Shatila refugee camp

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. 

Solidarity in Shatila

Coming into Shatila, I heard loudspeakers calling for donations for the displaced from the Nahr al-Bared camp. “Help us help the families hosting their relatives from Nahr al-Bared; any donations would be appreciated,” the person on the loudspeaker called out. I went to the site appointed for donations collection, and met a woman asking if clothes were among the needed items. “These are old clothes, like the ones we wear, I swear, I am not differentiating between my family and them. I wish I had money but this is all what I could find at home,” she said. 

How can you send love with a missile?

Ussama is 19-years-old, a Palestinian refugee, born and raised in Beirut’s Shatila refugee camp. “Although I always dreamt of corresponding with my country and my hometown to see if I still have relatives there,” he writes, “I was unable to because there is no mail between Lebanon and the State of Israel. Ironically, only the missiles of Hizbullah can be sent to Israel. We are not allowed to return, but the missiles go where we cannot.” Ussama reflects on his own life amidst the escalating war, and how the roar of the F-16’s and the missiles has, amidst the worry and devastation, reconnected him to the broader world.