interviewed by Predrag Pajdic, February 2007

You are currently in Amsterdam, why?

I am in Amsterdam at the Rijksacademie. We just started!

So you are a student. Why did you decide to come to Amsterdam?

I am not really a student. Rijksacademie is a residency for artists. It is called 'Academie' but it's not an academy as it sounds.

I came to Amsterdam because when I went to France to study there, my French dream kind of faded away when I visited L'Ecole Des Beaux Arts and other Art schools in Paris. People seemed too dramatic, too didactic. While living in Beirut I had always been dreaming of studying in Paris. My brother lives in Rotterdam, so I came to visit him, and there during an opening (Contemporary Arab Representation at Witte de Witt) I met two funny guys who mentioned that they study art in Amsterdam. One of them was Polish the other was Armenian Lebanese. But he didn't speak any Arabic.

I asked them to write down, for my reference, the name of the school on a sheet of paper. A few days before travelling back to Beirut I went to see the school. By coincidence as it happens they were interviewing people so I went for an interview. Six months later I received a call asking me to come again for the second interview, and that's how I got there.

How long will you stay there? Any plans what to do later? Do you feel homesick?

If my home was safer I would perhaps feel homesick. I miss some streets of Beirut, my parents, my boyfriend. But Lebanon is not a safe home. Homes should be warm and cosy.

Now here in the Netherlands I cannot sleep well because I am anxious about what's going on in Beirut. I also wasn't able to sleep while in Beirut because I was worried about what's happening just under my window!

This kind of situation must be very hard for you. What are your hopes?

There are many different levels of wars. At the moment, it seems to me that war is still raging through Lebanon, just in the same way as it was since I was born, in 1978. I can only hope that this war level doesn't rise to the first degree like it did last July.

Between 1991 and 2004 the conflict was mostly latent, or at least in most areas of Lebanon, but now it is active again like a volcano. And what is happening today is actually worst than July of 2006. Anyhow things are connected. Last summer I thought "people have learned", but obviously not. Why should they stop killing each other now?

The warfare slept for a decade in Lebanon, but even when it slept, everyone knew it was only a matter of time and it would rise again. This is our situation and it has always been like that. I simply hope that all this will end before I die. But why should I connect things to myself so selfishly?

Anyway, I told you last time when I saw you in Beirut, that Kamal Salibi said, in a way, that we cannot prove yet whether it was necessary for us to fight for such a long time, but perhaps we need to do it in order to become one nation.