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Syria: do you know where THEIR children are?

He is showing me his son’s foot that has been eaten away by a rat while he was sleeping.

Story and Photo by Icarus Blake - Icarus.citizenbrooklyn.com
Photo © Icarus Blake

Minieh, Lebanon © Icarus Blake

 

The man has a handsome, weathered face with deeply set hazel eyes. His beard is accurately trimmed and he wears a stark white shirt. You can tell he’s making an effort to maintain his dignity, but his of old sandals kept together with scotch tape give away the reality of his condition: he is a Syrian refugee living in a tent settlement in Minieh, Northern Lebanon.

He is showing me his son’s foot that has been eaten away by a rat while he was sleeping. A few feet away, the Beyond Association, a local NGO, is running a small medical center in partnership with UNICEF. Kids are lined up with all sorts of ailments. There is a diarrhea outbreak in the camp and many children are lying on IV under an aggressive re-hydration protocol.

Photo © Icarus Blake

Minieh, Lebanon © Icarus Blake

The tempers are short. A father complains with the doctors that his child needs hospitalization; a mother sobs holding an infant devastated by high fever. The camp is one of hundreds impromptu tent cities built by the Syrians out of desperation. They have to lease the land from local landlords and make do to come up with the rent. The tents are simple work of ingenuity with plastic walls and no real windows. The temperatures are constantly in the nineties and it’s almost impossible to stay inside during the day.

In spite of that, a child with a serious cerebral condition lies on the floor in one of the tents under the watchful eye of his powerless mother. Toilets are a little more than just holes in the ground, and human excrement run in fetid water along makeshift grooves dug along the tents. The odor is nauseating. A dirty well provides contaminated water responsible for the diarrhea outbreak. Next to the well, mounds of garbage are burning releasing toxic smoke.

Photo © Icarus Blake

Minieh, Lebanon © Icarus Blake

Photo © Icarus Blake

Minieh, Lebanon © Icarus Blake

There are 1,200,000  Syrian refugees in Lebanon, dispersed in camps like this one all over the country. To help them is a logistical nightmare. Thousands are pouring in from the border each day. The emergency grows into a humanitarian disaster and, in spite the heroic efforts of local NGOs and United Nations Organizations, the situation is near collapse.

And yet, the Lebanese government stubbornly refuses to allow functional refugee camps to be built on its territory. It fears a permanent problem similar to the one created by the Palestinian camps. It refuses to let anybody build any infrastructure to improve health conditions; latrines are built and taken down the next day. This absurd policy has created a scattered human limbo whose deregulation weighs heavily on the already poor local Lebanese population. Bureaucracy and politics have coined a hideous phrase: Informal Tent Settlements. Welcome to hell on earth.

If you wish to help: https://secure.unicefusa.org/site/Donation2?df_id=12460&12460.donation=form1

Photo © Icarus Blake

Minieh, Lebanon © Icarus Blake

Photo © Icarus Blake

Minieh, Lebanon © Icarus Blake

 

Photo © Icarus Blake

Minieh, Lebanon © Icarus Blake

 

Photo © Icarus Blake

Minieh, Lebanon © Icarus Blake

Photo © Icarus Blake

Minieh, Lebanon © Icarus Blake

Photo © Icarus Blake

Minieh, Lebanon © Icarus Blake

Photo © Icarus Blake

Minieh, Lebanon © Icarus Blake

Photo © Icarus Blake

Minieh, Lebanon © Icarus Blake

Photo © Icarus Blake

Minieh, Lebanon © Icarus Blake

Photo © Icarus Blake

Minieh, Lebanon © Icarus Blake

Photo © Icarus Blake

Minieh, Lebanon © Icarus Blake

Photo © Icarus Blake

Minieh, Lebanon © Icarus Blake

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Icarus Blake & Max Power: Editors in Chief
Lora Wiley: Managing Editor
Teo J. Babini: Senior Editor
Greta Pininfarina: Fashion Director
Miko Sala: Art Director
Tiffany Credle: Senior Publishing Editor
Daniel Cardona: Graphic Designer
Luigi Scarcella: Graphic Illustrator
Matt Heidkamp: Editorial Producer and eCommerce Manager
Nancy Cooper: Finance Supervisor
ePublished by Kodezero NYC
Tech Supervision: developing.it

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Contributors to this issue:

Eric Hill/Global Odyssey: The Arrest
Eric came to the realization that he wanted to spend some extensive time traveling after leaving North America the first time to go down to Peru with a few friends. Growing up he was raised as one of six children in a strict religious home. Growing up with a professor father they traveled extensively within the US, he always said from a young child that, some day, he would visit every country in the world. That first time while traveling abroad, he could see why he never felt comfortable following the religion he grew up with, he realized happiness and truth were not exclusive to the belief system he was raised in. These thoughts and ideas have led him to his current quest, to find that awesome exists in every country. Awesome in the form of happiness, adventure, laughter and the quest for something more.
gowitheric.com

Raoul Beltrame/Bossa Italiana
Italian-french fashion photographer and videographer.
www.raoulbeltrame.com

Lance Steagall/Old Sketches: The Peynaud Brothers
Lance Steagall is a Chicago product living and working in New York City.
lgsteagall@gmail.com

J.J. Biasucci/Johnny Go-Go Boy
JJ Biasucci is a health guru and integrative therapist with clients from all walks of life from the fashion industry to the US Marine Corp. He began his training at age 6 with kickboxing legend Ted Pryor and began learning energy work at age 7 with Sifu Cheng, a Taoist holy man from China via Korea. After the military he worked as a consultant to a security company in South Florida. He left the security business to then begin a career in modeling, working mainly as a fitness model. In the last 10 years that JJ has been in New York he has studied and now teaches: MMA, Circular Strength Training and Yoga. James is also a proficient therapist dedicating time to working in Haiti, the Middle East and Beth Israel Hospital under the umbrella of Urban Zen and The Center for Mind-Body Medicine.

G.D. Shaw/Spirituality and the City
Glenda Shaw is an ambassador of friendship and has created Super Friend Groups (www.superfriendgroups.com), a multimedia brand that promotes and encourages healthy friend connections. As an Emmy award nominated producer, Glenda has interviewed thousands of celebrities, personalities and guests for her TV and radio shows, newspaper and online articles. From this experience, and her own personal friend journey, Glenda discovered first-hand how strong, connected friend support systems lead to happier, more successful lives. After years of researching the dynamics of friend networks, Glenda has turned her passion into a global mission.
glenda@superfriendgroups.com

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