Even with my video camera in hand, I simply smile at onlookers making eye contact gracefully, and introduce myself during the shoot to make them comfortable around me. I try to disarm any suspicions with my hilarious command of broken Arabic and their imagined curiosity of my bollywood roots. Shopkeepers, cooks, waiters, and men smoking sheesha while watching Real Madrid vs.
Watching online coverage of the situation in
I can only imagine how families in
No place was safe in
I met an old woman in Beit Hanoun, still sitting outside her destroyed home having lost much of her family, living in a tin shack with only goats and bare essentials to sustain her. Leaving her after the interview, I tried to kiss her hand to express my grief for her (I had forgotten that this is simply not appropriate in the Arab world); she gently pulled away trying not to make me feel too awkward about that moment, but gazed deeply at me as if I were her own. Many such stories are happening in
Mond and I visited Mustafa, the 9-year old in Bait Hanoun again to the delight of his grandmother and friends. We spoke to his father about his eye surgery and tried to arrange a meeting with his local doctor to gain more details on his possible treatment abroad. I remembered to bring my small digital video camera and proceeded to show Mustafa how to use it. We were immediately surrounded by all the kids and elders in his neighborhood; its not easy teaching with everyone else giving their own instructions on where to shoot. Mustafa gradually warmed upto the challenge and started mastering the complex controls on this little device, learning to frame his shots, zoom and capture photos and videos of children playing marbles along the roadside. I showed a few other kids how to use the camera, but asked Mustafa to be their trainer from here onwards. He took on that responsibility easily despite his shyness.
The next day I took Mustafa along with me to one of my meetings at the
Mustafa had to leave early for a doctor’s appointment to have his eye examined. I subsequently posted a “cause” on Facebook to highlight his condition and help raise some funds for his surgery abroad: http://www.causes.com/causes/431052/about
Though I wonder with all that’s happening in
As part of my efforts to help establish a youth media program in
This spirit was exactly what we ought to promote in our own workshops with kids. I then went on to describe a story I heard from my meeting with Dr. Eyad Al-Sarraj, a noted psychiatrist in
After the session many trainers came up to me and insisted that we invest ourselves deeply in initiating such a program together in
Later that evening after a long and intense day, I met up with a friend at a seaside restaurant for dinner and we talked over the soothing sounds of the tide over sunset. As the chilly breeze swept into the outdoor patio and gas lamps turned on, I began to realize another reason why people in