Milon Henry Levine

The Luminous Scope: To An Appreciation of A Rich Arabian Culture

A Rich Arabian Culture. Definitely all sorts of things: mainly the presence of religious extremism within the three main religions that spring from the Holy Land, tear apart that vision in the Western Mind. That vision is also really challenged in the minds of Arabs whose lives have been ravaged by actions of military strife.

There are 9 Million Syrian Refugees. Many, around 6 million, still within Syria, and around 3 million in Lebanon and Turkey near the Syrian border. This summer, though Operation Protective Edge, between 110-112,000 Palestinians were displaced from their homes within Gaza. We are in the Jewish Celebration of Sukkot.…where we build the shelter of palms, in a celebration in some way of harvest time. Somehow…eventually the Israeli and Arab World will one-day possibly harvest the fruits of success together, a lot.  And if that’s possible, it will definitely come through a gradual, more positive understanding of the Arab World in Israel and The West.

The Luminous Scope is an NGO in Asheville, North Carolina that is working to show the outside world what life inside a refugee tent camp in Lebanon looks like. The entire project is about making a positive impact on families whose lives have been ravaged by war. One can, for instance sponsor a Hayada Toy Basket (with a soccer ball that can be customized for each child, along with books and creative supplies). Very important, in my view, towards helping the situation on a moment to moment basis. Just opening more positive windows between The West and all parts of the Arab World, even the most challenged.

The Luminous Scope’s Jennifer MacDonald iMusaab Al Tuliani, a tent camp in the Bekaa valley of Lebanon.

The Luminous Scope is chartered to show fun, constructive and interesting contributions made by women across the Arabian Terrain of Northern Africa and the Middle East.Map-sm copyOne of the Foundations The Scope has profiled is Basmeh and Zatoneeh, in which women in Refugee Tent Camps hold their families together through making and selling embroidery, and also a healthy output of really interesting and cool looking art. 

Art From Basmeh

Some recent work from Basmeh and Zatoneeh In Lebanon (above).

“Having traveled to this region many times over the years, I’ve seen first hand the devastation and destruction of this rich culture and its citizens, as well as how much hope and joy a small amount of compassion can bring to these communities” says Jennifer MacDonald, the founder and central journalist and photographer/filmmaker behind “The Luminous Scope.” “I wanted to shine a light on one small area of this crisis, in one camp, to help people empathize and hopefully activate some support.”

A show of work, photos from the tent camps by Macdonald, some of the embroidery of Basmeh and Zatoneeh, called (Dis)Placed will open tonight,  October 14 at the aSHEville museum on Wall Street in Asheville, N. C. It will also show with visual displays how these camps arose.

Learning more about these foundations is a wonderful way to build a positive and very real bridge to the Arab World.

About the Author
Milon Henry Levine is a writer and filmmaker that lives in New York City.
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