“Everyone has the right to a nationality. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.” - Article 15 of the declaration of human rights.
This line has puzzled me for a long time. It is clear and yet I and other millions exist as stateless, deprived from a nationality upon unjustified reasons. How can such a violation of a human right be? However the truth is always absurd.
I am a stateless Lebanese artist and I have seen it all. The thing about statelessness is that it doesn’t only take away your nationality but along with it all of your other civil rights, like the right to vote, marriage, work and healthcare. You live as an invisible person in the nation of suffering, the only home we know.
This was my reality until I said enough. I will not suffer in silence, I will raise my voice and I will fight for our rights. That’s when the idea for my film An Invisible Speaks came to me. I thought I could spread awareness through art but it quickly spiralled into a social campaign.
The goal of the campaign The Right to Be is to fight against statelessness. It aims to raise awareness and advocate about ways to prevent statelessness within Lebanon. In addition to that it will provide legal advice to help stateless Lebanese to improve their civil situation. This campaign will advocate to differentiate between stateless Lebanese and stateless Palestinians. Both suffer the same injustice but there are different ways to improve their life legally. It is a vital point that always gets mixed up and which leads to huge misunderstanding and complications in the legal process. We are also working to minimise the stigma and reduce the social shame both imposed on and felt by stateless people. Through shedding light on the topic we are able to normalise it and reduce the stigma and shame around it.This will create a world that is more open and ready to understand and accept difference and diversity.
The Right to Be will also feature my film as a way to advocate and spread the word. I am a believer in the power of storytelling and what better way to tell a story than in a movie?
The world Is dark and so many of us live in the shadows but I hope that all of our work and hard efforts will soon reach a world that is full of light and where no one is invisible, all is seen, equal and all is human.