Khaled Youssef

The Forgotten Hands – Video and Poem



Don't look for faces, they're hidden behind what's left of masks, and covered with signs of a continual struggle to reject fatigue and bring back the smiles that are necessary to endure the ordeals of everyday life.

Don’t look for features, they’re buried behind the indelible traces of days and nights to erase our pains and to absorb our fears.

Don’t look for gazes, they’re never extinguished; they radiate continuously, fighting the burden of shadows and facing the troubled waters of fate, long before an invisible and unpredictable disease ravages our daily lives.

Follow the hands, the ones that we almost forgot, and which persist in life-saving comings and goings, like soldiers who only carry out the orders of their conscience while desperately rubbing shoulders with death and tirelessly courting life. 

Those hands that disinfect, perfuse, intubate, check constants, clean, caress, reassure … until exhaustion, with gestures that provide appeasement and movements that create spaces for healing. 

Those hands that wither over months and years, soaked in hydroalcoholic solution, and busy soothing wounds, regulating breathing and shaping hope.

White, blue, green and pink … we cross these colors in the corridors of hospitals, of those unappreciated shadows, who, in their agitation, form the load-bearing walls of this whitish decor and fill it with bursts of hope.

Days and nights, buzzers go berserk and steps get faster, despite a reduced number of staff and limited means, tasks accumulate and trials grow, but those hands are always there, lively and active, obstinately they tear fear away and radiate attention and goodwill, by focusing on what matters and by visualizing hope that looms on the horizon.


Today we sing praises to them at nightfall like a late awakening, like a trembling of consciousness, but when the storm will pass, let's not forget to remember those who built the shelters, to hear them and cover them with tenderness, benevolence and incessant support. Let’s not forget to always reach out to them to preserve their dignity, to those who, every day, brandish their invisible swords to take away sighs, ward off ills and illnesses, and combine life in the present for our future.

Khaled Youssef (born in 1975 in Damascus, Syria) is a surgeon by profession, and a photographer and poet by passion living in Nice, France. He is a co-founder of the Syria.Art Association, who is organising this project.

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