The Houses of the Victims of Torture: Centers of Rehabilitation (Sep 2008)It was not a morning visit aiming to discuss while drinking coffee, yet, it was a special visit. The host was A.A, a former detainee in the Syrian prisons, and the guests were his friends who had spent many years in the same prisons.
The house, the provisional clinic, is located in Beit Al-Faks in Denniyyeh, 45 Km away from the city of Tripoli in the north of Lebanon.
The KRC team, constituted of a public health physician, two social workers, a field coordinator and a volunteer, left Tripoli to their destination. The host, the former detainees and their families provided us a great reception.
The tasks were distributed according to each person’s competence, so a provisional pharmacy was developed. Drawings, toys, colored hats and symbolic gifts were also distributed to the children of detainees.
The beneficiaries of the health activity were 8 former detainees, 3 women and 15 of their children.
The first report of the physician affirmed that most of the detainees he diagnosed, are suffering from diabetes as a result of the torture and the permanent nervosity. As for the children, they urgently need vitamins.
The team also visited a blind former prisoner in his house in order to offer him a treatment and the appropriate medicine. Before the end of the visit, many former detainees and torture victims who were not visited by the center yet, came and claimed a second visit to the town so they can fill forms. Finally, the liberated victims of torture did not allow the team to leave before having lunch together.
The KRC drew a smile on the faces of these children, for it is the first initiative that an NGO or a governmental organization does in this marginalized region, forgotten by the government and by the civil society.
We might not be able to open a center in every city and every village, but we can light a candle in these forgotten villages in order to ease the suffering of the victims of torture, living under the poverty line and carrying scars of a physical and a psychological torture.
It is a hard step indeed, but history taught us in the south, in Beirut, in Bekaa and in the North, that the center should be present where the victims are, and that their houses can easily be transformed to provisional reception and guidance centers.
They are happy because someone remembered them and helped them; we are happy because this was an important experience that deserves to be studied, evaluated and continued.
By Mohammed Safa