Last Saturday I went with Mom and my friends to attend a screening of “Scheherazade in Baabda” at Metro Al-Madina theater.
For those who never heard about it, it was a piece of theater that was played last year at the Baabda prison for women. The actresses were women inmates. The creative director Zeina Daccache worked with many inmates to help them go thru their ordeals using drama therapy. She worked with them around 8-10 months to understand who they are, what they went thru, helped them express themselves, face their daemons, overcome some of their challenges… The stories were inspired by real stories from the condemned’s lives.
Most of the women were there because they did something wrong… unfortunately the law does not condemn persons who brought them to doing it as well.
Every cell would contain 17-20 women…the bathroom was in that cell… the food is chickpeas, everyday... the recreation place is a big room with one or two windows…
There is a woman who killed her husband because he kept beating her over years, her parents worried more about her divorce than her funeral, and the police considered it to be a “family matter” for them to get involved. But once she killed him, they came after her!!!
There is another woman who did drugs to escape her social, economical, and family situation. Instead of supporting her, society waited till she fell down and brought her to jail…
There is a third woman who never had a chance to live as a child, as a teenager and as a woman… never have a chance to have her own family…
There is a fourth woman who just doesn’t know where her three kids are right now...
There is a fifth woman who got stuck in jail for four years before they found out she was innocent!!! Who would bring her back her four years of life? No one…
Some are still there although they finished their sentence, but they can’t afford paying their bail out…
Those women were as guilty as victims, their childhood, their youth and their lives were taken away from them…
Zeina Daccache and Catharsis helped them the same they helped male inmates before… You can help too: in a country where electricity is not too important for the government to provide it 24/7 to their citizens... of course the inmates are the least of their worries, so a toothbrush can be a luxury to them… you can help by donating goods, money, buying inmates’ products (jewelry they make, candles, …), by sending food, clothes and sanitary stuff or by simply donating money to Catharsis….
You can also help by giving an inmate who just got out of jail, an opportunity to work and re-integrate in the society without fearing they will rob/hurt you… you know, there are many people out there who did just what those inmates did, and you are surrounded by them… the only difference is that they haven’t been caught!
Jarod Kintz, an American author, said: “If I spent ten years in prison, I’d probably come to value the small things in life. Things like good food, a comfy bed, and a toothbrush sharpened into a shank.”
And Nelson Mandela said: “It is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones.”
Listen to your beloved ones, support them with their choices, argue with them... just don’t leave them alone facing their challenges, as the price might be really high…
My “Thank You” goes to OBRL who organized the event. The proceeds went to Catharsis, who helps inmates through their rehabilitation program in Lebanese prisons,
My “Thank You” goes to the inmates who shared their stories and pain with us, and
My whisper dedication goes to Zeina Daccache who gave her time and effort to make the inmates feel that they still exist, they are still human beings, they’re still alive…
You can know more about them here:
Rania Hammoud, Life Coach
Check also my blog at http://raniahammoud.blogspot.com
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