26 April 2008

23 April 2008

15 April 2008

10 April 2008

nahr al-bared

I have recently had the opportunity to visit Nahr al-Bared, the Palestinian refugee camp in northern Lebanon that was destroyed by the Lebanese army six months ago. Since living in Beirut, I am recognizing the plight of the Palestinian people with sharp clarity for the first time in my life. The severe injustices and outright violence that is heaped upon them by the American sanctioned and funded Israeli occupation of their homeland is nothing short of staggering. The refugees living in Lebanon are treated like second-class citizens with very few rights. The assault on Nahr al-Bared began with the Lebanese army fighting a small group of militants who were not Palestinians, but who were located inside the camp. Very few people, Palestinians included, will argue that this group didn't need to be ousted. But the complete destruction of Nahr al-Bared's thousands of buildings can only be explained by a deep national hatred for the Palestinians themselves. And this is supported further by the way that the army will hardly allow access to any of the destroyed old camp but is keeping its residents on the fringe, delaying any rebuilding efforts and not allowing any media or photography. When I visited I was able to get my camera in and sneak a few shots but they don't begin to show the scale of the violence. I have never seen anything like it. The day that I was there a new area of the old camp(sector B) was opened up and people were being allowed back in to survey their old neighborhood which at times was plain unrecognizable. There were the terrible cliche-like scenes as if from a movie where an old woman comes crying from the rubble clutching some broken frames and old photographs which were all she could salvage from her family home. Another scene where a little boy is picking a ragged teddy bear from the rubble, next an old man looking sort of angry and sad shouts urgently at me pointing to his eyes and then all around him and saying in Arabic- "you see? you see?!" This is the problem though- no one is allowed to see- access to the camp is very limited and you are not supposed to be taking photos and the media is prohibited alltogether. Another woman just overwhelmed by the situation caught my eye and with this look of pure despair on her face and arms outstretched shouted "haraam! haraam!" this means poor in Arabic but in a pitying sense like if someone is sick you say haraam -like poor them. I nodded in agreement and said haraam which I think has been my truest experience of the word. To read more about the situations in Palestine and Lebanon electronic intifada is an excellent resource. Below is my attempt at a painting, I am struggling with some more images from the camp that are haunting my brain. I'll post these if and when they get out.

nahr al-bared

nahr al-bared

08 April 2008

04 April 2008

03 April 2008

02 April 2008