Dalia Khamissy: Lebanon's missing

I finally got round to watching this almost a week after Ben of Duckrabbit sent out an email to let us know it was up and live on the BBC website. I haven't yet listened to the accompanying, longer radio documentary but I am about to. Kudos to the BBC for letting us download this as a podcast (which they do for so many of their wonderful programs).

It is fantastic stuff. The audio interviews drive the narrative and inform us of the events. The balance of stills and video is well thought out and there's some great synchronicity and juxtaposition between the audio and visual. A couple of quibbles: I do always prefer subtitles to voice over translation (though this doesn't work too well on the radio!) and DJ shadow's little interlude feels out of place. But that's me being picky. Overall - and this is the most important thing - what I see and hear informs me and educates me about a situation I previously had no knowledge of, gives me an insight into the thoughts and feelings of those involved, gives me pause and forces me to contemplate the lives of those who I have just been offered a glimpse of, makes me examine my own thoughts and feelings about my own life and situation and takes me to a place a long way from the quiet and peaceful room I am now in, so much so that my mind actually jarred when I looked up from the computer to see it still silently snowing outside my window.

That's powerful reporting.

As Ben states: "Few know about the Missing in Lebanon, which is why I think it's an important story to be heard. Not because the broadcast will change anything dramatically but because memory is resistance against the same atrocities being repeated."

Unfortunately Ben also hits here on a troublesome point for the journalist - will telling this story change anything for the better? I am sure that the men and boys who went missing 30 years ago are no longer alive. This much is made clear. What can be done then? Well, the key here in this instance is the second sentence from the above quote "...memory is resistance against the same atrocities being repeated."

I couldn't have put it more succinctly myself.

Great stuff from Dalia Khamissy and thanks to Benjamin Chesterton and the BBC for bringing it to us in this form.


Benjamin said...

Tom, thanks for posting this review of the project. I hope you take time to listen to the full documentary because the film is only a real taster.

I'm hoping that Open Eye will become a regular series on the BBC. A window for photographers to share the important stories they are working on.

Th audience is massive, and I'm trying to make something thats not about photography.

Dalia is brilliant in this documentary and its wonderful to hear a local photographer telling a local story.

My ambition is to build Open Eye into a strand that does exactly that.

Thanks again Tom. Dalia will be thrilled to read this, as will the mothers who we are forwarding on all the responses.


Anonymous said...

Tom, thank you for posting that.. (My google alerts told me about the post..)

I am sadly also 99% sure that most of the kidnapped are killed... most parents are also sure but refuse to give up the 1% remaining hope!

What can be done? mm.. As Umm Aziz said, she wants her kids, even if it is one bone of each one of the 4... Those parents are still looking for their children, even if remains.. They just want answers about why they were killed, who killed them and most importantly they want closure.. This is all about it really, closure...

Benjamin thank you! as ever my brilliant friend!