Ποιειν Και Πραττειν - create and do

Diary of Iman Mourad

Together we build society

From: iman nouri [mailto:imannouri@hotmail.com]
Sent: Friday, May 01, 2009 7:40 AM
To: Asit Poddar; Takuya Kaneda; Hatto Fischer
Subject: "Together! WE build society"


Dear Mr. Takuya,
Dear Asit,
Dear All,

How are you? and hope all is well at your ends.

Yes we are all busy and each one struggling for quality life in peace in this disturbed world. Nevertheless, we are alive and supporting our small and big families & kids hopefully on good paths as always.

Maysa my daughter who is studying at WELLESLEY College in the USA is initiating a collaborative project called: "Empowerment Through Inclusion". She is creating it together with her visually impaired friend SARA. Both girls will arrive here in Tripoli, Lebanon after having finished their academic year. Very soon they will start taking the necessary steps towards the preparation and realization of the project during the whole month of July during this summer 2009.

Upon the 2 girls' acceptance, I took this sacred occasion to initiate the idea of a new mural: “Together we build society ". Already the title of the mural is being passed around in town and it is going to be used as the campaign title for the camp. I believe it highlights the continuity from our first peace mural called: “ENOUGH, we want to live! For we will be alive as long as we wish, we can and we will make peace!!!

I have nothing at hand yet, except the love for this serious mission, and combined with my courage and the courage and trust of the two girls. Along with it go a healthy mind and above all some perseverance.  There is equally the good will of the Kids' Guernica mission and vision. It is crucial that this comes alive in the hearts and eyes of people of my country and hopefully of people all over the globe.

The awareness for the second peace mural should be more effective and wider because of time and circumstances (though the Lebanese election are to be held soon, that is on the 7th of June because a serious campaign for the camp has started sooner and this against all odds ... the election campaign might lead to conflicts but ours will lead to peace, so this equilibrium shall be at the core of everything and therefore give balance to everyone during the critical election time … balance is about growing seeds of peace inside my heart and my girls and my community. As a matter of fact I feel strong enough, thrilled and not scared at all!)

Surely children of the first mural and the educators who were then involved will be aware and know that their spirit linked to peace is alive as well and shall continue in the second one.

I thank you all for the sacred opportunity to be one member in our big Kids’ Guernica family and to be able to connect with you all sincerely and heartily. Your contribution in the form of advices, opinions and other ideas as to what you think is both necessary and important will be of high value towards the success of this sacred goal of peace. I will keep you informed.

Sincere regards

Iman Mourad


Thursday, May 14, 2009 7:19 AM

I have been busy in thoughts but nervous a bit, in reality from this sacred responsibility and honorary title to coordinate kids Guernica peace painting  , in my heart and in my mind and later of course in my country!!!!!

However, I re-read all the materials already prepared for Kids’ Guernica events and finally I got inspired how:


Well, "TEAM  WORK "ethics and values  are to be implemented as THE PEACE THEME of Kids' Guernica  mission during this  camp.


Well, wish me luck today and I wish always the best for all members of the global Kids’ Guernica family of course!!




On Mon, 13 Jul 2009

I like fragmented pieces of life as if everything is a PUZZLE! I like the answers from Takuya.

We have still some technical question related to the new painting: “TOGETHER we build society!” 
Here latest news. We, volunteers and the 2 girls are a bit overwhelmed with the last preparation of the camp. It will start on Friday. On the first day, a press conference/TV shall be held and then we will have a meeting with the kids and families and volunteers. We want to think of a creative idea; it should be an original one.

As for the workshop of Kids’ Guernica, I am proud to announce that Therese Assad CID, the dedicated art educator who is a mother now, will be the art coordinator. She collaborated fully in the first painting and will again be fully involved in the painting of the second one. I love her spirit and her positive answer when I asked her to join us again, especially since the camp shall take place during the hot summer and thus require of her to leave her baby girl for many hours with her parents.

Insofar as we could orient the kids towards expressing peace by thinking about building society together, it should be a different expression of peace than was captured in the first painting called “Enough! We want to live.” Right now everything is still an imaginary idea, but given the sensitivity of artists, volunteers, and add to that the imagination of the children, then any peace mural will go very far to express fully the meaning of things becoming possible when doing it sincerely ‘together’.

