It’s time for our second episode of our new monthly video series People for Palestine profiling authors, filmmakers, journalists, activists, academics and others dedicated to freedom for Palestinians from all over the world!
This month, we introduce you to two bright young volunteers at Tomorrow’s Youth Organization Center in Nablus, Mohamed Abulkibash and Jamila Hanani. As English language and literature students, Mohamed and Jamila lend their translation skills to TYO’s classrooms and are active in encouraging Palestinian youth to be involved in their communities as a path to empowerment.
We caught up with them back in March when they arrived in Washington, D.C. to take part in the Clinton Global Initiatives University Conference. Check out the full video to hear them talk about how Palestinian youth can better their career prospects and their favorite English language authors.
Children from the Gaza Refugee Camp, Jerash Jordan / Munir Atalla
Munir Atalla, +972 - Last month I worked at the Gaza Refugee Camp in Jerash, Jordan. The camp is home to about 24,000 Palestinian refugees who left the Gaza Strip in 1968. Most of the families living there were also displaced in 1948, meaning that they have lost their homes twice in one lifetime. The majority live on less than $2 a day. About a quarter live on less than one.
The camp starts unexpectedly. After the stone ruins of Jerash, one turns left into a valley. The streets become narrower and the pedestrians more numerous. Like a punch in the gut, the air begins to smell of hot sewage and rotting fruit. Sweaty and dusty from walking through the camp in the scorching summer, the one word that wouldn’t leave my mind was “hellish.” The market on the main road is very crowded. Amongst the frying falafel and bread baking, an old man was selling homemade perfumes. “Come here young man, I’ll make a personalized scent that will make you irresistible to young women,” he grinned and advertised.
If anything can be said about the inhabitants of the many refugee camps in Jordan, it is that they have shown remarkable resilience in the face of unspeakable injustice. The people at Gaza Camp are warm and welcoming, albeit suspicious. Numbers haunt the life of every refugee. There are passport numbers, national identification numbers, and social security numbers that are denied to them. There are the statistics that their lives have been reduced to: 24,000 refugees, 2,000 makeshift shelters, 50% unemployment, 0.75 square kilometers.
We’ve hit record breaking temperatures here in DC these past few weeks, and looking at these fun photos of kids cooling off in Nablus from our monthly exhibit are reminding us of all the great things about summer!
Summers in Palestine mean school’s out and children are looking for fun and excitement. Whether they play soccer, take a dip in a fountain, or nap in the shade, kids find clever ways to pass the time.