Reference : V-P-LB-E-01483
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."
Mohamad Nabulsi:
"My name is Mohamad Nabulsi, I live in Tripoli and I am 37 years old. When I first got married and had no children I spent only a little, now I have 3 children, I have more expenses and life has become more expensive.
The situation is now more stable since the clashes subsided but my children still suffer from the fear that they used to have during the clashes in Bab El Tebbeneh (North Lebanon).
Once, I saw a very painful incident. A man’s mother was shot dead whilst she was next to him. And when he tried to help her, he was shot as well and he died on top of her body.
I saw that with my eyes, my friend died too…. We have very bad memories of that time.
As for the economic situation, we live off what we make day by day. If you don’t earn anything on a given day, you don’t eat. You have to borrow to survive until the next day. That’s how it is.
I work as much as I can but suffer from conditions that I don’t tell my family about. At night my hands swell and I have varicose veins, because I have to stand a lot. They tell me to rest, but I have to work day and night to make ends meet.
Most of the residents of Bab El Tebbeneh (Tripoli) are living in a similar situation. After the clashes I thought of travelling abroad, as people are happy and comfortable there. I travelled once abroad with my wife and my child to Ukraine where we knew no one.
We had sold all of our furniture. One day there, we bought some sardines to eat, we opened the can and we found frogs. We ate a few bites and then stopped
From there we headed to Italy and as everyone was getting off the plane, we were not allowed to. Two police cars arrived and escorted us off the plane. I stayed there for 2 hours and they put me on the plane that I already intended to take back to Beirut-
Here, I started from square one again.
Then I went to Algeria, but it didn’t work out. I thought of migrating by boat but one of my friends warned me it was too dangerous for my children and advised to go through Russia. We spoke to the smuggler and a week before the set date, the borders were closed. That was my third failed attempt.
In Lebanon, building a livelihood is expensive and we have no help. It’s a dead end. If one of my children gets sick, I have to ask a politician for help or borrow or sell something.
The most important thing is education. Even if I have to beg I will ensure education for my children. Education means awareness and ignorance is like blindness, and that is my only regret. I cannot raise my children in ignorance and tell them to get by. I have the responsibility to raise them well.
I thought of many solutions and my main concern is my children’s future, because I don’t see a future for myself. I dreamt of becoming an engineer and I like electronics and work in that domain. But my parents’ situation was also difficult. You inherit poverty. I will not accept that my children suffer like I did. I will not allow it.
They ask for many things like toys, but I cannot provide them. I try to hide my incapacity and tell them I will get them toys tomorrow or later. I don’t tell them I don’t have money. They cry a bit and then they forget.
I feel very bad about this, but I don’t show it and life has to continue."
Original material : digital
Resolution : 3840x5760
Orientation : portrait
Colour/B&W : black and white