I am thrilled with the feeling of creating another peace painting. We do have a strong group. The camp has by now 13 volunteers who shall work full time. All are from different university and backgrounds. They were all excited about the peace painting. We gave them already two missions. One task is to assess the meaning of peace and TEAM WORK amongst themselves, that is before the kids arrive so that the workshops with the kids are better prepared. The second task entails conceiving some experimental ideas on how to bring together best the blind and non blind kids of the camp, so that they can do things together.

As to the camp prep news: a first meeting with Sara and Maysa touched everyone a lot. The 2 girls were amazing when introducing each other, and especially SARA with her introduction of herself made it into an icebreaking session. Above all she outlined the importance of the white cane which she uses daily to make her life truly independent. It was really amazing!

Today we are holding the second meeting at my home from 3 o’clock until 5!!! And we are buying the canvas hopefully today.

Marvellous is that the 2 girls accepted to include the kids' Guernica painting  for peace and the process of creating it at the heart of art activities of the camp. The space of the canvas will be filled with meaning and symbols based on real experiences made during the summer days by many youth, kids with normal vision together with those who are visually impaired. It will involve as well friends and adults. That is always the case once there is creativity, love, and sincerity in the air. The 2 girls Maysa and SARA accepted to include the first peace mural in their leaflets in order to promote greater awareness for both paintings and to establish continuity in the peace process in Lebanon.

One more thing I wish to add. There is one special volunteer: he is a music teacher who volunteered to work with us for 6 hours day to teach sing along songs while he plays the violin. I didn't meet him yet but I heard about him. He is blind but very talented with a special gift. He will teach the kids one Special CORAL song in order to be ready in 2 weeks time for the closing ceremony of the camp. The camp will last from 17th of July until the 2nd of August. There are scheduled 3 special workshops for Kids’ Guernica and as many afternoons that may become necessary, but depending upon how many more people shall get involved!

I keep you informed.


From: iman nouri [mailto:imannouri@hotmail.com]
Sent: Tuesday, July 21, 2009 8:03 AM

Dear all,

I wish you were all here to live the moment!!!

There are so many things to say but it won't be possible today because I am in hurry!

Facing obstacles and confronting them (as everybody does when organising Kids’ Guernica events and exhibitions such as in CHIOS 2007 and the ECCM symposium in Athens 2007…)  but the 2 girls and the volunteers are riding high and crossing them like horses do! And the volunteers are the bodies and the breath of the camp!!!! They give optimism by sacrificing time and letting out fully their energy. They have the power at hand to make the implementation be successful. I am so proud of the youth of Lebanon and of Tripoli! I am very proud indeed.



From: iman nouri [mailto:imannouri@hotmail.com]
Sent: Wednesday, July 29, 2009 8:15 PM
To: hatto fisher
Subject: SKETCHING the painting with love and passion


Dear Hatto,
thanks for your advices!. 
Well, I need to tell a bit about Today's event. The first opening of the real canvas (beside the missing part) was very impressive. Somehow the first 15 minutes were somehow the most important moment for Therese because she was the responsible for the artistic outcome. She tried with a few volunteers to adjust the measurement according to how many ideas we have to be expressed! Of course, we took care of other invited people who will join us later ...one completely blind girl was a bit stubborn at first. She refused to join in but we are going to use her feet and the feet of the others and explain to her the fun of doing it. I am sure all of them will enjoy it.

Some did draw with chalk fantastic sketches, and SARA did use the scotch tape to indicate the edges of her space and that of others (that was a clever idea because they could sense their space through touch). It worked genuinely within her group who wanted to express ideas about books and education.

One very clever blind 13 year old came up with a bright idea. He wanted to write the word PEACE in BRAIL on the PEACE Ship which had already sketched in his mind. It was amazing to see him getting so much involved. In the previous workshops we did, he did not want to express himself, but now it was apparently for him very different. Also the volunteers were amazing. They helped the kids to express their ideas and involved everyone in their respective group process.

HEARTS are expressed in different shapes. You will be surprised! And we left some empty spaces for other people who will arrive tomorrow hopefully because they were

A few hours later…

I am not telling the whole story now, but I will surely later! ALL I can say for the moment is that this painting carries a lot of love (and not as much anger as was expressed in the first peace mural called “Enough! We want to live.”) The second painting reflects much more the adult /youth/child relationships in an obvious effort to bridge the gaps between the generations and between different people and in particular between the so-called ‘normal people’ and those who need special attention and care. The latter have simply different needs, but all of them want to live decently and make the experience that they can bring about a peaceful and healthy progress in their lives!

