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Palestinians’ traumas exposed at MSF exhibition in Amman

By Muath Freij - Oct 10,2018 - Last updated at Oct 11,2018

The exhibition portrays the mental health traumas that ‘cannot be physically seen’, according to the photographer (Photos courtesy of Moises Saman/ MSF)

AMMAN — A total of 81 photos taken by Magnum award-winning photographer Moises Saman are exposing the audience to mental health symptoms Palestinians suffer due to the violence they encounter. 

Held by Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) at Fann Wa Shai Gallery, the expo aims to shed light on the impact of the Israeli occupation on the mental health of the Palestinian population, according to MSF website. 

“Occupied Minds” is a series of stories about MSF patients affected by the Israeli occupation who are receiving assistance from the mental health teams in Hebron.

“It was challenging for me because it is a sensitive issue for families and they are not easy to open up into this kind of issues. [Mental health] is something that you cannot [physically] see; it is more of mental state, a constant feeling and that can be shown in many different ways,” he told The Jordan Times at the opening. noting that many children were suffering from some kind of hopelessness. 

“Teenagers sometimes argue ‘why should I go to school what I am going to do with my education?’” he explained. 

Juan Carlos Ramas, head of mission of MSF Spain/Jerusalem said the exhibition is meant to highlight the importance of targeting mental health. 

“When we speak about health, we sometimes forget mental health so we wanted to raise the awareness of the importance of including mental health as part of the overall healthcare,” he said, noting that this kind of treatment is especially conducted in Hebron district because of the level of violence there.

“People in their daily basis are subjected to different kinds of violence sometimes they can cope with, others they cannot,” Ramas explained, stressing that MSF’s work includes supporting people who suffer from mental health to help them cope through different kinds of psychological techniques.  

 “We have provided services to over 6,400 people this year,” he highlighted.  

Ahmed Adel, MSF’s operations director for the Middle East, said that between January and April 2018, a total of 84 attacks were carried out by Israeli settlers against Palestinian civilians, adding that “37 per cent [of] the work of MSF all over the world is concentrated in the Middle East”.

Saman, who said it took him 10 days to finish the project, described holding the exhibition in Amman as “a good idea” due to the big Palestinian community in Jordan, which is also very close to Palestine.  

The exhibition will run until Wednesday, 31 of October at Fann Wa Shai.  

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