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

Umm Hussein. Digital Print. Sepia.
80 x 60 and 110 x 80 inches
John Halaka © 2015

Umm Hussein - Melina Boutrous Alka. Born 1939, Ziara, Lebanon. Lives in the Sabra neighborhood, Beirut, Lebanon.

Umm Hussein lost her husband and her two sons during the Israeli supervised butchery of Palestinian civilians in the Sabra and Shatila massacre that occurred over a period of three days and nights, in September 1982.  But what makes her story unusual in the horrific narrative of that massacre, is that she is not Palestinian. She is Lebanese and her husband and children were also Lebanese. They just happen to be very poor and to live across the street from the Shatila Refugee Camp in the run-down ghetto of Sabra. 

Under the protection of the invading Israeli military, the Maronite Phalange forces, indiscriminately killed, raped, slaughtered and mutilated anyone who was living in, or right around the Palestinian refugee camp.

The tragic irony of her story, is that Umm Hussein was born into a Maronite Christian Lebanese family; the same sect as the men who slaughtered her husband and sons.