Iraq's Palestinian refugees back at square one

When images and news of the new border tent-camps that the Palestinian refugees from Iraq fled to after the US invasion began to spread through Arabic-language media, a concurrent anecdote began to circulate: “Word is that the Palestinians will even be hosted in tent-camps in the afterlife.” The nightmare of the approximately 25,000 to 30,000 Palestinians whose families sought refuge in Iraq in 1948 is but the latest manifestation of the ongoing tragedy of Palestinian stateless refugeehood. Anaheed Al-Hardan writes from Syria. 

A night at the symphony in Damascus

Salaam a’laykum - peace be upon you. The greeting used by Arabs and Muslims all over the world - and for the people of Lebanon, Palestine and Iraq, a poignant reminder that peace is a precious thing. Seeing the images of massacre at Qana today I don’t know where to begin - or how to stop crying. I feel I can only convey fragments - perhaps because my heart is breaking. I’m trying hard not to seem melodramatic, because I know how it is there - you read this in the midst of a long, exhausting, busy day and too many of these and it’s too much to bear, it feels so far away. 

From Syria, with love

It has been demonstrated time and time again (Iraq, Palestine and now Lebanon come to mind) that demonizing people so you can feel better about destroying everything they hold dear is not the best route to peace in any region. Therefore, I would like to offer an alternative to counteract the fear-mongering demonization of Syria that seems to be the one thing our administration is now willing to stand for (besides doing the same to Iran): The Syrian people are some of the most welcoming, kind and forgiving people I have ever encountered. Some notes from today to illustrate this point follow. 

Reliving the terror, once again

Evacuated again. Throwing up, shaking, fearing, hurting, crying. Again. And again the feeling I keep having is that terror. That terror that I had twice before. The feeling that it is gone, it’s over. You summon your courage, your optimism, your humor - the things that people love you for. You decide that tomorrow Beirut will be back, that you will see daddy again (oh how I kept turning my brain away from thoughts of him when he died - it was too difficult to fathom the reality). The idea that you will never see something or someone you love again is unbelievably terrifying when you know really that it’s over, it’s gone, and it’s getting worse every day. 

Leaving Lebanon - To What Fate?

Like the majority of people, I am now following the development of events in Lebanon via the internet and the somewhat dubious coverage broadcast on CNN. But I am following them with a keener interest, one that is acute in its emotional as well as its political concern. Because until two days ago Lebanon was my home from home, as it had been for the last year. Over my time there I have lived with Palestinians in a refugee camp, with Shia Muslims and immigrant workers in a stronghold of Hezbollah and Amal support in South Beirut, among the mixed and often secular population of Hamra in West Beirut and finally among the largely Christian, often Armenian-descended community of Geitaoui, in East Beirut.