The most striking thing about visiting the refugee camps is always the unmistakable bright spark of hope that lives in the children. Despite all the hardship and unbearable living circumstances, they find the ability to play, laugh and be children.
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.
Day 55 of 365~
Image taken in a back alley in Shanghai, China
She makes jewelry as part of the rehabilitation and education programs that ‘Beyond’, a local Lebanese NGO does with the children in the Syrian refugee camps.
There are now over 1.2 million Syrian refugees living in Lebanon in camps waiting for a better home under the care of humanitarian organizations and NGOs. The children carry the hope and strength of their whole nation.
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.