Friday 3 October 2014

Aida Refugee Camp

On Wednesday, I visited the Aida Refugee Camp near Bethlehem in the West Bank. The camp was established in 1950 and became home to thousands of refugees from Jerusalem and Hebron, who were forcibly displaced by Israel during the Nakba of 1948. Today, almost 5000 people live in the cramped and overcrowded camp and the Apartheid Wall cuts through it, separating it from Jerusalem.

When you hear the words “refugee camp” you think of a temporary settlement that can host refugees for a short time, until they can return to normality. One aspect that struck me about Aida is the permanent village environment that is embedded within it. There are shops and barber shops scattered around the camp and you can sense that many of its inhabitants have become accustomed to living in these adverse conditions.

Not only are the people living in this camp imprisoned mentally by the harmful effects of growing up in a refugee camp, but they are also physically imprisoned by the Separation Wall that restricts their freedom of movement and opportunities to work inside Jerusalem.

But, as you can see by these pictures, many of the people here - especially children - still remain incredibly happy. They are thankful for what they have and have never known life to be much better. Simply through their existence, the Palestinians in Aida Refugee Camp are resisting the rapacious colonialism of Israel, which continues to bring turmoil and misery to the lives of so many ordinary people.  

No comments:

Post a Comment