[QODLink]
Al Jazeera World
Beirut Buenos Aires Beirut
An Argentinian woman goes in search of her Lebanese heritage and ends up uniting two families from two different worlds.
Last Modified: 19 Aug 2012 13:37

Filmmaker: Hernan Belon

Graciela is a 37-year-old Argentinian woman of Lebanese descent living in Buenos Aires. Before her great-aunt died, she told Graciela a family secret.

"Arabs are jealous; they love their land, their origins, they love their birthplace. They may go far away and pretend to forget, but they never forget."

- Adnan, an Arabic language translator in Argentina

"Her father [Mohammed], Lebanese by birth, did not die in Argentina. He left his family and returned to Lebanon. Angry at his departure, his wife and children cut off communication with him," Graciela explains.

One of the last things they heard of Mohammed is that he married again and might have had more children in Lebanon.

"My great-aunt gave me a box with letters and photos that she had kept .... Some had never been read. Somebody once said that a letter always arrives at its destination," Graciela says.

"When I saw the letters, I felt they had been left as a legacy. And I wanted to know more about my family history. Who was Mohammed? Why did he come to live in Argentina? Why did he return to Lebanon? Are there any relatives of mine on the other side of the world?"

"We filmed in the south of Lebanon and needed permission from the Lebanese secret service, army and the authorities of Hezbollah. But when we were there we felt that the people were very nice. They are people like you and me, who are suffering for stupid reasons."

- Hernan Belon, the filmmaker

Graciela decided to look further into Mohammed's life and started to retrace his story - from his initial arrival in Buenos Aires and his life in Argentina as an immigrant, to his return to Lebanon.

"I discovered Arab immigrants to Argentina were not as welcome as Europeans. Arab immigration was large, but discreet, because it has always faced intolerance and discrimination," she says.

In search of Mohammed's Lebanese family and in order to learn details of Mohammed's life and her own roots, she travels to Lebanon to trace the threads of a personal story that unfolds as she delves deeper into her family's past and a different culture.

And finally, after 50 years of separation, she is the catalyst for two families from two different worlds to reunite.

Al Jazeera World can be seen each week at the following times GMT: Tuesday: 2000; Wednesday: 1200; Thursday: 0100; Friday: 0600; Saturday: 2000; Sunday: 1200; Monday: 0100; Tuesday: 0600.

Click here for more Al Jazeera World.

509

Source:
Al Jazeera
Topics in this article
Country
City
Featured on Al Jazeera
UNHCR says hundreds of people trapped in Yaloke town risk death if they are not evacuated to safety urgently.
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Featured
Long-standing dispute over Christian use of the word 'Allah' raises concerns about a very un-Merry Christmas.
The threat posed by ISIL has prompted thousands of young Kurds to join the PKK.
Baja California - with its own grim history of disappeared people - finds a voice in the fight against violence.
Russian feminist rockers fight system holding 700,000 - the world's largest per capita prison population after the US.
Weeks of growing protests against Muslims continue in Dresden with 15,000 hitting the streets last Monday.
join our mailing list