Sign In / Up

Add contribution as a guest

Your email will not be displayed publicly
Benefit of signing in/signing up to personalize comment

Comment as a guest

Your email will not be displayed publicly
Benefit of signing in/signing up to personalize comment


Not a member Register   Forgot Password
or connect using




Middle East

Syrian refugees convey life through plays and peformance

By Rudaw 25/6/2016

(AP) - Syrian refugees in Lebanon have created a series of plays based on what life is like for them in their country.


'The Caravan' tackles gritty topics at a time when Lebanon is struggling to cope with the volume of refugees.


A young man, dressed in a wig, wraps himself in a towel during a street performance on the dusty floor of an open market in Lebanon's Bekaa valley.


He is acting out the story of a Syrian woman who coquettishly complains about having no privacy in a crowded refugee tent.


The audience laughs as she flirts with her husband, but the mood soon changes as an actor starts shouting down the phone to emergency services. He's trying to get a Syrian refugee girl with serious heart condition admitted to hospital. During the play no Lebanese hospital will take her and she dies. The act is designed to highlight bureaucracy in Lebanese hospitals.


These stories are part of a collection that make up The Caravan, a street performance project told, recorded and acted by Syrian refugees in Lebanon. As director Sabine Choucair, explains it's all based on real life stories:


"The Caravan project started this year. We went to the Syrian refugee camps in the Bekaa valley searching for personal stories, stories that happened to the people on the road, in Syria or in Lebanon. We worked with a large number of women, men and children. We chose 20 stories, we recorded the stories and we put them on social media. Then we chose from those stories, personal stories".


The Caravan will tour Lebanon over the next six weeks and is already provoking strong reactions from audiences - some of whom are uncomfortable with the sometimes gritty subject matter.


For every four Lebanese people, there is currently one Syrian registered refugee living in this small neighbouring country of about 4.5 million, awash with informal settlements.


There are 1.1 million registered Syrian refugees in Lebanon, out of 4.8 million worldwide, but tens of thousands more live in the country without registration.


Five years since the war in Syria began, the influx has not stopped and Lebanese and Syrians alike are struggling to deal with the scale of the problem in the absence of a political resolution.


Attitudes in Lebanon have hardened against Syrians, as many Lebanese complain that they are taking their jobs, flooding the market with smuggled goods and raising property prices.


For the actors The Caravan is a chance for them to get closer to their Lebanese hosts as well as communicate what life here is like for them.


"It (the play) is to communicate an idea and to send the story between the Lebanese and the Syrians. And take away all the disagreements between them and become one side so we can return to our land", says Hanan Dergham, the only female actor in the play.


At the age of 10 she fled Homs with her family after her father was imprisoned. Her aunt and cousins died in an airstrike and her sister was badly burned. Despite this, she is determined to stay positive.


"People should forget the past and think about the future. They must forget the past, which is making their hearts dark, and begin to have some light in their lives", Hanan says.


Many shoppers at the market stop to watch the performance. Some are cynical about the project while others find the actors' stories touching.


One Lebanese vendor, who chose not to give his name, said the story of the girl failing to get into a hospital broke his heart. The Caravan was for him a window into how gloomy the future is for the next generation. "We are on the same page," he says.


Eco warrior Brit | 26/6/2016
Oh, so heartwarming to see how all these poor old refugees are conveying their plights through drama. As they are fellow human beings like us, it is really important to continue supporting them in the best way we can until we can resolve the Syrian crisis once and for all, then folks. Hanan, stay positive as your aunt, cousins and sister would have wanted, and you shall one day return to Syria to rebuild your lives in their memories, God willing, then men. Mr Vendor, continue selling tickets to this play so as to keep recruiting locals to witness the horrors of the refugees' plight next door through the excellence of drama, because as you said, we are all indeed on the same page, then men. And finally, Sabine, keep on directing this excellent performance and spreading awareness of what is happening to the Syrian people through your impeccable production of the Caravan, so as to show the audience what it is really like next door, and the importance of ending the crisis once and for all, then folks. I am an excellent actor myself, and so I would love to perform a Syrian themed dramatisation too, since I am praying everyday for the end of Assad and Daesh to be near, and the long awaited peace deal in Syria to be reached at last, so that the refugees can return home again and rebuild their lives and nation once more, then folks. Thanks a lot, then guys, and yes, and a cheers too, then men. Amen. From a Christian who sympathises with the peaceful Muslims.

Be Part of Your Rudaw!

Share your stories, photos and videos with Rudaw, and quite possibly the world.

What You Say

Gulen Turk | 1/21/2019 7:46:46 AM
Turkey sooner or later must go out of Kurdish lands , the sooner the better can not kill 30 million Kurds ...
yanxit | 1/21/2019 2:23:15 PM
how many american peshmergas have fallen in rojava? MORE THAN A DOZEN mcgurks bank group CITI wellsfargo cashing in with his iranian buddies, thats...
Erodgan and Trump call as McGurk lambasts US pullout from Syria
| 23 hours ago | (2)
Mohamedzzz | 1/21/2019 12:07:23 PM
US only can trust the Kurds, it's been long due that he dumps Turkey and supports Kurds unconditionally.
Hishyar Zaxoy | 1/21/2019 1:49:01 PM
6 or so Kurdish fighters killed yet the topic is strangely about US no casualties. This is called ars--licking
Anti-ISIS coalition convoy attacked in Syria
| 17 hours ago | (3)
Kurdish boy | 1/21/2019 7:53:41 AM
God bless Israel ...
kurd | 1/21/2019 1:11:38 PM
where are those big mouth ayatolahs? ghasem solymani is hiding loooooool
Israel says strikes Iranian targets in Syria
| yesterday at 08:04 | (2)
Dang | 1/20/2019 10:31:45 AM
This regime is the great ally according to senator Graham and the Trumpet
Mohamedzzz | 1/21/2019 12:11:56 PM
This starts looking like Pol Pot of Cambodia.
Man detained by Turkey for ‘liking’ anti-Erdogan Facebook post
| yesterday at 08:58 | (4)

Elsewhere on Rudaw

Genel signs oil agreement with Chevron for fields in Duhok, Sulaimani 14 hours ago |

Genel signs oil agreement with Chevron for fields in Duhok, Sulaimani

"The additions to our portfolio are an important more
Germany bans Iranian Mahan Air's flights for ties to IRGC 17 hours ago |

Germany bans Iranian Mahan Air's flights for ties to IRGC

Mahan Air has four weekly flights to-and-from more
Anti-ISIS coalition convoy attacked in Syria 17 hours ago | (3)

Anti-ISIS coalition convoy attacked in Syria

There were no casualties among US forces more
0.282 seconds