Thursday, September 6, 2012

CELEBRATING | #3September2012 in Abey, Lebanon

Sunday, September 2nd, 247 square team is up at seven in the morning. On our way to Abey, as we are listening to blasting music in the blue honda, we start spotting the posters for the event. Then banners. Then even bigger banners.

Banners in context "WE ARE FREE" and "أنا حرّ"
Banner in context "I AM BEAUTIFUL"
By the time we reach Abey, we are having delicious man'ousheh and watching beautiful surroundings. Children dressed in white and wearing caps came from different areas of Lebanon to take part in the event. They sit with their little blue caps and listen to the speeches about the hazards of smoking. Representatives of the organizers of the event got up and gave a word about why this meant to them. This included the Red Cross, the president of the municipality of Abey, the president of Green Hand, an environmental, cultural and social NGO, as well as representatives of “women’s spring” the online magazine, and “Say no to Violence against Women”.

President of the municipality of Abey giving a speech
Representative of Women's spring | Online TV and magazine giving a speech
After a while, the kids are called to gather and get on their bicycles to begin the race. Excitement is clear on their faces. Non-kids stood next to the little ones and posed for pictures, holding up signs that had some of the anti-smoking campaign mottos on them "I am beautiful" and "Everybody likes me."

A child holding up the "I AM BEAUTIFUL" slogan

A child holding up the "EVERYBODY LIKES ME" slogan
Moving away from the typical overused smoking-is-harmful campaigns, the campaign’s mottos satirically shed light more on what will come into effect after September the third, using only the tag line to link it to smoking. So, hierarchy wise, you will have “after September the third, I am free” and the tagline brings in why we are free “second hand smoking is very harmful especially to your loved ones”. Or “after September the third, I am beautiful” with the tagline being “smoking dramatically increases wrinkles and aging.”

Banners in context "I Am Beautiful | Everybody Likes Me | We Are Free | أنا حلوة | أنا حرّ | الكلّ بحبّني | صحتي حديد"

Banners in context "We Are Free | الكلّ بحبّني"
And the now-free children were invited, after the bike-a-thon and other activities administered by Right to Play, to come and write their thoughts about smoking on a banner that spread over five meters on the floor after they were done with their bike race. So they gathered, held up their pens then wrote "No to smoking", "We are smoke-free" and such expressions with pens of all colors.

Children participating in the bike race

Children playing with the Right to Play Parachute
Children playing with the Right to Play Parachute

Writing thoughts on smoking

Packed with many pictures and a lot of fun, we are on the move, heading back to beirut. We were seven people sitting in one car. so the ride was loud, fun, not void of complaints about injured limbs and blasting music, and surely not void of laughter. We make a stop at the matte factory to have a milk matte pause. The drink was tasty, the pause refreshing. Then we moved on to our next stop.

247square team members present: (left to right)
alaa kabalan | azza hajjar | izzat kreidieh | layla smaili | zeina shaaban | anastasia matar

to be continued.
check the images here.


co-written with azza hajjar
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