Lucien Samaha Archive  |  The Lebanon Section  |  Determining the Dates

I was born in Lebanon on January 26, 1958.


My family emigrated to the USA on August 20, 1970.


Evidence in my passport reveals that I went back on summer vacations three times, in 1973, 74, and 75.


The passport shows an exit stamp dated August 11, 1975, after a ten day visit despite the fact that the killings that sparked the first of the Lebanese civil wars had occurred on April 13 of that same year.


I have no recollection of any anxiety or fear during that visit. I also remember that in my first year in the US, I became extremely home sick for Lebanon and pleaded with my parents to let me return and live there, even as a boarding student.


This would have been the summer of 1971, a couple of years before I started photographing in earnest; nevertheless, I did have a small Kodak Instamatic camera with which I took a few snapshots.


My same expired Lebanese Passport reveals an entry into Lebanon on May 18, 1991, sixteen years after my previous visit, and not long after the "unofficial" end of fifteen years of hostilities, civil wars, and extra-national invasions.



I revisited Lebanon in 1992, 1995, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2002, 2003, and finally in 2011 for my father's funeral.


From 1973 to 2011, I took 6,274 photographs throughout the country; approximately 10 hours of analog video in 1995; and various short digital clips starting in 2002. I also recorded a few hours of live radio shows on cassette tape in the early 90's.