Tag Archives: Malta
I just returned from a little over two weeks of travel in the Middle East and Europe. The trip was rewarding on a number of levels, and it was jam-packed with many things to do, people to meet, and places to see.
I was able to return to Beirut, Lebanon where I lived in 2006. I joined Nathalie for the last week of her MA degree research, which she did in partnership with local NGO Heart For Lebanon. Most of my time was spent visiting Iraqi refugee families in their homes in various neighborhoods in the suburbs of Beirut, hearing about the hardships they face as they do life in transition from what was to what is to be. Iraqi refugees are not granted residency by the Lebanese government. Their time there is temporary and insecure, with most of them waiting for asylum in a Western nation.
The violence that has resulted from the war launched in 2003 can never be explained better than Iraqis who have lost members of their families and all they ever owned due to an invasion that did anything but bring them democracy and freedom. Nathalie spoke to around 60 families and every single one of them left Iraq because they were directly threatened. The large majority had members of their families kidnapped, at times murdered. They left because they were left with little choice, not because they wanted to.
Their hope for a better future in the midst of so much uncertainty – caught in limbo in a land where they cannot work legally, are miserably underpaid when they have to work illegally, and barely making it from day to day – was truly humbling, and it was an honor to get to know the Iraqis I visited during my time in Beirut
It is estimated that there are around 4.5 million Iraqis displaced due to the US invasion, which is the second largest displaced people group after the Sudanese. In Lebanon there are about 50,000 Iraqi refugees and, as opposed to neighboring Syria and Jordan, it is still accepting Iraqi refugees to apply for asylum from its land. Heart For Lebanon was given the mandate to work with ‘Christian’ Iraqi refugees.
Over the next few months I plan to post a series of stories and photos of some of the Iraqis Nathalie and I have met. These will be posted on my media non-profit blog: http://cultureasart.com.
I was also able to spend a week on the Mediterranean island of Malta, which is where Nathalie is from. It was a joy to meet her family and see where she is from. I was also able to shoot hundreds of photos, which I will be sharing on my photography website: http://joshua-seale.com
Please stop by both of these sites as I publish different stories and photos from this trip.