A Normal Life. Chatila Palestinian refugee camp, Beirut, Lebanon

How is it possible to lead a normal life in an absolutely abnormal situation?

In the Palestinian refugee camp of Shatila, on the outskirts of Beirut, Lebanon, in September 1982, between 2,000 and 3,000 Palestinian civilians, women, the elderly, children – the exact figure has never been established – were barbarously killed by the Christian fascist militiamen of the Lebanese Phalange, supported by the Israeli army, which occupied part of the country at that time. This terrible episode indelibly marked the lives of its inhabitants.

Founded in 1948 by Palestinians expelled from their lands by the Israeli army, the Chatila camp is one of the most densely populated areas on the entire planet. Tens of thousands of people live in a space of about one square kilometre. Narrow streets like tunnels, buildings that have only grown upwards, undrinkable water, an impossibility to work, for its inhabitants a life with seemingly no prospects.

But thanks to the work of the Palestinian NGO Beit Atfal Assumoud, the children and adolescents of Chatila attend school, music and dance courses, study their history and traditions. A ‘normal’ life is only possible thanks to the passionate action of the Assomoud workers and the many volunteers who, from all over the world, support themSee the photo project .

See my photo project “The Memory of Palestine. Portraits and stories of survivors of the Nakba tragedy in the Palestinian refugee camps in Beirut, Lebanon”: https://www.robertonistri.com/palestinian-portrait/ 

See the Beit Atfal Assumoud NGO website : https://www.socialcare.org/portal/home/1/