Mar 20, 2017

Eves On Wheels, The Next Chapters

It's been a long while since I blogged, and I couldn't be happier to make a comeback for one of my biggest project, Eves On Wheels. So many of you know by now how it never was planned to turn it eventually into a project, I don't have resources enough to make that happen, or to take it where it must go to.

As I was interviewing all the gorgeous female cyclists in both Tripoli and Beirut, it was almost always nothing short to pure fun. We'd experiment together, the cyclist who more often than not were not used to being photographed, and myself who's not really used to shooting poses. The effort that's been put, however, has been great by far. We all managed to come up with beautiful photographs that portray each character in liaison with their story, all in a much suitable environment in the frame too. We also managed to get the media to write about us, I personally had been interviewed a handful times on TV and Radio, and so on and so forth.

It's no secret today at all, how much support the project needs to come up to expectations. Starting with the logistical and financial needs to cover harsher parts in Lebanon, I'm just thinking out loud when I mention the Bekaa valley, Beirut's southern suburb, Southern cities such as Saida and Sur. All those aside, the project has been harvesting major appraisals anywhere its news travel to. On the official level, Eves On Wheels has booked an exclusive exhibiting space at the KIP Conference for Sexual Harassment and Discrimination at the AUB, on both March 31st and April 1st, 2017. It has also been officially invited by the Alliance Francaise - Karachi to visit, exhibit, and possibly hold a handful activities related to the topic, such as open talks with community, presentations in universities, public seminars, etc.

Furthermore, the project is given the green flag to visit each of Algeria, Turkey, Pakistan, India, Iran, Egypt, Sudan and Iraq to cover the similar female cycling revolution, where women alike are claiming back their rights in male-dominated societies. Countries like Syria, Jordan, Tunis, Morocco and many others could also be fertile lands for similar initiatives, on the hopes to create a virtual support platform for all these women just like it did in Lebanon.

The "Eves On Wheels" project has, by words of others, raised the spirits of so many of its Eves who were in dire need to feel any sort of support at a given time, due to knockdowns by their own families and communities at times. And I personally cannot imagine the support the project will transfer to other women elsewhere too.

Crowdfunding page on Generosity
For all the above, I have started a crowdfunder recently that would remain active until the project sustains itself for a couple more year. I have therefore asked for 2,000USD that would cover printing costs for the exhibition at the KIP, in addition to the trip costs to Karachi and hopefully to other cities in Pakistan.

If you ever feel like supporting the project, giving it a much needed push, here's what you can do:
  1. Donate: by visiting the crowdfunder on Generosity:
  2. Share among your friends, call or send emails.
  3. Share on social media and invite your friends.
  4. Put me in touch with somebody who might be interested in sponsoring the project. Said sponsor has to have some relation to cycling, might be a cycling company, a bicycle shop, and so on.
I'm personally aware of how crucial this stage is to the project. It's very much clear to me that I'm either able to sustain the project and grow it into something more impactful, or just basically enjoying the thrill of the upcoming exhibition and then leave everything to be forgotten over time.

A video of last year's exhibition at Beit El Nessim:

Nov 19, 2016

When Aly found Marie

Not so long ago, particularly in one of my summer trips to Lebanon, I meet a woman called Marie, she endlessly wept as she was telling me . It was then when she hit me with the worst, as she was heartbroken over the fact that her son would be 62 the next day. I didn't get it, and upon me asking why is this making her so sad, she frantically said "he's been missing since 37 years now".

News got on social media through the below post, and it took some time before it got some interaction and, only in March 2016 had the story's exposure started to pick up. Many people shared the story, some of them recognized Marie (or somebody who looked similar, or had a similar story), but then there was only this guy, Aly, who was literally head-first in the story, he left me wondering what's in it for him as he was privately messaging me over the course of the next two months on the updates of his search.

Some time passed and I had not realized at all, that Aly had never forgotten about Marie, until just yesterday where he pops up saying "We Found Her". My heart was on cloud 9 that same moment, I just couldn't believe it. It felt as if I had been waiting for that update since forever now.

However charming and magnificent this update might sound, we're still on the shore nevertheless. First of all the only sort of help that could bring Marie back to life is putting all efforts into investigating in her son's fate. A closure for a grieving person like Marie can mean the whole world, can even be more important than her own life. I still remember her telling me of how unimportant food was, if it weren't for a few good church servants who'd offer her a meal or two weekly. Second sort of help can be, of course, by providing her with a sturdy and coherent source of shelter and income, so that she wouldn't have to beg taxi drivers to drive her somewhere for free.

And last but not least, if there was anything that shook our hearts with Marie's story is the fact that there still are thousands and thousands similar brokenhearted mothers and wives out there in this damned country, forever grieving their loved ones waking up each day wishing for a closure. And I had not seen one politician do anything in that measure. It's time we woke up and grew some guts in that sense, Marie and all the other mothers certainly deserve to live the rest of their lives peacefully.

I will keep you updated as Aly will meet Marie very soon, there might be some ways we could all help.

"Heartbreaking , closure is important , it is a daily torture to live with the questions that have no answers , is he alive ? Is he dead? How ? Where? When? A mother's heart will never forget or let go , it will forever beat with the aching endless love for her kids !"Latifa El Hinnawi