Over the years I’ve been contacted by various journalists interested in writing about adoption and trafficking in Lebanon, and their usual starting point is a personal one: How has adoption affected the adoptee personally, and what might reunion mean for him or her? What follows is often intense discussion, focusing on the economic and political reality of such trafficking. Then, the compromise with editors as writers face the reality that they are simply providing a narrative—or a turn on a narrative—of the dominant mode of society. It’s rare to see full-on investigative journalistic endeavors that name names and reveal the reality most of us are aware of. This, however, should be the main goal, if you ask me.
And so I’ve given up thinking that media directed to dominant bourgeois or aspiring bourgeois strata of society are of any use, so I’ve stopped speaking to the media for the most part. Case in point, I was recently approached by a journalist working for An-Nahar newspaper in Lebanon. The journalist’s email demanded a punch list for a run-of-the-mill adoption story, and I was a bit taken aback by the lack of empathy or tact. You can read the final story here [link]; all of those mentioned are friends, colleagues, and adoptees I’ve come to know. I would like to go on the record as saying that I unequivocally support Badael/Alternatives, as well as other adoptees in terms of how they pursue their own mediation. But also for the record is my response to the journalist, which follows below.
Before speaking to adoptees, or expecting them to just drop everything and share extremely personal information with you for your “newspaper”, you might want to research a lot more concerning not the personal aspects of adoption, but the political and economic nightmare that Lebanon represents in terms of child trafficking.
This nightmare exists in no small part because of reactionary, anti-progressive, and bourgeois media such as An-Nahar. Many of the children adopted out of the country were from groups (such as the Palestinians) that An-Nahar historically has always portrayed in a negative light, to put it mildly. I find this newspaper to be racist, classist, and sectarian and do not wish to have anything to do with it whatsoever.
This is not a story about me and my personal quest for “roots”, which, again, your newspaper would likely deny are mine, based on my [rediscovered] background. This is a story about how a place like Lebanon can determine that children like me were not valid members of society and deserved to be gotten rid of. We are not a media spectacle, nor simple fodder for “awareness” campaigns. We are human beings seeking justice.