Heritages: Our Story, Part II

This video is Part II in our series inspired by the film Heritages.

Dr. Franck Salameh, professor of Near Eastern languages at Boston College, told the Fares Center his story of immigrating to the United States from Lebanon. Though Dr. Salameh didn’t move to Florida until he was a teenager, he recalls how childhood memories of his grandfather singing to him Spanish gave him his first inklings that his family’s roots extended far beyond Lebanon. In this video, Dr. Salameh also discusses leaving his home country, assimilating into American society, and the ties that bind various generations to Lebanon. “Everywhere you go,” he says, “you find Lebanese.”

About this series—

In November 2015, the Fares Center hosted a screening of Heritages, a film by Lebanese director Philippe Aractingi. The film tells the story of Aractingi’s family over several generations in which the family moves back and forth within the region, and back again to Lebanon— while exploring themes of memory, identity, belonging and exile. The Aractingis’ story echoes that of many people who have been forced to leave their homes around the world and more specifically from the Eastern Mediterranean region, some of whom have settled in the Boston area. Boston and its suburbs are now home to many immigrants from the region: Greeks, Armenians, Lebanese, Jews, Palestinians, Syrians and others. To the Fares Center, Heritages celebrates the rich shared history of the Boston-area diaspora from the Eastern Mediterranean.

The film was introduced by Professors Elizabeth Prodromou, Rouben Shougarian and Nadim Shehadi who all spoke about the cosmopolitan character and the richness that the interaction between multiple  identities creates. This is combined with a tragic history in the 20th century that many of the people from the region are grappling with and having to explain to the new generations as Philippe Aractingi also shows in the film. These are themes that the Fares Center explores further often through film screening events.

Prior to the screening, the audience saw a video message from both director Aractingi and by his mother Andre Sultan, whose role in the film was very moving for the audience. A reception before the screening brought together Tufts students, faculty and members of the community. Several of them shared the stories of their own family’s heritage with us, which we are delighted to share with you in this video series.  

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