Photos By ISSA TOUMA from 1995 To 2005

In the Middle East we don’t need to leave our homeland in order to be in exile, because we are exiled in several ways. Mostly, it is our inability to live within our essence. We pretend to have a healthy family life, yet there is distance between the family members. We also pretend to have a warm social life; in reality we are miles away from each other. We can’t express our points of view clearly, we can’t see clearly. Trust is almost vanished among people. We claim that we are living in Utopia. The media is very optimistic about everything. One cannot even hear about a car accident in the daily news. It is as if everything bad and harsh only happens outside our borders.

Politically, I belong to a generation who grew up with one government, one president, and have never tasted democracy in any way. We cannot practice or participate in our own political issues. The ones who are concerned are also exiled in their high and fancy towers. As citizens of the Middle East, we start to draw our own red lines, predicting that this is what the superior power wants. We can only express our outrage when the problem concerns another nation, when it’s another society’s problem.

Issa Touma