The dream of returning home

Fadi looked up and pointed at the rain. “This is like our life. We hate the rain. But we can’t change it so we will stay under it.” This rain appeared all the more invasive when picking lemons in winter. It is a cold, wet and miserable task, for the equivalent of $7 a day. A task only perceived to be fit for Palestinians in Lebanon. Despite Fadi’s postgraduate qualification in accounting and fluency in English, he rightly pointed out that “I can’t be a lawyer, I can’t be a doctor … Seventy-two jobs I can’t do.” Mary Pole writes from the al-Buss refugee camp. 

Living with the certainty of war

For a while now, we’ve been talking about it. For a while now, I’ve been talking about it. Yes, there will be another war. I have said so during radio interviews, during dinner conversations, during phone calls with my family in the US. Yes, there will be another war of Israeli aggression on Lebanon. It is just a question of time, this summer or next summer, this year or next year, but, yes, there will be another war. Rania Masri writes from Beirut. 

A new struggle for life after war

Tyre enjoys a reputation as a laid back summer resort with a “liberal” lifestyle in the heart of south Lebanon — with its striking Roman ruins, ancient Christian fishing harbor, and bustling beachfront. But during the off-season — and compounded by the negative impact of the summer 2006 conflict with Israel, the ongoing political crises in Beirut and skyrocketing prices nationwide — the town’s family-owned retail shops and businesses, farmers and fishermen barely make a living. Rebecca Murray writes from the southern Lebanon city. 

When is it the Palestinians' turn?

The four of us sat in the tight confines of a shop nestled in the curving alleyways of Shatila, a Palestinian refugee camp established to house those whose families fled historical Palestine in 1948. Twenty-five years ago this then little-known camp — along with a nearby area called Sabra — was also the site of a bloody massacre that left more than 2,000 Palestinians dead at the hands of Phalangist militias backed by the Israeli army. EI contributor Christopher Brown writes from the Shatila refugee camp. 

Refugees, again

In June 2006, Dr. Tawfiq Assad stepped out of the seaside Rafiq Hariri airport in Beirut and took a deep breath of the Mediterranean air. It wasn’t home but it was as close to it as he had ever been. Dr. Assad returned to Lebanon to visit family and friends for what he thought would only be a few weeks’ stay. A Palestinian refugee himself, Dr. Assad’s story is not uncommon. His family was forced from their home in Nazareth during the Nakba in 1948 when the Zionist armies invaded to make way for the Jewish state. 

Dreaming of Nahr al-Bared

Last week a group of international activists, people from Shatila refugee camp, and a group of people from the Nahr al-Bared displaced committee held a meeting to discuss how to break the media blackout about the siege on Nahr al-Bared refugee camp. One of the men at the meeting asked us, “How do we get the story of our situation into the media on a daily basis so that people will go to sleep at night dreaming of people from Nahr al-Bared?” 

Interview: "There are more than 20 dead in our neighborhood"

Sari Chreih and Razan Al-Ghazzawi interview Saleh Bhar, a medical doctor from Nahr al-Bared Refugee Camp: “During the first hours of the first day of the bombardment … my uncle died in his home when he was hit by one of the shells; he was with his two sons and one of his neighbors. … My uncle’s wife was injured. I have many relatives who lost their houses. My cousin Amin Bhar, a dentist, lost his house. My other cousin, also a doctor, lost his house too. My cousins told me that my uncle’s neighbor, Raed el Shans, who was with him when his house was shelled, also died with my uncle.” 

"The situation is very bad"

The following interview with Ashraf Abu Khorj, a youth organizer, was conducted on May 21 at around 3pm as the Lebanese Army was shelling the Nahr al Bared refugee camp: “The situation has calmed down now — from a half hour ago. For the past two days, and since 4 am this morning, there have been lots of attacks. Homes attacked. Homes burned. People injured. Children hit. Youth killed. The situation is very bad. No electricity for the past two days. There is no water. There is nothing. We don’t have a hospital in the camp.” 

Lebanon Bloggers Roundup: Academia, Agriculture and Construction

Let us begin this week’s roundup of the Lebanese blogosphere with non-political posts. Let us start from a post about two Lebanese salads that are used as appetizers during meals. Skylark shows us (Fr) how to prepare Fattush and Tabboule, which are two delicious Lebanese salads that are usually found whenever Lebanese spread the table for a guest. Now that we have satisfied our taste buds, let us move to publishing and academia. Lazarus wrote at the Lebanese Blogger Forum about A Lost Summer: Postcards from Lebanon which is a book that compiles quotations, written during the summer war in Lebanon.