Lebanon, 2014

Despite being geographically small, Lebanon is at the crossroads of several armed conflicts. Many children within its borders – both refugees and native Lebanese alike – have seen extreme hardship and violence. It will take many more trips to fully represent perspectives from the diverse communities living within. To lay the groundwork, art based interviews and group activities were conducted with Iraqi children at the Amel Community Center for Refugees, Palestinian children inside the Chatila Refugee Camp, and Lebanese children under the care of the Nader Association for Delinquent Enfant Rehabilitation outside of Tripoli. Boys there have witnessed and even participated in long-drawn-out fighting between Alawite and Sunni Muslim sects, some with ties to ISIS. One boy created a drawing of the ISIS flag with his name added under Muhammad’s. On the back, he showed himself destroying the Lebanese army with a hidden cache of weapons. Another boy, more resistant to sharing, at first acted out. Art Therapist Myra Saad remained patient and calm. She countered his fear of being vulnerable – manifested as anger – with a simple request: draw why you fight. The hastily scribbled image of the burning heart is the result. While talking about what it represented - passion for his sect and hatred for anyone that would dare go against it - he opened up more and more about his experiences fighting and, finally, how much he missed his mother. The image of the burning heart and boy fighting the Lebanese army were recreated outside of Tripoli, not far from Nader. 

Lebanon Travelog Posts