Things we never thought
Thoughts we never think
Things we put behind
Things we never find
Things we never forget
Never wondering why
Times that we forget
And things we burry behind
Things that we miss
Are easily found
Things we never hide are our
Heritage, Roots, and Pride
Youmna Medlej is a photojournalist born in 1956. She studied photography in France and started making reportages on geographic and historical landmarks upon her return to Lebanon, as a way for Lebanese to rediscover their country after the war. But it was during her participation in Solidere’s excavations in the early 1990s that she discovered and developed her passion for heritage and archeology. At the time, the market was virtually devoid of heritage-oriented material. She thus resolved to introduce the young and old readers to the most prominent cultural and historic icons of their country.
The Lebanese Heritage series, by mother and daughter Youmna Jazzar Medlej and Joumana Medlej, started in 2004. Casting light on Lebanon’s multifaceted heritage is at the heart of their message as is obvious in their carefully researched and attractively illustrated books. Each volume is packed with information, that is checked and corrected by authorities on their respective subject to a degree where one really feels that they have learned about the subject by the end of the book, retaining though a simple language and detailed illustrations elucidating every part of the text, making them accessible to children and casual readers.
Their books communicate an ardent attachment to heritage and help in building a platform to raise awareness to the magnificence of our historic resources. They attest to a flamboyant passion to Lebanon’s historic and archeological patrimony. Youmna is set to revive Lebanon’s cultural heritage and familiarize children with their historic legacy. Her books span from the history of Sidon to Tyre, to birds of Lebanon, on the cedar and Jbeil, to old Lebanese houses and glass making. All their books are in both French and English, and some of them in Arabic as well.
We will only safeguard this country if we give our younger generation a prospect of a brighter future coupled with civilizational heritage, and there is no better way to start then with these books that simplistically detail everything that makes Lebanon so wonderful. To deny this beautiful heritage that we have or brush it off as something that is unimportant or in the past, is to deny our own history, our cultural treasures, our own spirit, and our own soul. At the end of the day there are two gifts that we can offer our children, roots to grow proud and tall and wings to fly and achieve their dreams. In a land where we are mostly concerned with giving them wings to fly and leave, these small 30 page illustrated books create a world where children can be proud to grow their roots. Our heritage helps us preserver on in a moment of reflection of knowing in life in where we belong.
“Our heritage and ideals, our code and standards, the things we live by and teach our children, are preserved or diminished by how freely we exchange ideas and feelings.” Walt Disney.
To check out their books or buy online: (you can also buy directly from Youmna at Souk el Tayeb on Saturdays)