The camp slogan is expressed nicely at eye sight!

Since day one Maysa was carrying that huge FUNNY HAUT PARLEUR throughout the camp, and she uses her really loud voice with special talent and special intonation whenever it was needed to draw the attention of the kids together. It is striking that THEY ALL ANSWERED HER WITH A DIFFERENT, but equally strong intonation. It is like an agreement with her since she got them to use the voice to draw attention. They just loved it and even adored the idea of communicating in this way with her; whenever they were in classes, playground or spread around the camp, she would yell: OH HOooo  HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO and they would answer all at once, on the spot, with love and passion very distinctly and loudly EEHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH HHHEY HEYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY HEHEEE. And then silence would spread (we had asked them what they would do next whenever something was requested from them .... it was the only way or tool to stop them from whatever they were doing in order to get their attention for the sake of the volunteers or teachers or anyone else wishing to say something to all of them.)

It was decided to symbolise the voice on the canvas not only as it had become a special tool used to organise everyone during the camp but also and especially because it carries a deeper double meaning as well. For it is the voice of the visually impaired and blind children of this camp that gives another sense orientation and, of course, they can link up in that way with the other volunteers and  people involved. It is the ‘human voice’ which is involved with regards to how we view and understand society, our country and therefore the world! WHETHER you see it or not, our voice is there....on the canvas.

The invitation card for the closing event on Sunday carries an additional slogan: "Together we build society" but also they added: “Together for a better life!” The envelopes include 2 leaflets both in Arabic and English language! We already have strong and positive feedback!
All the children will sing at the end. I wish they could re-play the special music they created on the spot by means of kitchen tools while making sounds with foot steps but time doesn’t allow that ... We did it already on the opening day and the result was an amazing symphony of love and continuity, and all of this without any rehearsal!!

Take care

PS. you will be surprised to learn how much follow up and efforts and plans B and Cssss it takes to have ELECTRICITY ON SUNDAY ! No further comments are needed, but just imagine if we would not have these back-up systems and therefore be without electricity.


The new canvas was repaired beautifully in just one hour. (I mean the missing part of that corner. That was the technical problem I mentioned before). It was quite a miracle. I took the old piece sent to me from Takuya and some professionals sew it together and together we did it all, they even hang it up the last day. They did it nicely and perfectly with all the nooses around the edges.

On Sat, 1 Aug 2009 04:16:20 +0000, iman nouri <imannouri@hotmail.com> wrote:


A minute of silence. We were in for some fear. Finally a plan was discussed at 11 at night. The day before yesterday we learned some sad news for while Maysa was assisting a SOUFI festival in Tripoli, she learned that the BISHOP ELIAS had passed away.  We did not know the likely impact of that upon the camp and the closing ceremony since the camp at the playground of school and the Orthodox Church carried his name! We did not know what to expect.

Well early morning 7.30 we were at the school to know what will happen to the camp, to the peace painting and what could take place throughout the last day, that is tomorrow, a Sunday? To our surprise we found our separate gate to that playground open and the staff there to welcome us. They told us NOT to change ANY of our plans, not even the singing part on stage in the nice auditorium of the school. I was very touched and impressed by that decision. It was taken by the principal of the school and priests from the church. The only constraint was that they could not join us in our festivities on Sunday.

Early morning

I woke up at 4 this morning....you know that I always wake up early. It is one of my rare pleasure to wake up at peace with myself, that is when the voice of the Mouazen (the guy who calls for the early Islamic Dawn prayer) would sound the call during that special moment when the last darkness of the night is about to leave and the early shade-line of the day light about to come. Aren't we expressing TOGETHER that black-grey shade as the main light in our painting and to which we shall give final birth hopefully today? Well, the delivery was somehow long since the first day of the camp but I am smiling...Today is a special day full of emotions.

One day before the final Festive day:
Volunteers gathered around the canvas again and again; some are confused a bit and some not yet able to assess the final outcome. I am assessing it in my heart, my head and my eyes together with Therese and Viviane  (both art educators).Viviane is Argentinean and mother of Monica, the later is a school friend of Maysa  and a special volunteer . she is the girl with whom we created together the storytelling for the kids. I left a white space for her and her mother.

