Reference : V-P-LB-E-01478
Date : 04/2016
Country/Region : LEBANON
Caption : Beirut. The ICRC launches an interactive multimedia exhibition entitled “men: portraits of a journey”.
Photographer : SAADE, Joe
Confidentiality level : public
Publication restrictions : publication without restrictions
Copyright : ICRC
Description : News release on ICRC website, 07.04.2016: “Beirut (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is launching an interactive multimedia exhibition today, entitled Men: Portraits of a Journey, at the Minus 1 venue in Beirut. The exhibition, which will run from 7 to 17 April, draws attention to seven Lebanese, Palestinian and Syrian men whose lives have been massively disrupted by conflict and other violence in the region. "What is happening in the region today has reverberations throughout the world," said Fabrizzio Carboni, head of the ICRC delegation in Lebanon. "We hope that this exhibition will help people look beyond all that is most vividly in the news now – the stigma, the fear, the numbers – and see what men really have to endure as they struggle to keep going or to provide for their families." The exhibition consists of 14 portraits by the Lebanese photographer Joe Saade – two of each of the seven men. Together, they illuminate the social and psychological pressure to which men are subjected during conflict. While they view the portraits, visitors will hear, via audio recordings, narrative histories of the lives of the seven men. The interactive exhibition space, designed by Sabine Saba, is likely to make the experience particularly intense and involving. "We want to stress that these men, despite all that they have been through, are strong and survivors," said Soaade Messoudi, head of communications at the ICRC delegation in Lebanon, who conceived the idea of the exhibition. "They are trying to do everything they can to cope against unimaginable odds. That is why we have selected portraits of this kind, so that people can regard them as works of art, and absorb the stories they tell."

Abou Alaa: "My name is Abou Alaa (father of Alaa). I have lived in Lebanon for a long time, even before the conflict broke out in Syria in 2011, as I had a business here on the Airport road for more than 3 years. I was doing well. At some point the political situation in Lebanon meant that Syrians were not really welcomed anymore and there were regular incidents with the owner of the property. I then discovered that one of his young employees was systematically stealing the products from my shop. He had made a small hole in the wall from where he was slowly depleting my stock of paper tissues. After an inventory, I realized that I had lost 8000 Dollars, which I could not afford. So I went back to Syria. That was about 11 months before the war erupted. We lived in an area called Bab Al Hawa, in a three-story house. Our house was bombed with barrels and so we had to flee. I did not pack any belongings. We just left with the clothes we were wearing. I had a severe leg injury and needed to be operated on and that’s why I came back to Lebanon. I struggled to get here because of the wounds I had received. It took me more than 6 days, but my main concern was to bring my daughter Aya to the safety of Lebanon. I underwent treatment and afterwards I went into a deep depression. I started to work on the streets selling flowers and paper tissues, chatting with passersby. I work every day from 3PM until midnight and I thank God for every day I am living. I recovered slowly from my depression and started to feel better and I began adapting to my new situation. But life is not the same anymore. I used to have a house and five siblings, and now we are only three. 2 of my siblings travelled to Germany. My family is my happiness, no money can buy that feeling. I travelled to Libya and Jordan before. If I would have a passport, and if it wasn’t for the war, I would go to Libya again, despite the situation there. And then I would have bought a nice house, a nice car and a pick-up truck in Syria. But for now, I have lost all my ambitions. I am too busy surviving.
Original material : digital
Resolution : 3840x5760
Orientation : portrait
Colour/B&W : black and white