It was a Saturday, one freezing Saturday, rained half of the day, I was in a car with 3 people, followed by another car and a small truck. We drove into a rustic area, filled with mud, and it looked so squishy and pale. A place that screams out poverty, as sadness walks into our hearts. We parked our cars and started walking towards a blue door, a United Nations school, as we walked into the school, I saw simple drawings on the walls but the drawings felt lifeless. I tried my best to keep my thoughts inside my head and be patient to see and learn more about this place. We were welcomed by a very sweet lady that had the hijab on and worked for the PCRF, she warmly welcomed us and seated us, and another 2 men walked into the meeting room as they all started to tell us about the camp and the unjust and unfair living situation. With every word that came out of their lips, they managed to yet keep a positive energy around them, words of hope and wisdom. They sarcastically spoke about the basic human rights that they are unfortunate to, they are so hopeless yet have accepted their conditions and living standards and continue to “silently” demand the respect of simply being human. They spoke about the discrimination towards them and what they encounter in their daily lives as refugees living in refugee camps “of-course not by choice” and are not entitled to any nationality and have no rights to own a passport “also not by choice”. As they were speaking, I drifted in terrified wonder, I suddenly realized that I can no longer feel my nose for it felt frozen, and so I started gazing with my eyes wide open at the people who came with me if any of them seemed to be experiencing the same cold. I then noticed the smoke coming out of their mouth while they spoke. It was freezing in there.
I then started to hear voices of children, running around, and playing, sounds of laughter, and answers to questions, I started to think about what could the reasons be to have a United Nations school function in the cold with no heat. I started to question myself about who would be responsible for this school? Is it just an architecture with no supervision? Are schools supposed to be mandatory warm when it is cold outside? Or did I just happen to misunderstand the full concept of life and human rights?
It was last weekend, when I joined a beautiful group of people who took part of the project To Rebuild Gaza that aimed and succeeded in collecting and fundraising blankets, winter clothing’s and gas heaters for the Gaza Refugee Camp in Jordan.
It was my first time to go and visit the Gaza Refugee Camp or what is also known as “the Jarash Refugee Camp“. At first I thought most people were from Gaza, “a city in Palestine” and so are called the Gaza Refugee Camp, but to my surprise I learned that those are refugees of the occupied territories in Palestine “Unfortunately what is known today as Israel” who were forced like many other families to leave their homes and cities, and so those Palestinians ended up refugees in Gaza during the 1948 nightmare of the Israeli occupation. In the 1967 conflict those families had to leave Gaza to Jarash, and this, is how the Gaza refugee camp was formed in Jordan.
“What about Human rights?”
While the group I was with started organizing the items and calling in families to give them what they needed for winter, I decided to stay and play with the kids. The kids were incredible, so much energy, and laughter, they were all in slippers and with no jackets, and did not seem to feel cold or complain at all. They seemed to be so happy to meet new people running around from one person to another. There were already few foreign volunteers there playing with the kids. I had my camera with me, and the kids started to play with it and pose for me to photograph them.
Those kids are adorable, not only adorable, they are beautiful, they want to have fun, they want to color, and draw, they want to communicate, they want to challenge one another, they want to be part of life. They are Human. Why is it that things are not the same for them? Why is it that they have no rights to feel belonging? Why is it okay for the people who were responsible for them being refuges to never ask about them?
I understand that the universal deceleration to Human Rights was created by the United Nations back in 1948 exactly when Palestine went through “Al Nakba” where over 700 thousand Palestinians were forced to leave their homes during the Israeli war of independence. I understand that the United Nations was established in October of 1945 during the time the British were helping thousands of Jewish immigrants enter Palestine from the World War II without taking into consideration the results of all the refugee Palestinians. I understand that the United Nations was established with a goal to prevent another conflict to happen like the World War II while they were the ones behind the resolution 181 that ended in allowing Palestine that was fully inhabitant by Palestinians “Muslim, Christian and Jewish” to become a Jewish state and the state of Israel. I understand that the above is the result of 2,097,338 registered Palestinian refugees in 10 refugee camps in Jordan, 449,957 registered Palestinian refugees in 12 refugee camps in Lebanon, 526,744 registered Palestinian refugees in 11 refugee camps in Syria, 762,288 registered Palestinian refugees in 19 refugee camps in the West Bank, and 1,258,559 registered Palestinian refugees in 8 refugee camps in Gaza that were all setup and are all running by the United Nations. What I don’t understand is how the United Nations have failed to find a solution for all the refugees they have set up, and how the Palestinians until today do not have the basic rights to return to their homes, and how the United Nations is one of the factors for the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian war that defeats its own purpose.
What about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights created by the United Nations in 1948 exactly when all those refugee camps were also setup? What about all those refugees who are not entitled to any of the following:
- All human beings are free and equal.
- No discrimination.
- Right to life.
- No slavery allowed.
- No torture.
- Everyone around the world has the right to recognition as a person before the law.
- Everyone is protected by the law.
- Everyone is entitled of fair treatment by fair courts.
- No unfair detainment.
- The right to trial to everyone.
- Innocent until proven guilty.
- The right to privacy.
- Freedom to move and travel.
- Freedom to immigrate or move to another country.
- The right to nationality.
- The right to marry and have a family.
- The right to own property.
- Freedom of thought.
- Freedom of speech, opinion and expression..
- Freedom to meet and assemble.
- The right to Democracy.
- The right to social security.
- The right to work.
- The right to play.
- The right to basic needs: Bed, clothing, food, housing, medical care, new born care..
- The right for education.
- Culture and copyrights.
- To live in a free world with fairness.
- Everyone is entitled to duties towards the laws and must be responsible for when they exercise the contrary.
- No one can take these rights and freedom from anyone.
For original link and full articles of the above Human Rights Click Here. And I repeat…..What about the people in refugee camps? What about the kids who were born in refugee camps? or are they not part humankind?
Believe it or not, but speaking from what I know of the Palestinians living in refugee camps, they are not entitled to 80% of the above human rights declared by the United Nations and yet all the refugee camps are set up by the United Nations…
So is there an exit plan to your business plan? Do you have a solution? Or maybe a solution to the problem you created? Or are those who create the rules are really permitted to break them?
For more information on To Rebuild Gaza who are fundraising towards building a pediatric cancer department in Gaza with the PCRF “The Palestinian Children Relief Fund” and also are creating a great awareness campaign towards the last attack on Gaza that killed over 2000 Palestinians from Gaza, visit their website or facebook page. To read more facts and information about the Gaza Refugee Camp click on this link SamarTravels.
You pose very important questions, wish we had answers for them. Loved the post and the pictures!
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