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Daily Coffee Talk~ 66/365

The Lebanese Revolution~ November 2019~ Tripoli

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.

The view from the platform of the revolution on Allah Square.

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.

keeping the hope alive in you.
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lebanon life Photography street

Day 14~ February 14th~ Lebanon

silenced

I was often asked after leaving Lebanon for good: “if you love it so much, why did you leave it?”, “if it is that beautiful why aren’t you there?”

But when I remember what drove me out, it was not really the war, not the seeking of adventure, not my love for travel, no, it was something much simpler than that.

I could never be ‘me’ in my home country. It is a society that allows you to speak as long as what you say conforms to popular opinion. It lets you do as long as you do what is politically correct. What drove me out was my search for truth and my strong longing to be myself, to be true to who I am and to find out who I was. And who can do that except under the wings of freedom? How can you find yourself if you are imprisoned in dogma?

And still, years later, if you ask me where I wish to grow old, I would answer: ” Lebanon, where else?”