Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Zaatari refugee camp

Hold Refugee Families Together: WhatsApp Messages

“Listening to these messages, I felt these stories had been given a life”

Joanna Choukeir Hojeily shared this link

@olivierclaurent March 28, 2016

Beautiful what’s app voice messages between Syrian refugees and their family member.

“Listening to these messages, I felt these stories had been given a life.”
time.com

They send back messages of love, hope and sorrow. Hundreds of thousands Syrian refugees have fled their homeland for Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and, in increasing numbers, Europe.

But families separated by thousands of miles still stay connected, thanks to smartphones and applications like the cross-platform mobile messaging program WhatsApp.

For the past three years, Jordanian-American photographer Tanya Habjouqa has been documenting the aftermath of the Arab Spring and Syria’s descent into civil war through the eyes of the millions of refugees that have flocked to Jordan and across the Mediterranean.

At the end of a two-month stretch in the Azraq and Zaatari refugee camps, as well as in Amman, Ramtha and Irbid, she came to a crossroads. “Since Alan Kurdi, the imagery around Syrian refugees is ubiquitous,” she says. “We’ve seen everything.”

Looking at her own work, Habjouqa thought her images failed to convey the urgency of this story as millions of Syrians continue to live in squalid conditions in Jordanian, Turkish and Greek refugee camps. Her role, she says, was to make people care for these refugees at a time when public opinion is shifting toward isolationism.

“I was racking my brain,” she says, “trying to find the imagery that said something I hadn’t been said again and again.”

Then, toward the end of her assignment, she saw a mother playing an audio message of her husband singing a lullaby to their child. The woman’s husband had sent his messages from Germany, where he was residing apart from his family. Listening to his messages, she felt that the story gained new life.

Habjouqa gathered dozens of audio messages that her editor and colleague Rabab Haj Yahya edited into this video, to accompany her photographs.

“It felt dignified and humanizing,” says Habjouqa. “Sometimes, the simplicity can be what brings us back to the power of a story. And, in this case, it’s their stories and their words.”

Tanya Habjouqa is a photographer with Panos, based in East Jerusalem.

Rabab Haj Yahya is a documentary and narrative film editor based in New York.

 

Note: Sabine Choucair has been documenting the stories recounted by refugees

We start the Clown Me In tour on the 19th of April and the best part is that the awesome clown/friend Clay Mazing ( with whom Sabine Choucair had the best Clowns Without Borders missions) and his Emergency Circus, Moniek De Leeuw are joining for a week / 8 shows!.
Thank you Embassy of Switzerland in Lebanon / Ambassade de Suisse au Liban Sawa for Development and Aid
Sara Berjawi, Viveva Letemps, Walid Saliba, Hisham Abou Nasr Assaad

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With the support of the Embassy of Switzerland in Lebanon / Ambassade de Suisse au Liban ClownMe In, Clown Me In we will be touring different Syrian and Palestinian camps and local communities, starting April 2016.

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Hot posts this week (April 3/2014)

Posted on: April 10, 2014

Hot posts this week (April 3/2014)

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ZAATARI Refugee Camp, Jordan: Behind Barbed Wire, Shakespeare Inspires a Cast of Young Syrians

Posted on: April 2, 2014

Behind Barbed Wire, Shakespeare Inspires a Cast of Young Syrians

On a rocky patch of earth in this sprawling city of tents and prefab trailers, the king, dressed in dirty jeans and a homemade cape, raised his wooden scepter and announced his intention to divide his kingdom.

His elder daughters, wearing paper crowns and plastic jewelry, showered him with false praise, while the youngest spoke truthfully and lost her inheritance.

ZAATARI REFUGEE CAMP, Jordan.

So began a recent adaptation here of “King Lear.”

For the 100 children in the cast, it was their first brush with Shakespeare, although they were already deeply acquainted with tragedy.

All were refugees who had fled the civil war in Syria. Some had seen their homes destroyed. Others had lost relatives to violence. Many still had trouble sleeping or jumped at loud noises.

And now home was here, in this isolated, treeless camp, a place of poverty, uncertainty and boredom.

Reflecting the demographics of Syria’s wider refugee crisis, more than half of the 587,000 refugees registered in Jordan are younger than 18, according to the United Nations. About 60,000 of those young people live in the Zaatari camp, where fewer than a quarter regularly attend school.

Parents and aid workers fear that Syria’s war threatens to create a lost generation of children who are scarred by violence and miss vital years of education, and that those experiences and disadvantages will follow them into adulthood.

The “King Lear” performance, the conclusion of a project than spanned months, was one attempt to fight that threat.

“The show is to bring back laughter, joy and humanity,” said its director, Nawar Bulbul, a 40-year-old Syrian actor known at home for his role in “Bab al-Hara,” an enormously popular historical drama that was broadcast throughout the Arab world.

The play owed its production largely to Mr. Bulbul. Smoking hand-rolled cigarettes and speaking with the animated face of a stage actor who never stops performing, Mr. Bulbul described his journey from television star to children’s director.

When the Syrian uprising broke out in 2011, he joined with gusto, appearing at antigovernment protests, leading chants and drawing the ire of the security services. A play he produced was banned, and a fellow actor who supported the government informed him that he could either appear on television to rectify his stance or expect to be arrested.

“I told him I would think about it, and a week later I was out of the country,” Mr. Bulbul said.

Last year, he and his French wife moved to Jordan, where friends invited him to help distribute aid in Zaatari. The visit exposed him to what he called “the big lie” of international politics that had failed to stop the war.

There are people who want to go home, and they are the victims while the great powers fight above them,” he said.

Children he met in the camp made him promise to return, and he did — with a plan to show the world that the least fortunate Syrian refugees could produce the loftiest theater.

