The Missing of Lebanon - by Dalia Khamissy 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are 17.000 estimated missing from the Lebanese civil war whose fate is still unknown.

Imm Ahmad holds Ahmed’s photo as she sits on a bed at the tent of the victims of enforced disappearance and the missing in downtown Beirut, Lebanon.

 

Ahmad was taken away by force in 1986 from his home where he lived with his wife and little son. His mother looked for him everywhere in Lebanon and Syria but never found him. He was 21... he never knew that his wife was expecting his second child.

 

Maguy Andreotti sits in her living room under a portrait of her son Stavro.

 

In 1978, on a July day, Stavro, 17, went with his friends living in the same neighbourdhood for a drive. That evening the clock turned and the neighbours waited for the return of the teenagers but they never made it home. Stavro and his friends never came back home that evening, it was the last day they ever saw them.. 

 

Maguy lost her 3 boys in Lebanon's 1975-90 civil war. Stavro, 17, was kidnapped and his fate is still unknown. Her middle son, 9, was killed when a bomb hit their house at the beginning of the war and her youngest one, 1, suffocated from the smoke in the shelter while they were hiding from the bombing. He died in her arms while she thought he was sleeping! Few years ago her husband passed away. She lives alone with her memories. 

 

Maguy talks mostly about Stavro. She mourned her two other sons as well as her husband but she still has hope that Stavro will come back one day.

Imm Aziz sits in her living room under the framed photos of her 4 sons in the Palestinian refugee camp of Burj el Barajneh in Beirut's suburbs.

 

September 1982, militants came knocking on the Dirawi's door while they were having breakfast together and took away by force Imm Aziz' 4 sons: Aziz, Ibrahim, Mansour and Ahmad. Not very far from their home, the Sabra and Chatila massacre was taking place. She never saw them again and their fate is still unknown.

 

 

The school bag of Ahmad, the youngest son of Imm Aziz, who was 13 when he was taken away by force from his house along with his

three older brothers. 

 

September 1982, militants came knocking on the Dirawi's door while they were having breakfast together and took away by force Imm Aziz' 4 sons: Aziz, Ibrahim, Mansour and Ahmad. Not very far from their home, the Sabra and Chatila massacre was taking place. She never saw them again and their fate is still unknown.

 

Like many families of the Missing, Imm Aziz kept some of the belongings of her children as relics of their one-time presence, hoping that they will come back home one day to find their belongings preserved.

 

 

The pack of cigarettes of Aziz, the oldest son of Imm Aziz, who was 31 when he was taken away by force from their house along with his 3 younger brothers. It dates from 1982 and is the last one Aziz bought before his kidnapping.

 

In September 1982, militants came knocking on the Dirawi’s door while they were having breakfast together and took away by force the 4 sons of Imm Aziz; Aziz, Ibrahim, Mansour and Ahmad. She never saw them again and their fate is still unknown. 

 

Like many families of the Missing, Imm Aziz kept some of the belongings of her sons. A pack of cigarettes, a toothpaste etc became the most important items she hangs on to while we throw them away on daily basis.

 

The pink shirt of Aziz, the oldest son of Imm Aziz, who was 31 when he was taken away by force from his house along with his

three younger brothers. 

 

September 1982, militants came knocking on the Dirawi's door while they were having breakfast together and took away by force Imm Aziz 4 sons: Aziz, Ibrahim, Mansour and Ahmad. She never saw them again and their fate is still unknown.

 

Imm Aziz tried to give Aziz his pink shirt as he was on the truck, but the militant got on the truck and kicked him in front of his mother, Imm Aziz recalls. Like many families of the Missing, Imm Aziz kept some of the belongings of her sons in case they come back one day.

 

A photo of Imm Aziz's 4 sons sits on a table in the Palestinian refugee camp of Burj el Barajneh in Beirut's suburbs.

 

September 1982, militants came knocking on the Dirawi's door while they were having breakfast together and took away by force Imm Aziz 4 sons: Aziz, Ibrahim, Mansour and Ahmad. She never saw them again and their fate is still unknown. 

 

Aida sits in her living room next to a photo of her husband Kamal Geadah who was stopped at a checkpoint on Aug. 19, 1985 while driving back home from work with his nephew Semaan.

 

The latter was working as a volunteer with the Red Cross and had just finished to help carrying the victims of an explosion in Beirut. Both of them were taken away along the car and never seen again. Their fate is still unknown.

Imm Rashid watches TV at her house in Tripoli, north of Lebanon. Above her hangs a photo of Rashid who went out on April 10, 1976 to buy cigarettes and never came back home. He was 15 years old. His mother looked for him all around the country but never heard anything about him... Her heart tells her he is still alive.

A shoe in an abandoned building that was used as a detention centre during the 1975-90 Lebanese civil war in Bhamdoun, east of Beirut.

 

Inside the building, a couple of months after Wajih Zahalan was kidnapped in 1982, a pile of passports belonging to people who were taken away by force by a Lebanese militia was found.

Amongst those passports was Wajih's.

 

 

Ayman Zahalan, his son, entered the building in January 2014, for the first time since the kidnapping of his father in 1982. He started looking for writings on the wall, hoping to find a message from his father

but nothing was found. 

Dalia Khamissy
Born in Beirut, Dalia Khamissy received a diploma in photography from the USEK in 1999. Her work revolves around the socio-political stories of the Middle East, namely the aftermath of Lebanon’s wars and its social issues. Since 2003 her pictures have been widely exhibited in Europe, South America, US and the MENA region and have been published in several international and local publications. Her ongoing project the Missing of Lebanon (2010 - to date) on the estimated 17000 Missing from the 1975-90 Lebanese civil war received the Honorary Mention in the Multimedia Section at AnthropoGraphia in 2012. In 2011, the photo-film the Missing was shortlisted for the Multi Media category for the Prix-Bayeux. Her photographs of the Missing of Lebanon were commissioned for the Freedom to Create prize and she received the Documentary Photography Project Audience Engagement Grant by the Open Society Institute. She is currently based in Beirut.
www.daliakhamissy.com
 
For updates on the project, please follow 
The Missing of Lebanon page.
 
 
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