In February, I had the opportunity to work on an essay to accompany photos by an amazing photographer and friend, Felipe Jacome. He took dramatic portraits of Syrian refugee parents in Lebanon and their children, who are often at risk of becoming stateless. One of the women, Dina, told me her story.
It’s published in Al Jazeera Magazine, an elegant publication that’s only available for download on phones and tablets. Check out the little preview below, and click the link to download the magazine.
‘I’ll tell you the story of how we left Syria,’ Dina begins. ‘We got to the last Syrian checkpoint before the border point. ‘Where are you going?’ they asked me. ‘To Lebanon? You can’t go. [The border guard] forced my kids out of the car and pointed his gun at them. He cocked the gun and pointed it at my kids.’ Her voice breaks and tears roll down her cheeks, but Dina continues. ‘The driver tried to calm him down. The border guard said, ‘No, I’ll gun you down and every single one of these kids.’ We got back in the car. I looked at whatever money I had and gave it to him, begging, kissing his hands.’
Image by James Haines-Young (AJE)
[Published here November 5, 2014]
Beirut – Past the barricaded checkpoints, the searching tents, and groups of men with walkie-talkies, hundreds of thousands of Shia Muslims gathered in Beirut’s southern suburbs on Tuesday, to commemorate Ashura.
On this day, Shia Muslims worldwide mourn the death of Imam Hussein, grandson of Prophet Muhammad – and in Lebanon, despite significant security threats and political deadlock, this year was no different.
Lebanese Armed Forces on the way to Arsal. Image by Reuters.
[Published here August 4, 2014]
Just before noon on August 2, in the Lebanese border town of Arsal, the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) arrested Abu Ahmad al-Jumaa, a Syrian rebel commander who had recently pledged allegiance to the extremist Islamic State group. His arrest sparked a number of clashes in the largely Sunni Bekaa town between his supporters and Lebanese security forces stationed in the area. But Jumaa’s story and the significance of the August 2 events have repercussions beyond the small Lebanese town.