Solidarites International

In her story, Lena Merhej talks about family and what it becomes once the border is crossed, once that its members are considered as refugees. How does a family going through this situation look like?

To explore this subject, Lena has chosen the allegory of the family tree, represented by an olive tree, with the name and location of the person written in each leaves.

Why an olive tree? Because it is « the symbolic tree of the region. It is the symbol of Palestine, of the first refugees arriving in Lebanon, it is the symbol of tradition, a tree with deep-rooted roots… it is a millennial tree… it has always been here and will always be, no matter the storms destroying the region” explains Lena.

« With the leaves, i wanted to show that each member of the family has flown somewhere. If the trunk remains rooted in the earth and that the family will remain linked and strong, the leaves, in the other hand, are getting away and fly with the wind. That’s what I wanted to say about the story of Abu Khaled’s family. They all came together and have been separated by the circumstances. Now they cannot really see each other due to the movement restriction, and they can even leave in another continent, which make the separation even bigger.”

« Here is why I have chosen this representation and to draw Abu Khaled and his grand-son at the bottom of the tree, as leaves that refused to go away from the trunk and to let a part of the family behind if they should go to Europe one day ».