1992. Rafiq Ali Ahmad

Lebanese playwright Rafiq Ali Ahmad is featured in this last scene from Mai Masri and Jean Khalil Chamoun’s 1992 “Suspended Dreams” (أحلام معلقة), released just two years after the ‘end’ of the Lebanese Civil War.

What about me? What about the destruction within me? How will my confidence as a human being be restored? We’re being undermined in a different way, drained in a new way.

This advertising attack on our society. Wherever you go, you see advertisements. They want to brainwash you. At every corner is a man on a horse, with a rope. You feel as though he’s going to strangle you. The real pollution is about changing people, because humans are the basis of the environment.

The environment is the interaction between man and Earth. That’s what gives us memory, poetry, art and culture. Clothes are the environment. When there is an assault on memory and culture you change the form and the substance of people it’s environment death.

Our sense of belonging, our spirituality, our upbringing, our relationships with each other. We’re undergoing a new attack which is tearing us apart, which fragments us. There’s still an alienation between the outer form and the inner substance.

How will I ever feel at one with this building which they’ll build of glass and aluminium? Just as the village peasant wears clothes which merge with his surroundings the city must merge with the land and the environment.

Just as they reconstruct these buildings they must help us regain confidence and become whole. We should know why this theatre was destroyed. We should know why we’re afraid of the future.