Belgian, Syrian, Moroccan. Myrna Nabhan has as many origins as she has talents. Political scientist, engaged journalist, founder of an association. First portrait of our series #queendom, Myrna has agreed to share a bit of her knowledge with us.
As a child, she used to live in Syria, which she’ll leave later on to go to Belgium. But the idea of going back to her ancestors’ land haunts her, until it becomes an obsession.
Her goal: to pass on the cultural richness of this country, beyond the stereotypes created by the war.
ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE CRISIS
One day, as she wipes off yet another job rejection, she says: “screw it”, and decides to go back to Syria. Without knowing it and unwillingly, she is going to build herself a patch from scratch, custom-made. First, with a movie, “Damascus”, which will last three years.
“With every door closing in on me,
I would go by the window”
Her desire? Show how human beings continue to live on in spite of the chaos, show their strength to keep moving amid the exploding bombs. A movie focused on life, rather than death.
” I wanted to show how people keep on living, and that in such terrible situations there’s always a way to find something, not positive per say, but that allows to simply keep going (…) It’s something universal, something human actually, a strength that resides within each person, and that shines through, in those kinds of situations. A mother who lost her kid, a rocket that fell, and who tells you “But thank God, it could be worse“
WHAT ABOUT TODAY?
For the time being, the journalist is working on a second project, depicting the city of Alep through a photo book. Only this time, with a wish to capture the essence, as well as pay tribute to the city and its people. Beyond a project, “an impulse, a need in the moment”.
Co-founder of the association Missaly, Myrna and her sister go to schools in order to help young Belgians with foreign origins to feel “more Belgian”. With a wish to solve an identification issue regarding role models, they invite ambassadors to come and share their experience, also coming from diversity.
A WOMAN: SO WHAT?
“Apparently, I made a feminist movie without knowing it (…). When we aired it at a festival, a guy from the jury said “Pffff”, what is that movie, there are too many women in it.“
Myrna says she never realized the obstacles coming from the fact that she was a woman, in the moment. Yet, in hindsight, they were always there. During job interviews, forcing herself to create her career on her own, or when her movie was aired.
WHAT GREAT WOMAN WOULD YOU INVITE TO DINNER?
To the question: “If there was a person you could invite to dinner, who would be dear to you, a woman preferably, who would it be?”, the young woman answered:
“That question made me think, because if I have to invite a woman to dinner, I would be the one paying, so (laughter): just kidding. (…) Well I’m going to say something pretty simple, but it would be my mother, actually. My mum is a lioness. Someone who has always fought, who has always imposed her choices, … She’s a badass. (…) She’s the kind of person who inspires me a lot. (…) Something that she has always taught us is that, whether you are a boy or a girl, don’t ever let anybody impose its choices onto you, and don’t ever depend on anyone.”