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Youth Zones – Lebanon
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Youth Zones – Lebanon
During conflicts and natural disasters, young people, at a crucial stage of their development, are faced with numerous challenges. Yet in the midst of these difficulties, youths will also help to raise their younger siblings, put food on the table, contribute to peace movements, galvanize their communities, and contribute in numerous other ways to positive changes. Crucial as these stories are, most of them are never told.
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Directed by Lisa Russell. Learn more about the Youth Zones project.

Originally featured in the ViewChange Online Film Contest.

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Segment 1

TITLE
Lebanon
MAN [War survivor, Sierra Leone]
What did he say?
WOMAN 1 [Discussion leader]
He said, "What are you doing here? This is a country of conflict."
MAN
Well, you have to hear where I come from, and then you will know. Sierra Leone, you may not know, brother, but it's a small country in West Africa. And, in 1991, we had a terrible war that lasted for 11 years. I saw, in Sierra Leone, what it meant, I saw how my sisters, my cousins, people that I loved, were sexually abused and raped. I saw houses being burned. I saw schools being burned. I have lived and seen what it means when a society decides to not give a voice to its young people, and ... ah ... yes.
WOMAN 1
Wow
VOICEOVER
Exposure to extreme violence is known to cause immense emotional distress to adolescents and children.
MAN
I just want to hear how you think war affects your lives as young people.
WOMAN 2 [War survivor, Lebanon]
For me, the war left some negative things inside of me, because we lost many people we knew.
WISSAM [Student]
In a moment of dust and a stunned soil, no time to lose a tear.
VOICEOVER
Issam is a 20-year-old student in Beirut who is visiting his parents' home, located in Cyrus city, south of Lebanon, when Lebanon's 2006 war began.
WISSAM
You can see the cracks in this wall, due to the bombs that were thrown beside the building here, and also another crack here that's well visible.
VOICEOVER
When the bombs and helicopters were circling above, Wissam and his family and some neighbors took shelter in their basement.
WISSAM
We don't have enough mattresses, so there was a law: Mattresses are just for the children. Women and men must sleep on the floor. And once I was looking at the children sleeping. I can't forget that image. So, I decided with my sister, since we have a camera, a digital cam, let's take photos. We started doing funny stuff. Just trying to live, to do something because we were so depressed, honestly. Inside, we were so depressed. Maybe, if we died, and the media would come here, and they would see us dead, they can find the camera, and they can see us, that we were civilians, we were peaceful, and we were killed for no reason. I was asking, why do they fight? What for? Life is not worth to fight for it. You're going to lose it. You're going to die someday. So, try to live it. Go. Sing. Dance. Bring colors to people. Give love to everyone. Smile. This is life. It's nice.
GENWA [Wissam's sister]
I didn't believe in brotherhood. Instead, I wanted to fight. And if I could, I would. I ran away and helped them instead. Today, I'm stronger. I'm not afraid. Now, I'm up for peace or anything alike. Enough bloodshed. Life is a one-time strike.