Bold Ideas!: What does it mean to a survivor of Civil War? A conversation with Nadine Atwi
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As a survivor of the Lebanese civil war, I still recall horrible childhood memories of the war; the smells, the sounds,and the indescribable fear that casted a shadow over my life for fifteen long years. I have watched my house being destroyed, my father being kidnaped and my frightened mother trying to flee with her young daughters to safety. The same experiences were part of my life again as a mother, trying to protect my children from blood thirsty combatants who use to be neighbours and friends. Yet, all these painful experiences that scarred my life and the lives of thousands other Lebanese, seemed to be non-existent in the officialHistorycurriculum. At times, it seemed as if we did not exist, as if war were nothing but a Myth.Topics related to the war were regarded as taboos, thus triggering students’ curiosity to discover what really happened during the civil war.The official narrative about the civil war could be summarized in three simple words: Victims should forget.As a teacher, I had to find ways to challenge the existing narrative andcultivatestudents’ critical capacity. Through Storytelling, I presented my students with stories of the people, of theirlosses, theirstruggles, and their pain that is often framedunder”collateral damage”. Through storytelling, I invited my studentsto recognize that thecivilwar is a shared legacy;thiswas my bold choice to bringthem together amidst the heated sectarian confrontation.
What does it mean to be Bold?
Do not ask for permission to change the world. Be bold, and dare be the change – Nadine AtwiAmmache