Hummus, Falafel, Refugees

Disclaimer: Some people may find the images displayed in this post to be disturbing.

Been a while since I've posted (as usual - got so frustrated with the whole thing that I ended up removing the blog page from my website). I simply haven't had much to share relating to photography lately....

The reason why I'm writing this is to spread some love for a long term photo project that a dear, dear friend of mine has just completed and is currently in the process of making a self-published photo-book pending funding via a Pozible campaign.

The project has a rather funny title called "Hummus, Falafel, Refugees" but there's nothing humorous about the photos that will be displayed on its pages. It focuses on the dire situation of the common refugees who have been displaced as a result of the countless (and seemingly never ending) armed conflicts in the Middle East region. This body of work is a prime example of a documentary photo project done right - he had questions; he used his camera to get the answers.

Syrian children with Leishmaniasis, a disease caused by infection with Leishmania parasites, which are spread by the bite of sand flies.

Refugee camp near the Lebanon/Syria border, Lebanon 2013. © Ahmad Sabra

The photos take the viewer on a gut wrenching journey of the side of things most of us don't even think about because of the overly curated news stories that do a good job of steering the focus away from the humans that are truly affected. Most of these refugees are living in camps that animals would have a hard time living in; little to no basic infrastructure and absolutely nothing they can legally call their own. Electrical wires hanging perilously low as young children play underneath them; no sewage system that forces people to walk in fluids excreted by others; no medical stations or supplies; limited food and constantly being reminded by the natives that this is not their home.

Shatila Palestinian Refugee Camp.

Southern Beirut, Lebanon 2013. © Ahmad Sabra

I'm going to stop explaining about the project and let you get in touch with Ahmad for any questions you might have (he can be found on Facebook here).

His passion to help these people in any way that he can was so inspiring that it brought me to tears. He hopes this books will raise awareness about the deplorable conditions these refugees are living in and is donating a large portion of the funding to a one-man-show NGO called ASPIRE (Australian Society for Palestinian Iraqi Refugees Emergency) that is run by a Melbourne University lecturer, Yousef Al-Reemawi. I have embedded a short film below that will show you what Yousef has been able to accomplish so far with very limited funding and direction (sure, he had some help from established humanitarian organizations but one would be foolish not to see just how big a part he played in successfully relocating Iraqi refugee families in Australia).

Mohammed was born deaf because of his physical deformities. His father, the only bread earner of the family, was killed during the Israel/Palestine war of 2008. His mother collected money from within the community to purchase a hearing aid for him, which, unfortunately, broke soon after. Due to the extremely limited medical supplies in the refugee camps, his mother cannot afford the excessively inflated price for a replacement hearing aid or the facial reconstructive surgery that he needs.

Gaza, Palestine 2012. © Ahmad Sabra

A little bit about the photographer in question: Ahmad has won multiple awards for his documentary photo work; is accredited by the AIPP (Australian Institute of Professional Photography) and, along with his equally passionate-for-the-arts wife, is a working wedding and commercial photographer based here in Melbourne. Needless to say, you will be getting a quality product.

Ahmad Sabra. © Hasan Ibrahim

You can check out his personal website at http://www.sabraimagery.com.au/; his wedding and commercial photography website at http://www.lahza.com.au/; and the Pozible campaign can be found at http://hummusfalafelrefugees.com/.

Pledge and spread the word!


All photos displayed in this post have been used with permission from the photographer and may not be reproduced in any form without his consent.

Images: Copyright, Ahmad Sabra
Portrait of Ahmad Sabra: Copyright, Hasan Ibrahim