Weapons of Mass Creativity

Iraqi and Cambodian Artists turn war metal leftovers to works of art

By: Niam Itani, Co-Founder at Snazzy Bazaar

Growing up during the Lebanese Civil War, which officially ended more than 25 years ago, I am constantly amazed at how that war continues to define me as a human being.  The war has left an everlasting mark on me. I tried to get rid of its traces for many years, but eventually I surrendered and embraced the fact that it will always shape who I am.  This is why I find myself in awe of people who are able to rise above war and even try to undo its effects.

Sinoeun Men from Cambodia and Fattah Mohammad from Iraq do that on a daily basis. Both men have lived many years of conflict in their own countries, and today they are dedicated to creative initiatives that transform material war remnants into works of art.

Read Full Original Post at: https://www.snazzybazaar.com/blogs/news/weapons-of-mass-creativity


I Left Beirut

And so, I left Beirut (again), one day…

My experiment as a returnee failed miserably.  You need A LOT of self motivation and positivity to survive in a place like Post War Lebanon – unfortunately.

I have much better feelings towards Lebanon when I am away.

I love it more, I am more proud of it, I defend it when someone speaks ill of it,  I am able to read more about it and tolerate it, all these things are way easier to do when I am outside the country. Most Lebanese people with dual nationalities, or who don’t reside in Lebanon full time, have similar sentiments.

As I progress in editing my film and the theme of home keeps popping up, the concept and definition of “country” fades away.

We grow up repeating slogans such as “My Country is more precious than My Life”. But I feel that our countries are not more precious than our lives.  Countries are man made.

And then again, back to the initial thought, what defines our countries? Google Maps? The signs at the entrances and exits of our cities?  The place where our families live(d) or descended from?  I ask these questions about belonging to the country while most Lebanese people embrace and sacrifice their lives for belonging to more limited entities  – the village, the tribe, the sect, the religion, the party, the elite… the ZEFT.

And we’ve been conditioned to believe that life is worth one of these things -except for the Zeft; which comes free every election season or another –if elections do take place.

The first step into growing beyond our fanaticism and narrow mindedness is to strip naked from these attachments. They are a major obstacle that prevents us from moving forward with our revolution against corruption and political sectarianism.

The importance of finding a screenwriting mentor…

My Blank Page

yoda-lukeEvery teacher had a teacher. Every mentor had a trusted advisor. It’s an ongoing process of learning and staying humble about the fact that what you don’t know can actually hurt you.  If you’re lucky enough to work on film productions you can make the necessary contacts with professionals and learn from their experience.  This is a vital element in your continual growth as a filmmaker and screenwriter.  Find a filmmaking mentor and apprentice under them or at least have access to them as they are working.  Study how they handle their business and ask questions about the craft. They’ve already survived many of the pitfalls that you have yet to experience and their knowledge will help you better travel on your journey to success.

I’ve been blessed in my career to have worked with Academy Award® winning producers, veteran directors, and Academy Award®, Emmy® and Golden Globe® nominated actors…

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Beirut: Most Secure City in the World

So I was watching a documentary film about security threats imposed by hackers in this digital age, and one of the biggest concerns of all the “good” people was this, and I paraphrase: Can you imagine what would happen to any city if hackers messed up with the city infrastructure digital system?

– Niam thinks of Beirut and hmmm…”Nothing?” I suspect there is an infrastructure in the first place.

And then the “good” person goes on:

“Can you think of the huge losses that any city in the world would go through if Electricity is shut off for one single day?”

– Niam thinks of Beirut and, hmmm…. “None?” The electricity is shut off every single day.

Moral of the story: Beirut is the most secure city in the whole world. In your face, Technology! IN YOUR FACE!

1975 – 1990

April 13, 1975

And the civil war goes on and on and on…

Remembering does not alleviate the pain. But maybe it prevents repeating the mistakes.

Forgiving is difficult. And it is more difficult when those who need to be forgiven are ruling us and stealing our daily bread.

If they can forget because they were enjoying what they were doing, we the children of the war will say it out loud: