Sepia Prints (2014 - Present)
Portraits of Denial & Desire Sepia

Saleh El Dibassi. Digital Print. Sepia.
80 x 60 and 110 x 80 inches
John Halaka © 2015

Saleh El Dibassi is now 30 years old and was born and lives in Shatila Refugee Camp. Saleh was born in an economically deprived, but emotionally very rich family.  His father was active in the resistance and was severely injured on more than one occasion.  The father now works as a vegetable vendor at the Sabra vegetable market.  Saleh’s mother, like the majority of Palestinian women living in the camps, is the glue that holds the family together.
All three kids in the family are university educated and are very supportive of each other. When I met him and interviewed him, Saleh was working two jobs to pay for his Masters’ degree in Microbiology.  His sister Fatima had delayed her studies for a Masters’ in Business Administration in order to work full-time and help support the education of Saleh and her younger brother Wisam.   Wisam, who is an electrical engineering student and has his own very complicated story of active resistance and survival, was literally studying by candlelight during the first and second visits I made to the family’s small apartment. Shatila, like other refugee camps in Lebanon, looses electricity for an average of 12 hours a day.

When I last saw him, Saleh was applying for PhD programs in Europe, but plans to return to his family and to serve his Palestinian community in Lebanon.  His goal is to open the first cancer clinic in Palestine.