Starting 7 February, photos by documentary maker Aziz Kawak are exhibited at De Balie as part of Human Rights Weekend. Aziz Kawak, who himself also fled Syria, documented the plight of fellow Syrians in Lebanon.
Lebanon welcomed a lot of people from Syria, but the living conditions of refugees are precarious. For example, it is difficult for Syrians in Lebanon to obtain a residence permit, which makes it impossible for them to work or go to school. Moreover, the Lebanese government does not allow official refugee camps, which means that refugees have to build makeshift shelters themselves. With these measures, the Lebanese government is putting pressure on the refugees to go back to Syria, assuming the country would be safe again, while bombings are still taking place.
In the Baqa’a Valley, situated at the Lebanese border with Syria, there is such an informal refugee camp. Documentary filmmaker and photojournalist Aziz Kawak, who himself fled from Syria to the Netherlands when he was seventeen, travelled to the valley last summer to document the circumstances of his compatriots in the camp. The result is a documentary about Abdulhadi, a 27-year-old Syrian from Homs who has lived in the Baqa’a Valley for seven years, and this photo exhibition about the camp and the people living there.