse that has left these beautiful people below the poverty line with no end in sight.
I was born in Lebanon and grew up there in a scarring civil war that raged on for the majority of my young life, until at one point in 1987, I just picked up and left, never to return except for short family visits.
And today I watch with disbelief how my country continues to suffer, how its people go hungry without food, medication, electricity, water, infrastructure or money. I feel helpless about helping them and I struggle to understand how this can be fathomed and tackled without emotion.
I hope to photograph my country again in its glory, with it people happy and smiling, well fed and armed with dignity.
Dear friends, as a result of the tragic blast that has crippled my country #Lebanon and my city #Beirut and its beautiful resilient and life loving people, urgent help is needed. I am deeply saddened and pained by the lost lives, injuries and resulting destruction and homelessness of my people. For that reason I have investigated a safe way to help, no donation is too small and every little bit can go to feed a hungry person or to shelter those without a home. I am offering a free print (from attached 7 images taken in Lebanon) to anyone who donates to @sealforlebanon (Beirut emergency fund 2020) any amount over 50 dollars. Please send me your receipt of donation , your address and chosen image and I will mail you a signed print and my sincere thanks and gratitude. You can find the donation link on the profile of @sealforlebanon . Thank you in advance and let’s stand together as a human family at this time. https://www.facebook.com/SEALforLebanonhttps://seal-usa.org/beirutemergencyfund/
Future unknown~ heartbreaking news coming from Xinjiang about China holding over a million Uighur muslims in re-education centers for the purpose of removing their #faith which they label as a virus. History keeps repeating itself and we humans never seem to learn. Their most recent tactic is breaking up families whose strength and cohesion they perceive as a threat to future China.
When faced with a hot issue in the world like guns and the recent school shooting, it is a good idea to look at the simple facts. What are guns? Why do we have them? How did it all begin?
The simple truth is that they are human fashioned killing machines. That is their sole purpose, a metal object designed to project at strong speed another metal object with the purpose of puncturing the body of another human or animal and to cause injury or death. That simple fact should halt all arguments about having them with children, near children or having them at all.
I listen the news about Syria and all the children that died in the least week to benefit a recent group of arms dealers who benefit each time there is conflict and who thrive from the misery of the less fortunate. They try to romanticize the issue and muddle it so we won’t comprehend, but it is very simple, isn’t it?
Power, greed, wealth and the personal need for self gratification without counting any cost.
As I began to write my blog tonight, I received the breaking news notification of yet another horrible school shooting in America. How tragic to hold back the future by cruelly eliminating its ambassadors. Whatever the cause, whatever the trigger, how can this be prevented?
How unnatural for a life to go before it’s reached its potential!
The amazing speech of Oprah Winfrey at the Golden Globe awards is still resonating in me today with its powerful and poignant attention to the issues that women of the world face today and how it’s more than ever time for a radical change. She caused me to think of all the stories I have heard throughout my life growing up in Lebanon and feeling fury at the roles women and girls were forced to adopt. In some places in the Middle East women can be legally killed if there is any “suspicion” of adulterous behavior. Dead before proven innocence is the way to go.
I am thrilled for the amazing women in the entertainment industry and their #metoo campaigns, but who is fighting for the rights of the forgotten women in places like India, Africa and the Middle East among many others. It’s #themtoo.
I took this image last April in the slums of Delhi where girls hide behind doors and windows andhesitate to shine in the glory they were born into.
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?