Stories, whether true or fiction, can help us understand the deepest parts of ourselves as we unconsciously relate to characters and their situations.
Storytelling is a very powerful tool, but it’s not always positive. Sometimes, narratives are written that oppress an entire group of people, a culture or a region.
Take Lebanon. In many parts of the West, Lebanon is only associated with conflict. The Middle East is seen as one giant country with sandy landscapes, veiled scared women and crazy Arab men with machine guns. This has become a big part of our collective identity to outsiders (even when it’s deep in their subconscious).
Nobody freak out, this is of course, a generalization, but generally speaking this is a narrative that has been built over decades of media storytelling. Just take a look at Homeland’s depiction of Hamra Street to get an idea of what I mean.
Let’s not kid ourselves, we have had a lot of conflict… I seem to recall something about a civil war… but, conflict does not need to be our sole defining characteristic.
As storytellers, we can honestly bend this narrative and help others gain a greater understanding of who we truly are
AS WE SEE IT, not as they see it.
That’s exactly what filmmakers Samah el Kadi and Shakeeb Hammad of LITTLE TREE FILMS are doing with their newest project #thisislebanon. Their viral campaign coaxes us with: “when someone asks you where you’re from, tell them…”