Friday, November 20, 2009

Beirut Journal Day #14: Looking Forward



Days like today always leave me a little unhinged. Without any major objective, I spent my time preparing for tomorrow. My madrassa has organized a trip to Mukhayim Bourj al-Barajneh (Mukhayim means camp, Bourj al-Baranjeh is a place in southwest Beirut). It’s a Palestinian Refugee Camp, established in 1948 by the Swedish Red Cross. Now, services, to the extent that they exist, are administered by the United Nations Relief Works Association (UNRWA). Some facts:

1. Roughly 20,000 people inhabit this camp.
2. It has been attacked numerous times, by numerous different groups. Chief among these groups, Lebanese Shia militias.
3. In the 1980’s, during the Israeli onslaught that led to internal war in Lebanon, there was mass starvation in this camp.
4. The camp is one square kilometer.
5. Through a series of laws and decrees passed by the Lebanese Government over the years, Palestinian refugees are prohibited from, among many other things:
a. Owning property/land
b. Repairing property
c. Passing on property as inheritance for future generations
d. Employment in nearly every sector of Lebanese society.
e. The freedom of movement throughout Lebanon.



Lebanon’s treatment of these stateless, country-less Palestinians is criminal.
Lebanon’s treatment of these stateless, country-less Palestinians is complicated.

My madrassa, located right next to Phalange headquarters (I’ve written about the Phalange on other occasions), has organized this trip as a sort of cultural exchange. It feels very strange to say that I’m looking forward to it. But I am

Looking forward.

As we all should be.

Resources:
UNRWA http://www.un.org/unrwa/refugees/lebanon/barajneh.html
Beirut Indymedia http://beirut.indymedia.org/ar/2004/01/898.shtml

No comments: