Three years ago this time I was in Beirut reporting from two different Palestinian refugee camps for stories for The Washington Post and Christian Science Monitor, as well as some other assignments.
The trip has been on my mind this week because it’s the anniversary of a life-changing experience for me, but also because my colleague, who covers the Middle East for NPR and a number of other outlets, went back to Lebanon this week for the first time since our trip and I’m eager to hear how it went. It’s a much more dangerous place than it was when we were there in 2010 because of the fighting in Syria.
Regardless of how one may feel about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (and I’ll keep my thoughts private here), I came back very sure of one thing: the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon are unspeakably deplorable and inhumane. People wouldn’t let their dogs live in such conditions. Most of us wouldn’t last a week in them. And yet, the human spirit thrives there, despite every effort made to squash it.
One of my stories was about a bagpipe and drum corps for young people at Bourj al-Shamali, a refugee camp on the Mediterranean city of Tyre. The bagpipe band had played throughout much of Europe and then would come back home to the camp after seeing how much of the rest of the world lived. The tours were as painful as they were enlightening for those who went.
Part of the goal of the band was to show cultures who may have heard nothing but horrible things about Palestinians that they were human too and not to be scared of them. Can you imagine? I’ve traveled places where there was strong anti-American sentiment, but never have I felt that the people I met didn’t even see me as human too. Click here to read the story.
Today’s $10 goes to Children of Peace, a U.K.-based organization that works toward conflict resolution in the Middle East, and specifically with Israeli and Palestinian children.
June 2: Children of Peace (through its U.S. arm, American Fund For Charities)
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