Remember, the big space was actually where the WITCH TRANSFORMING into a FAIRY took birth yesterday. Here the very special talent of Viviane and her daughter gave inspiration to this idea. Remember how I accounted about me being called MADAME PEACE (IMAN) and how the children expressed surprise on how it was thought to get rid of that witch in the forest. They all gathered around her to convince her to transform the bad witch into a beautiful and good FAIRY who guards the forest and the kids.....

All of you will hopefully see that painting soon enough and I am sure that you will get so much inspirations from it that you may want to write a few poetic lines like you did for us Hatto, thank you for your special poem.  I am thrilled and touched and am not going to stop to thank for all the inspiration Kids’ Guernica has been giving me and many people around the world.

The new painting is a strong symbol of peace. It goes without saying that it is always best of letting the voices and sketches of the kids be their own expressions but in agreement with the general theme and title of the painting.

"TOGETHER." The word was written artistically by one art student volunteer called Valia (she collaborated with a special touch and silence in the first painting and she had some questions in mind at the beginning of the camp, in particular if we could use different techniques for the new peace Kids’ Guernica painting? A new typography?  Upon having received an affirmative answer from us, she added this word ‘together’ to this painting. She did it in different languages of the world and of course in Arabic letters, but hopefully today as well if possible in BRAI with Sara...

Then there is the voice symbol of Maysa and Miriam together with their group of kids who gave expression to this special tool used at the camp (haut-parleur). It starts out from musical notes and goes on to express the only common worldwide language understood by all the people on Earth, namely the ‘human voice’. It is meant to gather all kids, and of all colours on earth, different coloured hands ' symbol in order to express diversity does exist and needs to be lived openly, together!

All kids were invited to join in and to step into the foot steps drawn along the river going to the sea and which crosses the painting beautifully and artistically from one corner to another. Hamza, the 13 years old  blind boy (highly visually impaired), he is the one who drew the 3 dolphins with love and compassion but then he covered one up by mistake just the day before yesterday. We asked him gently to draw his dolphin once again in order not to feel sad. While painting it again his eyes were touching the canvas on the floor. Repeatedly he refused to accept the final result until he finally got up because he had found amazingly the same shape as he had it in his mind. We kept all the colours as painted by the kids. All of you shall be surprised by the colour of the sea.

We still have 2 corners to finish today and give to the mural a final touch prior to hanging it up. At the one corner space is meant for SARA and Maysa to make their assessment of peace, and this together with a bunch of boys who were at the start of the camp the most undisciplined ones. I was impressed how they were very helpful to both SARA and Maysa. They had become very self-disciplined, in a most positive way. I could feel how they had taken up a role of responsibility in order to help SARA. Alone their change in conduct underlines what a positive tool can be this collaborative painting-process since as well an informational tool of change. After just one day around SARA and the canvas and in having their own space, they were already transformed the next morning. That group of boys was waiting for us to start. They did so with all the discipline they could muster in order to help to complete the unfinished work (even though they didn't want to sing with the others...). Alone if you see that one corner in the painting, it expresses best what maybe even books on progress in education cannot capture and which comes out of learning together something invaluable. Maybe this touches upon rights to an education which we do not see so clear as of yet, and therefore it will need to be expounded upon just as someone would say playfulness as part of the informal learning process should not be left out by schools and therefore not be delegated merely to summer camps and the like.

The painting is ready but still a lot of work needs to be done still today. With regards to some of the colours, here Therese can help. And other changes are being manifested to be noticed alone in the tone of voice somebody uses. For instance, one of the eldest boys with us changed his tone yesterday. He used to call me “madam peace”, and did so with some naughty irony. By contrast his tone was yesterday a lot more serious and he spoke with respect for the others. During the earlier days of the camp I  was shocked, for he liked to repeat points made by all with regards to team work and make ironic comments especially when I was facing some conflicts in need to be resolved. And he kept asking questions with no possible answers such as: “who, what?” At first, he was really refusing to integrate himself and somehow he took pride in being a trouble maker. So what a change! Suddenly he was a peace maker!

