>As I Remember My Dad

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As I Remember My Dad

By Sevana Semerdjian

I was eleven months old when my father, George Semerdjian, was assassinated. After passing eleven complicated years, I started searching for the missing part in my life, for the reason of the unbearable pain in my heart.

As I grew up, I found out that his absence had a severe impact in my life, not only that he was my father, but also an artist who has no place among us in this present time. Later, I discovered that he was the victim of his passion towards photography, of his love of art to uncover the bare truth during the 1975-1990 Lebanese Civil War.

Listening to my mother’s unending stories, which included my father’s adventures in his daily tasks, made me hard to accept the concept of my father’s death. I can remember very well, every time my mother took me in her arms, to give me more knowledge about who my father was, eventually tears would start to flow out of my will. I felt weak.

George Semerdjian’s job was a primary goal in his life, at a level that he used to leave parties and ceremonies, even home at late nights, because of a phone call that would inform him to take advantage of the chance for the “perfect” photo of his career. He faced that tragic war using his camera, for his camera was his weapon.  During his spare time, he used to go out to take pictures of anything he saw on his way such as animals, flowers, concerts, and nature. He used to say: “I have wandered the world, but no country has the beauty of Lebanon.”

My father has strived to show the new generation, the difference between the new upcoming Beirut and the ruined one. He has gone through many hardships while taking photos in different countries, he has been caught and beaten, but he has never given up his work as a photographer. He used to say and believe that his mother’s prays save him from all kinds of harm.

“Photos had to be impressing and grab the reader’s attention, since the reader first looks at photos rather than words written under it.” This is the way he interpreted his love for his work, for photography was a talent more than a task, for him.

My father anticipated that there would be a war similar to the one that occurred in July 2006. His dream was to be present at that war. Unfortunately he was gone until then. As for me, I felt deserted and dreary, since every time I used to see journalists with their “press” uniform, my father’s image would come in front of my sight. I could not endure those heartbreaking scenes, where many blameless children were losing their father or why not even their mother, who were all risking their lives and leaving in the heart of their children fear, anxiety, and sorrowful memories.

As I remember my dad, I can feel deeply that he had left me a secret to the key of life, and that key will solve the thorny paths I will face in my life, towards the journey of reaching him.

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