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I’m sure you have all seen this poster or heard something about it and if you haven’t shame on you!

So apparently Zeina Daccache used to act in one of those Lebanese comedy shows, “Basmat al Watan”. Now she  has become a fairy godmother to 45 prisoners. She came into their pointless, hopeless lives and gave them something to live for.

I saw this Documentary today. I cried, walked out, bought the play and the soundtrack and you should do the same!

It was heart breaking, more importantly it transformed these criminals into people; fathers, brothers and sons…

For more than a year, Zeina would go to the Roumieh prison and direct a crew of 45 murderer’s, rapists and drug dealers to perform the Arabic version of Reginald Rose’s play “12 Angry Men”. The fairy tale is not in the play, however, but in the making.

Zeina managed to commandeer these men, treat them with Drama therapy, and change their miserable lives.

The documentary is amazing. It basically consists of a wonderfully directed collage of clips from the play, along with making of scenes and the prisoner’s testimonies.

My first impression was: “okay, this guy is in jail for murder, isn’t it supposed to be wrong to feel sorry for him? But by the end of the documentary I was choking on my tears while I watched Hawillo (one of the inmates) hug his newly married son and daughter-in-law.

All the inmates had lost hope and were suffering from the drudgery of their imprisoned routine life before Zeina came into their life. You see these people who used to be angry and bitter talking about working together and feeling alive. She gave them a reason to wake up and get out of “cell’ in the morning.

Watching them express their gratitude to “Abo-Ali” (the name they dubbed Zeina for her feistiness) made me want to call up Roumieh and arrange a visit so that I can interact with these funny and good intentioned souls.

Most of the inmates regretted their crime, but most of them insist that if they were looked after as children this wouldn’t have happened. Sadly, I think its true. Certain people are unfortunate enough to suffer circumstances that result in lost and confused people that just feel lonely and foresaken.

Click HERE to go to a really informative article about the documentary.

Here is the trailer I found on YouTube:

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Did you know Lebanon had a center for Drama therapy? And for the first time it is being used in a PRISON?

It’s called Catharsis.

pretty cool hunh? I thought so.
Anyway, go see the documentary, buy the play and the CD of songs that the inmates put together. You’ll love it I promise.

Meanwhile, this is dedicated to those men:

Verse of Redemption

Little bubbles falling down upon hands of those in cages

they reach out for them, looking to turn the pages

They fall on their hands and disappear

like all their loves, hopes and fear

Soaring on a blue carpet of diamonds

Soaring to a world far away from deamons

The sea and sky become one

they head to it aiming for the sun

Sing a verse for freedom

sing it high and sing it loud

you might just make a poor man proud

Sing that song of hope and let it reach the cages

Where grown men cry and courageous men surrender

Where there is only guilt and retribution

Spread your arms and close your eyes

think of someone that you despise

wish them a chance at redemption

and then dream of your own

Soak up the rays that free you from all you carry

Surrender to the warmth you’ve yearned for

Shake off the chains that hold you down

and breathe

Let it go

You are forgiven …

Them prisoners are okay by me….. In the end, shit DOES happen!

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