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Syrian children in Lebanon express their plight with poetry

An exhibition in Beirut combines poems written by Syrian children with Lebanese and Syrian artists’ paintings, drawings and sculptures.

“I wish my father had not been killed in the war, just so that I could call him father,” wrote Ali Harb, 12, in his poem titled “My Father’s Abuse.” The poem, which he wrote when he was 10, expresses his pain of seeing his father die in front of him in Syria. This line, placed next to a somber painting by Lebanese artist Sandra Ghosn, is one of the works displayed in a collective exhibition called “Haneen” in Beirut.

“Haneen,” which means “loving” in Arabic, is supported by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in collaboration with local nongovernmental organization Beyond and Lebanese artist Chadi Aoun. The exhibition aims to show the healing nature of art in post-war therapy and to provide a bridge between the Syrian refugee children in Lebanon and Lebanese and Syrian artists. Thirty-nine poems whose stanzas are displayed in the exhibition are written by Syrian children, and 47 artists have interpreted them through paintings, drawings, sculptures and sound installations. The theme of the exhibition is what the war in Syria represents for the children.

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