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Clown-me-in revolt in the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon

Sabine Choucair with ClownMe In and 8 other taken in Hazmieh (Lebanon) ·

The awesome girls from ClownMe In @clown me in joined @clowns without borders on their tour in the Bekaa today  love u so much

The awesome girls from ClownMe In @clown me in joined @clowns without borders on their tour in the bekaa  today :) love u so much

A Clownish Revolt

We were waiting at the airport, where one of the clowns from Clowns Without Borders was picking up the stilts that had gotten lost in transit from his native Seattle to Lebanon.

Upon his triumphant return at the car loaded with clown props, accordions and red noses, he told us:

IMG_2258“At the security check I first pulled out a rope. The guard looked strangely and thought there was something wrong, so he told me to empty my pockets. I pulled out a couple of magic eggs and as the guard exclaimed “what are you doing?!” I could only quickly say “Ana Muharrij!” “I am a clown!” Which magically even made a smile appear on the Lebanese border guard’s face.”

It was in Jab Janine, in Bekaa valley, Lebanon, that we found out more about the true magic of these clowns.

At Jusoor’s new school (Jusoor or bridges is a local NGO providing education services to Syrian refugee children in Lebanon) –– children gathered at the improvised schoolyard with the fields of Bekaa and Mount Lebanon in the background.

It is in this valley that a big portion of the more than a million Syrian refugees, among which 400,000 children, are to be found.


Once the clowns had set up, put their costumes on and their faces had turned into all the colors of the rainbow, the first children started streaming out into the schoolyard.

Hesitant at first, some of them started laughing and shaking hands with IMG_1817the clowns, who were introducing themselves in their particularly clownish ways – with a lot of missed handshakes and clumsy gestures.

Other children sat down in a large circle, still withdrawn waiting for what was to come.


As the show with magic glass balls, clownish musical parades, hoola hoops and of course some good old juggling unleashed, the hand clapping children led the way for their shy friends.

As the show progressed more and more children were engaged with the power of laughter, the wonders of magic and the opening of a whole new array of jokes and nonsense.

It was as if their little worlds of daily impediments, their trauma and mental blockades was turned upside down and dissipated, to make place for the universal wonders of life.

As the show came to an end with some particularly clumsy bowing, the clowns had to run for their lives, as the children all wanted a piece of them and formed groups around them, swallowing them with their handshakes and touches. Sabine, the one Lebanese clown of the international group of four, had to get rescued, raising her purple eyelashes to the blue sky of Bekaa as the children got a hold of her.

Against the power of guns, the art of laughter that these clowns brought to Bekaa, seems somewhat foolish to the hardened spectator or journalist. From Bekaa, where Hizbollah reigns and has broadened their sense of resistance against the ‘Zionist enemy’ to encompass the military aid of the Syrian regime, the tear painted on one of the clown’s faces, seems a drop on a hot plate, quick to dissipate.

To the Syrian children the tear was magical though and so the clown’s performance. It pulled them into a world in which the power of laughter and life is infinitely stronger than that of guns and they embraced it full-heartedly.

It was as if the Syrian Revolution – if only for a moment – had been high jacked not by Jihadist fighters, but by the magical power of this foolish bunch and their revived little spectators.

Clowns Without Borders is touring in Lebanon the coming two weeks to visit Syrian refugee children in different refugee camps throughout the country. The initiative part of the international Clowns Without Borders NGO, was brought to Lebanon by clown Sabine Choucair, founder of Lebanon based ‘Clown Me In’ and with financial support of Layan – a Kuwaiti aid organization for Syrian refugees.

Jusoor is one of the potential partners Syria What Will Be is seeking out for this summer. 




December 2022

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