Visiting second class people
Yesterday we were for the first time in a Palestinian refugee camp in Beirut, which with its 20-30,000 inhabitants is actually a separate part of the city.
The situation for the Palestinians is very different from that of Syrian refugees in Lebanon. Their prospects in life are very poor there: the first Palestinian refugees came to Lebanon more than 70 years ago. There are now around 450,000 third or fourth generation Palestinians living in Lebanon, but they are still considered foreigners. Lebanon denies them citizenship, the right to vote and excludes them from more than 70% of the professions. Most Palestinians have to live in refugee camps in Lebanon because they are only allowed to buy land in exceptional cases.
Since this second-rate treatment has been normal in Lebanon for decades, these “ghettos” in Beirut are not tent camps, but rather hideous neighborhoods with dilapidated buildings that are being built up due to the lack of space.
We also looked after the many orphans in this refugee camp called “Shatila” and our caravan of clowns gave them unforgettable experiences.