This piece continues a series of poetic responses to photographs taken by Refugee Hosts PI Dr Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh during a field-trip to Baddawi refugee camp and the neighbourhood of Jebel al-Baddawi in North Lebanon, and to a range of neighbourhoods in Beirut in March-April 2018. Written by Refugee Hosts Writer-in-Residence Yousif M. Qasmiyeh and/or PI Dr Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, they reflect on everyday encounters in and dynamics of displacement.
A daily rhythm inside which time can grow…
By Yousif M. Qasmiyeh and Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, Refugee Hosts
Which is more intimate: the body in its absolute nakedness – concealed temporarily perhaps – or the nakedness in the thing, exposed or otherwise?
The place is a garage or a ground-floor room, a singular room with a small toilet, on the outskirts of Baddawi camp, occupied by some people, likely to be a young family, likely Syrian, likely present when the picture was taken.
But where were they exactly? What were they doing or not doing as the shutter induced the closure of the scene?
The weight of the two pairs of jeans, of different sizes, hung to dry against the black gate is palpable in the slight indentation or slope on the rope.
A red sheet, dotted with the outlines of white roses and leaves, guards the door – a sign of semi-normality and a marker of privacy to some extent.
A pair of slippers left obliquely on the threshold to separate, or so to claim, the public from the private hints at the presence of at least one person at the time.
The white wall, ceiling, and the makeshift washing-line, the black gates, the faded blue of the trousers, the red and white of the sheet, the brown-black slippers, the colours of things, people’s things, stillness and life – colours which are being borne horizontally, vertically and sideways in an attempt to sustain a daily rhythm inside which time can grow.
Photograph by © Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, Jebel al-Baddawi, North Lebanon, April 2018.
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