An Overdue Tribute to Maya and Rouba Azar: Victims of the Lebanese Civil War and our Memories

Published on:April 15, 2014
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I must’ve been 4 or 5 years old when I hummed the tunes to this song on a London double decker bus at the height of the Lebanese civil war.

Ironically, it was the theme song to a British series produced a year earlier called the Winds of War.

The Winds of War Main Theme

Resting on my mother’s weary lap humming away and looking out the window unto a city I had not seen before, little did I know of the detailed travesties that had occurred in the prelude to our safe arrival to the English city.

It was only during later years; as my mother’s tongue unfolded stories of that night that I understood the gravity of the situation.

There were screams, a wet concrete base and a little bridge acting as the only safe passage from the Jounieh port onto the Santa Maria hydrofoil; the only passenger vessel connecting the coastal enclave northeast of Beirut with the outside world in war torn Lebanon of 1989.

Many were left behind as the ship departed earlier than anticipated for fear of Syrian gunners who had ruthlessly fired an estimated 120 rockets from multi-barreled launchers at the surrounding waters.

We made it; my mother was a brave soul that night. She had managed to get both my brother and me safely onto the ship that miraculously arrived to neighboring Cyprus; our first stop. The ships controllers had turned off all lights rendering the vessel indiscernible, as my mother recalls and attributes as the reason for our survival. But others weren’t so lucky.

Ruba and Maya Azar; two little girls who had unfortunately drowned the same night we had narrowly escaped, surfaced on my newsfeed today. Their mother leaning above their white coffins and weeping in what I can only imagine as a tragic funeral service.


They drowned when a boat ferrying them to the hovercraft capsized in waves churned up by the barrage. Several others were injured that night as well.

This photo is part of a collection of others carefully put together in a book titled “Lebanon Shot Twice: Then And Now”.

The photography book and exhibition by Zaven Kouyoumdjian and Hayat Karanouh shows images of Lebanon during the civil war juxtaposed to images from our modern day country.

And while the civil war anniversary had passed, I thought I would write this short post in remembrance of the two little girls who among other victims of war have long been forgotten and as slain children from neighboring Syria’s civil war continue to go unnoticed as our daily lives carry on.

This was a first visual from a night I thought I remembered in short, but vivid sequences. A visual, which has now triggered emotions I thought had long been forgotten. But maybe it serves us to remember, and remember we must, lest we forget what it is that makes us human: compassion.

Our collective memories must serve us, so that we may put an end to war and misery, because life as such should not and must not go on.

Nadine Mazloum is currently a freelance editor and news producer. She received her Honors in Communication Arts (Media Production) from The University of Western Sydney in 2008.

Lebanese Reporters Heroically Take Off Shoes to Cover Beach Protest

Published on:April 9, 2014
Lebanese Reporters Heroically Take Off Shoes to Cover Beach Protest

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Published on:December 20, 2013
Photo via

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Published on:November 28, 2013
Friendly Dog Shot at close range

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Published on:August 26, 2013

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Published on:August 26, 2013
Photo courtesy of AP

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Published on:August 13, 2013
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Published on:August 13, 2013
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Published on:August 6, 2013
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I agree with plus 961

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