I know I have been posting all these war related articles on my social media accounts. I know I so often ruin most of our social gatherings by eventually bringing up all the shit that’s happening. I see your faces, I hear your silence and I notice the lack of engagement online, I’m well aware these topics are just heavy as fuck and you have your own lives to focus on, you have your own priorities.. I get that..
Dear friend, I understand us people, we care for what and who we know. I want you to understand that the reason I keep posting this shit, why I keep talking about it every chance I get, why I choose to learn and understand the depths of this chaos, why I don’t care for the things I used to care for is because I have been making these incredible, magical friendships with Syrians since Lebanon. Friends like Fedaa - A fierce, talented, mystical Warrior of a Woman with a heart that carries the universe. Friends like Abdullah - one of the most honorable men I’ve known, one of the few men throughout my lifetime that I can truly put on a pedestal. Each one of these friends I’ve made have shown me what means generosity and selflessness. And my students, the teenage girls - looking in their eyes I felt like little me is looking in the mirror. I knew how to read what their eyes are saying. It is overwhelming how much i love and miss them.
My dear friend, you, who knows me, knows I care a fuck lot for the people in my life, you know that even if I’m not always in the same country with you, I have always been just a phone call away when you need me. The same way I have stood up for you, I have to stand up for my friends who are from Syria.
Each time a bomb is dropped in a city in Syria, I always know someone who had their home there. Each time I pray to all the gods out there that their families and friends would be safe, hoping they had fled beforehand, and then I cry myself to sleep with a heart that’s broken into a million pieces because of the pain I can only imagine my friends must feel.
Please understand, my friends from Syria already work so hard to help themselves and people around them in this incredible injustice and suffering they must face. So when I’m sharing all these horrible articles and videos it is a desperate attempt to get your attention cause I need you! My friends need you!
I’m not asking for your pity, they for sure don’t want your pity. We want you to see them as fellow humans though..
I’m asking you to get fucking furious, enraged, fuming that the goddamn leaders of our world are making my friends and their loved ones endure such agonizing pain. That the leaders of our world are not bringing these individuals to justice!
Just imagine for a moment that it’s your country, these are your people.. (cause they are.. Aren’t we one?)
Dear friend, if I’ve ever been there for you in any point of your life, please take my cry for help seriously and show me you care for me too by just doing as little as sharing some of this beautiful artwork i’ve looked up for you on your social media to raise a conversation, show solidarity to my friends, with the following hashtags -
#Act4Daraa #AssadWarCrimes #RussiaWarCrimes #OpenTheBorders
And if you’re even a better friend, you’ll urge your circle to do the same.
In violation of an internationally-sanctioned de-escalation zone, the Assad regime and its Russian patron last week launched a territorial and aerial assault campaign to conquer Daraa in south-west
• Right now 320,000 civilians fleeing Southern Syria -
• Jordan has blocked the boarders and people have nowhere to go to - no shelter, no supplies, medicine, or basic needs for survival in scorching heat and lack of water supply and baby milk. Countless elderly and children are displaced in devastating conditions. No organization except more influential bodies such as UNHCR are able to reach the internally displaced civilians of Daraa.
• 8 hospitals have been bombed in #Daraa by Assad and Russia (Medical deprivation tactic has been used time and again in every area Assad & Russian annihilate and destroy).
Artwork by Fedaa Alwaer - image link
Artwork by Fedaa Alwaer - image link
Artwork by Wissam Al Jazairy - image link
Artwork by Wissam Al Jazairy - image link
Artwork by Tammam Azzam - image link
Arwork by Tammam Azzam - image link
I will take the outcome of this post personally, cause it is personal!
I’m jumping straight from the silence this blog page has been suffering from since Lebanon to an article I wrote for King Kong magazine about Estonian creative scene. Trying to make this part of my website more active again.
In order to tell you about the creative scene in Estonia, it is important to know some of the background of it.
I was born in 1993 to the newly independent Estonia. It is this beautiful tiny country with a population of 1,3 million people, flourishing with green nature one half of the year and is freezing cold, dark and grey the other half.
