Friday, March 28, 2014

#MH370 and the Lebanese disappeared

Flowers on the grave of Odette Salem - Part of my installation "no truce in Beirut only virgins"

There are an estimated 17,000 people who vanished during the war in Lebanon. Even the figure itself is arbitrary, it was based on the estimates of a foreign committee and never has been rectified or elucidated properly. That's a lot of missing coffins. Where to dispose of such a huge amount of bodies? I am not inventing gun powder, there are already NGOs handling this, and there was even a brilliant even held in the dome (organized by Maxime Hourani and Alfred Tarazi). And of course, there's SOLIDE.
But today I remember Odette Salem, the woman whose two children Christine and Richard never went back home. They are among the thousands who went missing. She carried the case of the disappeared on her back throughout the war, urging the politicians and those in power to see what to do and keeping the flame alive. Ironically, she was a very active member of SOLIDE and was killed by a passing car as she was going to start the day and "open" the permanent tent they have next to ESCWA in Beirut.
Which brings me to today's idea about #MH370 - the Malaysian Airlines plane still out at large - in an article I read today "it's hard to grieve without a body" and all the talk of the "ambiguous loss" that the families of the passengers and crew of the flight are suffering, I merely point out that the number of #MH370 was 239 - in Lebanon we are still speaking of thousands upon thousands.
Just imagine what these people are going through. Daily. With no closure in sight.
And hope is deceitful above all else.


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