I returned to Lebanon in the winter cold and rain to shoot the stories of lives lived away from the media spotlight of an impending European war, to bear witness to the Lebanese people, crippled by dizzying inflation and political unrest. Home to the world’s largest refugee population per capita, the country seemed to be in political and economic free fall, ignored on the international stage.
Most of the captions below are excerpts from my journal.
We head north to Lebanon’s Tripoli, in torrential rain and hailstones. Arriving at a grey intersection, the town looks broken and angry. I don’t want to get out of the car, have had enough of so little hope. Getting out, we wander on uneven pavements, water still pouring from the edges of roofs without gutters. Poverty stares out from the buildings, cars and streets. But the orange trees seem unwittingly abundant and untouched. Why does no one pick them?
Walking through, is like stepping back in time – there is no advertising, few signs or street furniture, and it reminds me of another Tripoli where the billboards only showed Gadaffi. On the way back to the car, a figure sits in an ancient Mercedes, through a hazy window, wrapped in a kaffir, his hands gripping a briefcase. Unseen, I start shooting. He slowly turns, and I shoot him blank faced. I drop my camera and then he smiles back. I nod my thanks.