Thursday, April 14, 2016

They disappeared during the war. Do you know their names, their faces and their stories?

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17,000 people disappeared during the war and are still missing. Who are they? What do they look like? What are their name and their stories? Fushat Amal, a remarkable and much-needed initiative is seeking to answer these questions.

Anyone of us who lived in Lebanon at some point or another during the so-called civil war could have disappeared. You, me, your brother or your sister, your son or your daughter, your mother of your father, anyone you know, anyone you love. If it were the case, wouldn’t you want people to know everything about it? Wouldn’t you want people to care and never stop searching until your fate or your loved one’s fate is known? Fushat Amal is doing just that.

What is Fushat Amal?

“Fushat Amal – a Space for Hope – is an interactive digital space designed to bring to the public some of the individual stories of the thousands of persons who went missing in Lebanon over the past four decades, and whose families continue to struggle to learn their fate”, its webiste says.

“Since the end of the war in 1990, the number 17,000 became conventionally accepted and used across the board, even though the Lebanese authorities never conducted any investigation allowing to establish a credible list of missing persons, Over time, the names of victims became mere numbers. Fushat Amal seeks to reclaim their identity and restore their rightful place as members of our society.” 

“Behind the number 17,000 and the framed photographs that have become the hallmark of the families’ public gatherings, there are personal stories to be told and shared. Fushat Amal is one space in which their parents, children, and siblings can share with us these stories; a space where younger generations and those who did not suffer the same fate can learn about who these people are, reflect on the consequences of their disappearance and the day they left their homes never to return or be heard of again.” 

A remarkable initiative we all need to help in any way we can. Lebanon’s war wound can never properly heal until the disappeared fate is known. Until those who are still alive can be returned home, and those who died can finally be mourned.