A little nook tucked away at Rue 82 in Bourj Hammoud stands monument to this collective affirmation of home, beyond borders and language.   A woman packs her life into a suitcase, with deep extending roots into the earth and says in Armenian- the proverbial  բարի գալուստ, հազար բարի:  “A thousand time welcome,” while a 17-year-old Syrian boy with maps of ancient cities in his chest, unpacks and looks up at a pomegranate tree growing out of the suitcase, into the sky and affirms: “(when) no one is asking about us, let us ask about each other.”


‘A thousand times welcome’ – she said repeatedly, with teary eyes and crimson cheeks. A neighbour, to our mural, she lives in this apartment in Bourj Hammoud with her Syrian-Armenian family, having moved to Beirut after they had to flee Aleppo. They arrived in Beirut, as many like them had arrived here a hundred years ago fleeing a genocide. Between the genocide and a war, almost a hundred years apart, are many stories of people who have made Beirut home. A city of sharp streets and fading bullet holes, high rises and crumbling houses, a city that keeps becoming home, a difficult one, but a home nevertheless.

 What is important, the departure, the arrival, or the story? Home is often one long story of all of these, no matter if your point of departure is war, homophobia, opportunities, or love.

Fearless Collective partnered with FRIDA| and Beyond Borders to create an impossible home in Beirut, where Syrian, Lebanese, Kurdish, Turkish, Armenian, Palestinian, Indian, Ethiopian and Pakistani women and men all lived together, for a week, making art, comparing histories, and holding space for difficult conversations.  In our fearless workshop, we explored the ritual of packing and unpacking as a symbolic reference to leaving and making homes. As each of us unpacked a trunk full of each other’s things, we found, what often makes us feel at home is someone saying the words “a thousand times welcome,” a familiar song, a family jewel, oranges that are tiny and tangible, mother tongues and your grandmother’s pomegranate trees.