Drama therapy workshop in Lebanon helps heal wounds for displaced Syrians

This article was originally published in The National.

theatre
A performance of Antigone by Aperta Productions. Photo courtesy of Aperta Productions

March 23, 2015

The pen is mightier than the sword, so the saying goes. In Lebanon, Zeina Daccache is trying to overcome modern warfare’s guns, shells and barrel bombs, armed with nothing more than an arsenal of therapeutic theatre techniques.

Since 2011, more than three million Syrians have fled their homeland to escape the continuing violence. In Lebanon, theatre techniques are being used as a means of empowering these displaced people, both intellectually and psychologically.

In a society where therapy is taboo, drama workshops serve as a socially acceptable means for refugees to talk about their experiences and emotions. Amid growing tensions between displaced Syrians and their Lebanese hosts, theatre productions also allow ­refugee voices to be heard by a wider public.

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Closed adoption system helping child traffickers

This story was originally published in The Daily Star.

adoption
Newborns sleep in incubators at a hospital in Sidon. Photo courtesy Mohammed Zaatari/The Daily Star

September 9, 2013

BEIRUT: Adoption is often seen as a benevolent act. Rather than being brought up in an orphanage, a parentless child is given a home, stability and a loving family. In Lebanon, however, the closed adoption system has helped to transform the practice into something less than benign: a business. When Daniel Ibn Zayd was adopted in 1963, the details of his biological family were fabricated. “In the paperwork we have from the orphanage it lists family name, mother, father, birth date, birthplace,” he explains. “You grow up thinking that this is true.

“It was my fellow adoptees in France who enlightened me to the fact that these [were] false names … There was a kind of comfort in knowing that link was there if I needed it, and the minute it was ruptured, then I felt this need to establish that link.” Continue reading