I have to account a bit about the youngest boy in the whole group and who had been completely blind until recently when they did an operation on his eyes so that he can see a bit now. He was extremely spoiled and we could write a book about him, but to say just briefly now, I could feel his entire love yesterday along from the strength of the big hug he gave me and how he kissed my cheek. It was a full expression of his love. He calls me now always ‘mother of Maysa’ and that is very funny because he loves the HAUT PARLEUR Maysa used so that of his best treats was when she allowed him to carry it a bit.

The other kids will be rehearsing at the stage for one hour today, with the music band made up of volunteers from one university. At the same time, us adults and other volunteers will be finishing the painting. The good news is that I took the canvas before the real painting started and stitched on the missing part by using the spare piece sent by Takuya. I could feel his presence on this canvas. Surprisingly the people who made the canvas added by themselves the nooses so that everything was ready when I arrived just 3 min late in terms of the time scheduled for the painting to start. To all those people who helped me genuinely by leaving their work in order to have the mural be finished on time, and by offering their help to hang it and of course not accepting a penny after knowing the whole story of BUILDING TOGETHER   the society, to them I and we all have to be most grateful.

Maysa and Sara bought their additional gifts yesterday for the kids and then they wrapped them up together with Lara and Miriam. with  lot of love and care
Lara stayed late to do some final  brainstorming with me. We made some sketches for that one little corner left empty space (that is where the missing part was and no one having any inspiration with what to fill it even though some ideas had popped up yesterday after the canvas was connected again, but they were conflicting the general theme and no final decision was not taken. So there was this ugliness of empty space. I really want that guy from BEIRUT to know what he did to our imagination and inspiration and how he created conflicts in our ideas and symbols by his laissez-faire attitude and by not caring enough about the canvas even though he knew it is meant for children to paint a peace mural.) Lara is asleep now but poetically and artistically she had made her contribution. Before falling asleep she described how she was imagining a path of life expressed best by an old man going together with his growing shades as if to reflect the years behind him. There was a huge tree beside him. This idea took up Therese who joined everything by lovely touch of green. It can be seen in the painting how things reach the building blocks of society. As a symbol there is drawn in a reddish as well a beautiful heart

A special visitor came yesterday. He is the son of one employee from the school who is responsible to coordinate everything with us. He is in a wheel chair, 22 years old and who wrote already one book about his life while the second one he is writing on now is called ‘confidence and challenge’. It is going to be published very soon. I will inform all of you later more about him. No need to mention that we are giving his father a headache all time by taking keys or by asking permissions not to close the doors, but to let us work late at the school. However, I insisted yesterday to meet his son and so he came ...I will continue later....I have to leave now.

I know it is long email but living the moment of this special event is worth too!
Take care

Friday, August 21, 2009


… so much is needed in order to be able to give peace to the living ... often we end up with more confused spirits as was the case during the debriefing of our souls after this most recent PEACE project was completed at the camp.

Any peaceful conclusion is very complicated to draw. It is also difficult for peace to be realized. There is always this scepticism expressed best that things are TOO GOOD to be TRUE or REAL. However, I know that the volunteers were all amazing in how they related to each other and how they worked together with the kids. That sense of doing things ‘together’ was at the core of the success of this camp. Of course, there will be always a few issues at the back of the mind which cannot be resolved by such a process alone. Yet something inspirational can be taken as well from the support we got whenever needed. I am very happy to see some friendships were created during this summer camp.



Looking back in order to draw an emotional conclusion of this summer, I need a bit more time to express myself as what is happening inside me...

Though the word SUCCESSFUL as "goals  set" by the 2 girls who created and implemented the whole project, and this with the support of local and international educational associations and organisations, outlines what was achieved during that summer camp, the learning experience is greater.


BUT dealing with "tough customers" can also bring one to draw a different conclusion as well. And meant are not merely tough kids, but the kind of environment created and various responses experienced when being successful, that acquires another meaning. This accounts to the following: becoming successful in whatever one is doing is but one thing; it is quite another to live a success story and not to forget what it takes to be sincere in everything that one does. Consequently I am grateful to feel always the full support from the Kids’ Guernica family. For it convinces me every moment how important it is never to surrender, but to live, to struggle and to reach towards more "peace within", and this is a reality against all odds outside and often beyond even the voices and wishes of those children, volunteers /responsible and organisations who made such a peace mural possible.

I will stay in touch,

Iman Mourad


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