An Ambassador who linked history to the present for the future
November 8, 2019
A story that connected history to the present started off with a passenger traveling from Lebanon to Canada on the legendary Titanic in 1912. A bit more than 100 years later, in the present, Lebanon’s Ambassador to Germany, HE Dr. Mustapha Adib donated two artworks, dedicated to two Lebanese passengers on the Titanic to a Museum of Emigration in Lebanon.
The story commenced with a 12 year old girl, Banoura Ayoub Daher, who in 1912, boarded the Titanic as a third class passenger. She left her hometown in Lebanon and traveled with her cousins to join her uncle in Canada.
On the night of the sinking of the Titanic, Banoura was the only one who survived from her family and managed to arrive to New York City onboard the Carpathia ship.
Banoura’s journey did not end however there, she moved from Columbus to Detroit in the USA and then to Canada, where she married still very young. She moved back with her husband and five children to Detroit, Michigan in the USA.
One of her sons described her as a ‘tiny lady’ with a big heart. “Mom was a fighter” and had a strong character.
From the time of her rescue, knowing that there was only a small chance that some would survive, she did beat the odds. She did the same for her children and family thorughout her life.
After 100 years among the many stories aboard the legendary Titanic, there was one that reappeared as a significant piece during the Titanic Cultural Commemoration project of Dodo Newman.
This one was the one created as a dedication to the story of Banoura, the young girl traveling from Lebanon on the ship. The two granddaughters of Banoura, living in the USA, heard about the project and about the one piece dedicated to their beloved grandmother. They immediately contacted the artist.
Eventually, the artwork, which became a symbol of their dearly remembered grandmother and their roots, found a home with them. It is today with the family and future generation of Banoura.
Nevertheless, Banoura was not the only passenger traveling from Lebanon on the Titanic to find a new home elsewhere.
The Titanic ship had at least sixty-six (some refer to one-hundred-fifty-four, due to the unfortunate fact that many of the Titanic passengers are still unidentified) Lebanese and Lebanon related passengers.
This very special fact and the project’s message of borderless art, gave a deeper meaning to the Ambassador of Lebanon to Germany, H.E. Dr. Mustapha Adib, who gave his input into the cultural and educational aspect of the project.
When H.E. Dr. Adib first heard about the TitanicCultural Commemorative project, he felt that it was important to remember this event, to remember the persons - among whom many Lebanese - who died in this catastrophe.
He also felt that, although the events surrounding the sinking of the Titanic belong to history, they are a sum of individual tragedies, and it is only right that the families of the passengers be involved in the project.
“I liked the approach of the project because, usually when such a tragedy occurs, and there are so many casualties we tend to see only the figures. This project was a way to remember that behind those figures, there are actual individuals, with their own stories and life paths,” explains H.E. Dr. Adib.
During the present years, he not only gave his insights and contribution to the publication “Incredible Titanic Life Stories: Cultural changes over 100 years & Borderless Art”, but he also took a further step into the future, by donating two artworks, given to him by the artist, to the Museum of Immigrants in Batroun, Lebanon.
“As you know, Lebanon is at the crossroads between “East” and “West”, between Europe and the Muslim and Arab world. Therefore, its record of cultural exchange dates back to antiquity. Lebanese people are also famous navigators and ship-builders - the most famous ones in Phoenician times. Therefore, Lebanese people feel connected to the rest of the world and have always emigrated very easily and integrated very easily as well in their host countries.
The sinking of the Titanic is indeed a symbol of the emigration of Lebanese people, of their hopes for a better new life. It is part of the memory of the Lebanese people. This is why I felt that the two Memorabilia pieces produced within the framework of the project belong to all Lebanese and should definitely be on public display in the “Musée de l’Emigrant” in Batroun,” describes in detail H.E. Dr. Adib.
As an ambassador, H.E. Dr. Adib has traveled the world and experienced many cultural realities. On the contrary to how art is perceived as a luxury by many, he believes that it is something “necessary” for every human being.
For him art brings beauty to our lives, it keeps the ugliness of the world at bay and provides for a means of expression for many who are suffering in one way or another.
“Besides, art combines local specialties with more global trends. Therefore, it is both the reflection of a period and place and a bridge between people. As for myself, music would be my favorite art, and being posted in Germany, I have been able to enjoy it at its highest level, which I and my family are deeply enjoying,” says H.E. Dr. Adib.
The Titanic Cultural Commemorative project reflected an issue that is clearly a key one in this new millennium as well, which is migration.
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