Beirut - Thirteen young men and women of Palestinian origin have joined the first cohort of Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor’s project We Are Not Numbers (WANN) in Lebanon.
Euro-Med Monitor’s regional office in Beirut launched the project on Tuesday through an induction day, where the new writers were introduced to the six-month training program. This program consists of intensive training that focuses on creative writing skills, conducting interviews, storytelling, documentation, public speaking and other important topics.
WANN’s mission, as implied by its title, is to transform preconceived misconceptions about victims of armed conflicts frequently held by Western audiences. By highlighting the shared humanity between Westerners and the victims behind the numbers in the news, the writing will provide an opportunity to highlight the stories, personalities, dreams, hopes, talents, and dreams that are often obscured by the focus on numbers.
Throughout the induction session, the new members were given an introduction to the goals of the project, why it was launched and what is expected from them. The session then introduced two previous WANN writers who discussed their experience with the program and advice for the new cohort in Lebanon. By the end of the session, students were able to introduce themselves and become duly acquainted with their fellow WANN members.
“Writing something abstract but reader-friendly was something challenging and rather impossible for me. I'm glad my mentor guided me to produce it the best way”. Alia Kassab, a WANN writer from the 2022 cohort in Gaza, said.
Karam Hamed Jad, another writer from the previous cohort, said: “One of the important things WANN taught me, and will never leave my mind, is how complex writing a story is and more importantly how essential it is” “Without commitment, you will never begin, and without consistency, you will never be able to finish writing your story.” he continued.
The launch of the program presents an immersive experience for Palestinian youth in Lebanon to learn from a plethora of international experts and engage with other writers in the Palestinian territory.
“We Are Not Numbers in Lebanon will equip determined youth with the proper skills and knowledge needed to excel in their careers and present the suffering of their societies to an international audience,” said Muhammed Mughabat, Regional Office Director of Euro-Med Monitor in Lebanon.
These tools will ensure that young Palestinian writers can transport their stories outside of Lebanon and deliver their messages to international readers far from their usual communities.
We Are Not Numbers does not underestimate the power that words have, instead we see these words as a weapon for young people living under oppression and inequality to amplify their voices and fight for their rights.
By the end of the program students will have written stories and reports that are supervised and edited by their mentors. Once approved, their work will be published on to the We Are Not Numbers website and other partner media platforms.
We Are Not Numbers was established in 2015, and aims to tell the stories behind the numbers of victims of human rights violations in the news.