Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Christine Abi Rached

Crowd-sourcing: Not exclusive for intelligence gathering…Applied to social connection in Lebanon

Note: The structure of society in Lebanon is a big hurdle for people in communities to connect personally (face to face) and get to know one another.  The long civil war (17 years) exacerbated the division and the creation of exclusive cantons and subcantons…Mind you that Lebanon has 18 officially recognized religious sects with autonomy to regulate personal status from birth to grave…

Several dailies in Lebanon (French Orient Le Jour, Arabic Al Safir, and English The Daily Star…) and several TV channels covered two events in the coastal historic city of Jbeil (Kesruwan district) and Baakline (the Chouf). The initiator and project organizer Joanna Choukeir Hojeily had met with several municipalities in order to secure a public space for youth to meet and tell their stories (Khabrieh).

This social project was run under the banner of Imagination MARKET – سوق الخيال

Two dozen professional volunteers guided and pulled off this successful project…

Talks at AltCity

Stephen Dockery wrote in the Lebanese Daily Star on July 11, 2012 under “Crowd-sourced blog tries to cut through sectarian media”:

BEIRUT: A video shows a girl sitting and reading a school history textbook, but as she flips through page after page, all are blank. Instead of the typical heavily sanitized government history books on Lebanon, the pages are filled with nothing. (History stories to be written by the youth of Lebanon?)

Christine Abi Rached aimed to make this video as a starting point to ask people how they would like to see their country’s history told.

The video is presented on an experimental blog intending to wade through the country’s sectarian media landscape and as part of a larger project to bring divided communities together.

The news and public forum blog “Khabrieh,” (local short story), launched in a two-day trial over the weekend, serves as a curator of articles, photos and messages for anyone between age 18 and 30 who had something to say.

Joanna Choukeir Hojeily, a doctoral student in London Art Univ. said: “Instead of a third-party telling us about what’s in the country, why don’t we open a channel to let people tell us about what’s happening...What we really wanted to do is rather than tell people and deliver sound bites, we wanted to give them little experiences of the bigger picture…”  Joanna is helping cultivate ideas that bring the country’s divided society together.

After going live during a community building project in cities of Jbeil (Kesruwan district) and Baakline (the Chouf), the blog curators posted messages from interested locals and others.

The results were probing and indicative that a portion of the population is dissatisfied with society’s status quo, but are unsure where to go next.

“How do we live with Lebanese?” asked one essay.

“The Road to Conflict Transformation,” was the title of another.

Some posts asked simple questions about why citizens can’t receive basic services:

“We are Lebanese youth from Baakline, and we have a problem with electricity in our village. Public power only comes 2 hours per day,” read one post.

A black and white photo by 19-year-old Jade Ev Nasser shows a man perched on the seashore.

The blog is part of a package of community building projects that a group of volunteers created while working with Joanna. The projects were presented together during events in Jbeil and Baakline.

Other projects included trilingual karaoke, sectarian role-playing and marriage information games to shed light on the social and legal barriers separating people in the country.

In the areas where the activities were run, visitors could participate in each project that tried to get them to think about pressing topics in the country.

Joanna said:“ We are hopeful the youth will start reflecting on their own situation without waiting for anyone telling them what was right or wrong….”

Joanna hopes her work will serve as a starting point for her volunteers to show that their new ideas can be successful, and the projects will turn into long-term ventures to work toward the main goal “to help young people in Lebanon integrate better along social, religious and demographic divides.”

Jean-Eudes MIAILHES wrote in L’Orient Le Jour on July 10 under: “Appel de la jeunesse libanaise : le marché de l’imagination, une initiative citoyenne porteuse ?”  

Quelque 30 jeunes ont contribué à des ateliers sur le Liban et ses failles.
Quelque 30 jeunes ont contribué à des ateliers sur le Liban et ses failles.
“Sous le signe de l’intégration et de la mobilité, les municipalités de Byblos et de Baakline ont accueilli le week-end dernier le marché de l’imagination (Imagination Market).
Ce marché, qui n’a rien à voir avec la vente de fruits et légumes ou autres mets comestibles, propose aux Libanais des ateliers sur le Liban et ses défaillances autour des thèmes du mariage mixte, de la relation entre le politique et l’amitié, des régions et de la mobilité, des médias et de leur influence, du langage et des préjugés.
Répartis sur cinq pôles, les bénévoles ont animé pendant ces deux jours des ateliers interactifs sur ces thèmes.
Né à l’automne 2008, ce projet s’inscrit dans le cadre du doctorat de Joanna Choukeir à l’Université des Arts de Londres. Suite à une phase de recherche durant laquelle elle a interrogé 56 Libanais originaires de diverses régions, la jeune doctorante a constaté que les cinq problèmes susmentionnés atomisent la société libanaise pour la rendre inerte.
Joanna said: « Au Liban, on parle beaucoup de problèmes, mais on ne peut rien faire. Les Libanais, s’ils ont un peu d’imagination, peuvent changer, trouver des solutions ».  Dès lors, elle a décidé de s’investir et de créer « un espace de cocréation », Imagination Studio, dans lequel collaborent quelque 30 bénévoles.
Cet espace, explique leur site officiel, a pour objectif de « soutenir la jeunesse libanaise de diverses régions, avec différentes expériences, à travers différentes disciplines et par différents réseaux, et imaginer ensemble l’inimaginable pour un Liban plus intégré et moins divisé ». Et d’ajouter que « notre but est d’impliquer davantage la jeunesse avec les autres en dehors de leur groupe social à l’école, à l’université, au travail, à la maison et au sein de leur communauté ».
Pour Habib, ami de Joanna et bénévole, la mobilité est ici un véritable défi. Il estime que « les préjugés des autres gens, des autres religions » ont des conséquences néfastes sur l’intégration au Liban. Conquis par le projet, il a alors décidé de s’impliquer dans ce domaine. C’est avec amusement qu’il confronte les Libanais à leur géographie.
À terme, cette initiative citoyenne devrait de nouveau se reproduire, puisque, selon les dires de Joanna, « d’autres municipalités ont été intéressées » par le projet” End of article in Orient Le Jour

Note 1: You may access the blog of Joanna Choukeir Hojeilyposted toIMAGINATION MARKET – سوق الخيال (July 7-8) Jbeil and Baakline


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