Throughout centuries our home was under many foreign occupations. Our neighboring countries forcing their beliefs and ways on our people, making estonians voiceless and suppressed. No arms to fight with, our deeply rooted pagan spirit, patience and level-headedness helped us to rise as an independent nation from Soviet Union in 1991.
As a mass, we look like a very grumpy crowd of people who are forced to have bad sex all the time. Seeing a stranger smile to you on the streets is more bizarre than seeing a flying pig.. But getting a closer look, one can see the extremely loyal, hard working, kind hearted forces of nature. Witches. Wolves.
I think it was just a couple years ago that I started noticing a change in the creative world of Estonia. Suddenly we accepted that fashion and trends arrive late to us if they even do, so we dress to match our characters, thrift store gems are making kids look fresh as fuck, we have girl rappers presenting some badass lines, djs performing in forest parties.. Slowly but surely we are less self conscious and more brave to be our true selves. Lets put it this way - Instead of Kim Kardashing our appearances, we Princess Nokia our fat bellies and lil titties with some glitter action.
Our parents, forefathers were living by the rules of the oppressors - no room to dream, just work hard to have bread on the table and do as told, the walls have ears. Free at last, we are still learning to unlearn the rules. Today, we live in a completely different Estonia though, it is unusual for older generations to comprehend that the young travels, works abroad, doesn’t follow the old structures of what living should be like, makes living by coloring faces and taking photos of them..whaaaaat.. My grandma says jokingly ‘’stop playing a fool’’ while my mom tells me that i’m living her dream. Besides that, interestingly, some call us a ‘’fatherless generation’’. Most of us didn’t grow up having an honorable, loving father figure, they are/were either criminals, drunks or just playing a 25 year long hide and seek.. Instead, we have been raised by the endless love of our heroic mothers. Growing up witnessing the strength of love that makes a woman, a mother, move mountains in order to provide their children a fair chance of a healthy future is what has made us to be the people we are today.
So yeah, it’s definitely been challenging to find own voice for the creative scene, when western worlds movies show life from a completely different angle, with different values than ours. We have gone from being offended by the label ‘’Eastern Europe’’ and trying to prove our western ways to really embracing our roots, finding our voices, understanding that what makes us different, makes us special. We are continuously deeply spiritual. We worship the nature, we talk to the sea, we hug trees, we follow the moon. We work hard towards perfection and trust in our Mothers Land. Our creative industry is massively lead by awesome multi talented women. Designers stay environmentally conscious. Photographers take photos of women as warrior, goddesses instead of over sexualizing them. We are not afraid of looking androgynous nor unicorns. We are keeping reality in our fantasies, empowering one another, caring for one another. United.
March 6, 2017
I haven’t written as much as there’s so much happening while I’m getting more used to the life here everyday.
I haven’t really shed a tear much before but after reading about the stories my girls wrote of their lives before war and now I haven’t been able to stop tearing up.. I guess it takes a minute to get used to the life and once you’ve gotten to a certain understanding, you start hearing more what is said around you.
The more I get to know about the lives of the people who I’m surrounded by, the more admiration i have for them. This feeling is accompanied with deep sadness, like a rock sitting on my heart. Their stories are difficult, there’s so much loss, but their outlook to life is about moving forward and making the best of all. They are so strong. The war took their homes and people close to them and it didn’t stop there, now they are imprisoned in countries where they don’t want to be, where they are treated with such disrespect, separated from their families and friends.
I have grown to understand that the ones who can reason why they don’t care of giving their helping hand to a refugee are the weakest of them all. They have let media brainwash them to think Syrian refugee’s are not people, that Syrian children are not kids, that muslims are bad and all terrorists, that Syrian want to take over countries.. yet they are kindest people i’ve met. They give and give and give even though they don’t have much..
They had it all before.. and now so many are forced to live like dogs. It could be you. If we let war keep happening, it could be you one day, or your child, or your grandchild.
It’s very hard for me to work on the images i’ve taken of the people in Saida. I’ve captured a lot of these moments where they look so happy. It’s this moment I pressed the button on my camera, this moment I’m eternally grateful for. As SB’s slogan says ‘’Give Hope’’, their smiles on the images give hope to me. My heart is broken and yet I feel so much love looking at them.