The sun blazed on the day of the performance, staged on a rocky rectangle of land surrounded by a chain-link fence topped with barbed wire. The 12 main actors stood in the middle, while the rest of the cast stood behind them, a chorus that provided commentary and dramatic sound effects. The audience sat on the ground.

When each of Lear’s first two daughters tricked him with false flattery in elegant, formal Arabic, the chorus members yelled “Liar! Hypocrite!” until the sisters told them to shut up.

And when the third sister refused to follow suit, the chorus members yelled “Truthful! Just!” until the king told them to shut up.

Continue reading the main story  Video

PLAY VIDEO.  VIDEO|5:35.  Syrian Refugees Cross Into Uncertainty

Refugees fleeing fighting in Syria in May, 2013, relocated to the Zaatari refugee camp in northern Jordan where they face dusty days and cold nights in an uncertain existence with no end in sight.

In later scenes, the king was heckled by the Fool, who wore a rainbow-colored wig, and 8 boys performed a choreographed sword fight with lengths of plastic tubing.

A few scenes from “Hamlet” were spliced in, making the story hard to follow. And at one point, a tanker truck carrying water roared by, drowning out the actors and coating the audience in a cloud of dust.

But the mere fact that the play was performed was enough for the few hundred spectators. Families living in nearby tents brought their children, hoisting them on their shoulders so they could see.

After Lear’s descent into madness and death, the cast surrounded the audience, triumphantly chanting “To be or not to be!” in English and Arabic. The crowd burst into applause, and a number of the leading girls broke into tears. Mr. Bulbul said they were overwhelmed because it was the first time anyone had clapped for them.

After the show, as journalists interviewed the cast, the parents boasted of their children’s talent.

“I am the mother of King Lear,” declared Intisar al-Baradan when asked if she had seen the play. She had brought about 20 relatives to the performance, she said, adding that her son was also a great singer.

Other parents described the project as a rare point of light in a bleak camp existence.

Hatem Azzam, whose daughter Rowan, 12, played one of Lear’s daughters, said the family fled Damascus after government forces set his carpentry shop on fire.

“We were a rebellious neighborhood, so they burned every shop on the street,” Mr. Azzam said.

He arrived in Zaatari a year ago with 5 other family members, but one of his brothers got sick and died soon afterward, and his elderly mother never adjusted to the desert climate and died, too, he said.

He hesitated to send his children to school, fearing that they would get sick in the crowded classrooms, and he kept them from roaming the camp because he did not want them to start smoking or pick up other bad habits. But the theater project was close to home, and his daughter was so excited about it that he let her go.

People get opportunities in life, and you have to take advantage of them,” Mr. Azzam said. “She got a chance to act when she was young, so that could make it easier for her in the future.”

The mother of Bushra al-Homeyid, 13, who played another of Lear’s daughters, said the family had fled Syria after government shelling killed her niece and nephew.

“The camp is an incomplete life, a temporary life,” she said. “We hope that our time here will be limited.”

But after a year here, she worried that her eldest daughter, who was in high school, would not be ready to go to college.

Bushra, grinning widely and still wearing her yellow paper crown, said she had never acted before but wanted to continue.

“I like that I can change my personality and be someone else,” she said.

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A letter from a Palestinian refugee to the new Syrian refugee

Posted on: April 1, 2014

A letter from a Palestinian refugee to the new Syrian refugee

The tent will be hugely uncomfortable the first night. And still uncomfortable the next year.

As the years go by, your tent will become very familiar and part of you.

Beware not to fall in love with your tent, as we Palestinians got accustomed to.

Beware: Don’t feel happy as a makeshift school or dispensary are erected in the camp. These are not a funny and good omen events: plans are made to keep you where you are settled.

And stop demanding the building of small houses  instead of temporary looking tents: You are sending the strong message that you are getting to like your precarious conditions. You are already doomed as you start increasing these stupid demands. And here is where you’ll eventually be buried.

Never train your kids to be patient: Patience is the worst of tactics adopted by the impotent. You’ll soon discover that you are being sold as chattel.

Selling you out is the favorite hobby of politicians.

And people all over the world will empathize with your situation and verbally support you. Supporting the refugees is one of the best slogans used by politicians at election periods. And you’ll be their highway to heaven and God.

During Ramadan, Christmas… people will remember your condition and come to your rescue for the “Holy” holidays and a reminder to charity.

Your famished kids in tattered cloths will be the target to heart-wrenching photo shoots. And the journalists attempt to vying for recognition, acknowledgment and prizes.

Refrain from taking pictures with the appointed good-will personalities.

You don’t have to complain of pebbles in your bread, the suffocating heat, the freezing cold nights…

Never reclaim a better and newer accommodating tent.

No tent is better than the homeland tent.

Never holler for the “Arab” leaders to come to the rescue: Dead people are totally helpless in your case.

Note: One fourth of Lebanon’s population is constituted of Syrian refugees.

More than 3 million Syrian refugees have flocked to Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Turkey. And the Western nations barely welcomed 20,000 Syrians on temporary basis.

Over 5 million Syrians have fled their home towns and transferred to other parts of Syria.

‎صورة لن تراها إلا في " فلسطين "</p><br />
<p>مليوون تحية للمرأة الفلسطينية الآبية‎
A Palestinian woman threatening an Israeli soldier with her shoe during the Palestinian “Land Day
Khadige Elkhechen's photo.

Sabine Choucair via Ben Hubbar

a must read Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan story!
“To be or not to be”

Syrian children at a refugee camp in Jordan performed Shakespeare’s “King Lear,” a production that briefly took their minds off their own troubles.
The New York Times|By Ben Hubbard
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