From the house of S. and his family, the only landscape we can see is a gray moor at this point. It’s been raining continuously for three days.
We are visiting this family to get updates on the health conditions of their parents. Their father has got an eye health problems and their mother is being treated for breast cancer.
Soon, indeed, the Italian doctor will come to Lebanon and we would like to have everything ready for him to visit them.
They have five children, but their house is always full of people. The classic extended family: more families living on the same landing and sharing much more.
Today, however, the house is strangely quiet, almost empty. As soon as we get there, they make us sit down, they serve us the mate and peanuts.§
It is the second time that I come to visit them, and they already know how much I like to smoke hookah.
It is there, ready for our arrival.
After the first pleasantries and updates, the conversation took another turn.
In fact, as if it was that circumstance to call those memoirs and without any specific questions, S. began to tell us about the time he was in Syria and he had been arrested as deserter and imprisoned.

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Operazione Colomba, the years spent in Lebanon, Humanitarian Corridors and the solidarity shown in these years have taught me a lot and opened many new paths.
They taught me a unique way to live certain situations and when to give space to others.
I saw a world of tragedies caused by human violence, but also the solidarity and closeness that grows within them.
Twenty days ago, I heard of a big shipwreck, 750 people left Libya and only a hundred survived, a hundred corpses were found, while the others... were lost at sea.
Shortly after I talked with a friend who arrived years ago in Italy from Lebanon through the Humanitarian Corridors: his cousin Mohamad, 24 years old, was on the ship.
He is among those unaccounted for.
Several friends intervene to help and one of them accompanies the relative of the missing person in Greece to search for answers.
There, along with the volunteers from Operazione Colomba, information was exchanged and listened to in order to see what can be done.
In the meantime, I have arrived in Lebanon and learned that Mohamad’s parents are here, living just a couple of hours by car from where we stay.
They are our friend’s uncles, parents of a desaparecido in the deadliest border of the world, refugees in a country that barely hosts them while they can’t return to their country of origin.
Operazione Colomba is what can’t make you flee facing other people's pain, but instead it whispers “get closer, try to feel even a small fraction of what they are feeling, don’t run away, even if it’s painful and even if you don’t have an answer”.

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K. brings his hand to his chest. His fingers will forever be marked by the hammer blows he received during his nine years in prison in Syria.
He sighs, trying not to let it show.
The check-point is now behind him as he goes home by bus.
During this period of summary deportations, which has worsened over the past month, it is difficult to know how many, at the same check-point, have been met with a different fate.

The father of A., 23, learned that his son was stopped there only because he was informed by someone who recognized him at the location on the Syrian border where the deportation occurred.
He was with about 30 people. Nothing more was heard of A. for two days. Then the news.
He is in prison in the country he left when he was 14.
“They cannot take him for compulsory military service because he is the only son. They should release him, but who knows what they did to him. If they asked him where his family is, we will have to leave here”.
Deportations have always been there, following some procedure that met the requirements of “public safety”. But now they are really arbitrary and unjustified mopping-ups with immediate effect.

H. had left early in the morning without papers.
“There is a farmer who comes at dawn and brings fresh laban (yogurt)”.
The soldiers stopped him while he was walking near his house and took him away.

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A dark tent, a feeble light of a rechargeable lamp, a two-year-old child sitting on the floor while eating with a thousand coloured face into the plate.
The colour of his story, the colour of his genealogy, the colour of the refugee camp dust, the colour of non-existent tissues, the colour of the greasy, which first reaches the nose and then the mouth.
I don’t know if I’ve ever seen such an overflowing violence.
Feet without socks running over sharp stones, trousers too large and underwear that are too expensive to be seen here, while outside it’s raining and the frozen air’s blowing from snow-clad mountains.
May a law exist for returning the toys, the fold-back blankets, the kiss taken before entering school, the bow on the smock, the bedtime stories and all the tenderness needed when you are a child?
Who’s going to compensate with a caress for each slap in the face?
What kind of man will become the one who has never been a child?
While I’m wondering about it, I think to the empty space of that tent; the answers to these questions take my breath away.
The road taken by these young ladies and men with big eyes, completely dirty, that hug you, scream and sing “bella ciao” passing our tent. A minute before they are playing and a minute later they are crying because of the blows; the road I see takes my sleep away.
In this night, that tent, that face in the plate, all the ongoing or breaking-in wars, all the emigrating people, the jails full of forgotten persons, the tortures, all the closed borders, all the commentators seated chatting, everything is stronger than the thunder of this rain that falls incessantly on this tent.
A dark tent, a feeble light of a rechargeable lamp, a two-year-old child raises his face up from the plate where he was eating and, in spite of the stink, I can smell the bright wonder of childhood. I wish the world to stop right now so that such unaware smile could remain there forever.

While we are writing this update from the refugee camp in the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon is experiencing a new  wave of social tensions, due to the instability of the Dollar value against the Lebanese Lira thus causing a galloping inflation of the necessities’ prices like bread and fuel.
On January 14th, the tensions turned into another "Day of Rage" which started with a national strike announced by the transport unions. The strike undermined the whole country by roadblocks, closures of petrol stations and lines at the bakeries, sometimes controlled by armies’ trucks.
We hear from the people we meet that the bread has been rationed for families in some nearby zones.
Therefore, people take to the streets asking the government to subsidize fuel and goods of first necessity in order to respond to Lebanese Lira’s devaluation which has lost almost 95% of its value in just two years.
Nowadays, filling the fuel tank is not affordable by the minimum monthly wage that corresponds to 20$.
According to the World Food Programme, food prices increased of 557% against the previous autumn.
But how do these numbers result in, since they quantitatively describe one of the most serious economic-financial crisis in the world?  
As volunteers from Operazione Colomba, we are witnessing the situation by meeting the fears and the palpable impatience of people.

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