AUGUSTA — Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine will host an open house and discussion of two powerful exhibits from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 28, with a program beginning at 5:30 p.m. at the Michael Klahr Center, 46 University Drive.

The exhibits include “40 Chances: Finding Hope in a Hungry World” and “Witness to War: The Children of Syria.”

“40 Chances: Finding Hope in a Hungry World” is a photographic exhibit created by Howard G. Buffet in partnership with the Newseum. The exhibit is currently on display at the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine through March 22. The process of photographing the effects of hunger throughout the world also inspired a best-selling book by the same title. To learn more about the exhibit, visit Indira Williams Babic, the director of photography and virtual resources at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., will discuss the exhibit and the considerations that were made to create it.

“Witness to War: The Children of Syria” features photographs of Syrian journalist Bassam Khabieh. Khabieh began his work as a photographer in his home town of Douma and the Damascus suburbs in 2011, covering demonstrations and funerals. He considers his first official assignment was to cover the chemical attack in the Eastern Ghouta near Damascus in August 2013.

Khabieh says: “I woke up that morning, and headed towards medical points to see tens of dead bodies. I saw a little baby among them. When I approached her there was no blood or injuries, she looked like she was sleeping among dead bodies. I took pictures of her and left for the sites bombed by the chemical attack. It was a horrible moment entering deserted neighborhoods where many residents had been killed by chemical weapons. I saw cats and dogs too, laying on the ground, and dead sheep in farms. I saw and smelt the stench of death.”

The powerful exhibit documents the death and destruction of Syria that has caused millions to become refugees. Khabieh was the Oak Institute Fellow in the fall of 2018. He has returned to his family in Turkey, but Oak Institute Director Valerie M. Dionne will be on hand to discuss the exhibit and Khabieh’s important work.

The open house event is free and open to the public. Snacks and refreshments will be provided. For more information, call 207-621-3530 or email [email protected]

An image from Syrian journalist Bassam Khabieh’s photographic exhibit, “Witness to War: The Children of Syria.” Bassam Khabieh

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