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Knight in Shining Gel

March 31, 2011
the Knight in shining gel

Fares - the Knight in shining gel ©Lebanesevoices

You can’t linger the streets of Hamra without noticing Faris (Faris, is arabic for Knight), a boy of about 9-10, with gelled back hair, and a bucket of overpriced ($2) red roses… lurking for the next tourist, or couple, to pity the young boy enough to buy roses from a little needy boy. Faris is friends with everyone, the cafe’s of Hamra know him by name, staying up till midnight, roaming…

Faris of-course is not any different from many more children whose parents refuse to provide for, send them to the streets, abuse their childhood charm and innocence to make money… although, some have said that Faris is looked after by some organizations in the street, providing him a place to stay and some education, is that enough? i believe not, being burdened at such an age with the worry of being lucrative is quite childhood-robbing.

Discussing Faris with a friend, only confronted my biggest fear, what happens when the charm of little boy is gone and replaced with an older less “innocent” looking version… what would he have learned? what would he have to give? where to go? and “What” to sell?

Rumors always circle street children in Lebanon: “they are syrian” “they eventually become prostitutes” “they are not lebanese” “they pick-pockets” “they’re Master sits around the corner smoking “arguileh”” “they arrive in trucks in the morning”.
They work on Lebanese grounds, and are minors. these are the only solid facts one can witness. Unprotected.
What can we do about it? what can we provide to help these children? where can we go with them? how can we educate them? Who’s willing to fight for their childhood innocence and future?

[Edit: {thanks for @NightS for pointing out} Fares, was a guest actor on Shankaboot, a Lebanese web-drama, which only makes things more complex.. If the boy makes so much money, why is he still in the streets, charming people for money? how does that apply to other children walking between cars, some barefoot and unprotected? Who is responsible for them?]

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. March 31, 2011 11:54 am

    “providing him a place to stay and some education” http://www.shankaboot.com/en/episodes/season-four/40

  2. March 31, 2011 11:59 am

    “providing him a place to stay and some education” -> ????
    “Some” education?? That’s really sad =(

    I usually ask these kids when they come to sell whatever they have in their hands questions like “Why aren’t you in school?”, “Where is your mother?” The way the react saddens me the most! They go like “WTH is she talking about?”

    What’s worse, is that they work for some rich heartless people. I once saw a brand new car pulling over on the other side of the street…and the kids started going one by one to that car handing over the money they made to some guy with a cigar or something =(

    By the way, is he the same kid in this Shankaboot’s episode? http://www.shankaboot.com/en/episodes/season-four/40

    • March 31, 2011 12:44 pm

      i did ask him about school and stuff, but i didn’t wanna pressure him…
      I didnt see that episode yet (horrible lebanese internet!!) omg yes he is the same boy from the episode… all the more reason to wonder why the boy has to stay selling flowers on the streets..

  3. April 4, 2011 9:20 am

    I actually wrote about that a while ago b/c it was really bothering me. I won’t say what I said there but my same questions stand.. how can we change this? Education is key, yes but to get this education to them.. what do we do?
    http://thetripbackhome.blogspot.com/2011/03/next-steps.html
    It’s sad that we even have to think about these things.
    And actually telling me what you think might be helpful.. I’m still trying to create a path of next steps 🙂

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