I am a Palestinian born in Lebanon. I spent my entire childhood and adult life in refugee camps in Lebanon. It is very difficult, basically impossible, for Palestinians to leave Lebanon. In 2015, I decided to follow the illegal route. I crossed the border with the help of smugglers. I reached Germany, the country of my dreams. A place where I expected the rights of every human being to be respected. After three months, I returned to Beirut, leaving behind a trail of my humiliation, with a swelling loathing of myself and my nationality. Along the way, I met other Palestinians who informed me that I am not a real Palestinian because I was born in Lebanon. They said that I had no right to be classified a refugee. That I had no right to dream of a better world or to live with a feeling of security.
The year is 2022 and Lebanon’s economy is in an appalling state. Corruption runs rampant. Lebanese would not think of going to Europe were it not for the economic crisis, unemployment, chronic poverty.
Go now and ask Lebanon’s Palestinians if they want to stay here. They will tell you: no. Even in the face of the war in Ukraine, even at the risk of further aggression from Russia, people will leave.
It is 2022. Western nations are striving to improve their economy, technology is developing, 5G is widely available, missions to the Moon are underway. And yet we, in Lebanon, live without electricity in our homes.
We have reached a point of suffocation as a society. Neither you and your family nor anyone else can continue living here…
Poland opened its borders to Ukrainian refugees and welcomed them with open arms. And yet a Syrian simultaneously escaping the same Russian bombs, same as a Ukrainian…
Syrian refugees sold everything they owned in order to escape from hell. Gold, houses, land, cars—anything to get themselves and their families out. And yet many borders are closed to us. As if to be Arab is to be an inferior human.
I no longer want to live in fear of tomorrow, with the anxiety that today there will be no electricity or gasoline; no medicine in the pharmacy; that the road will be closed because of clashes, because shooting broke out in the street. I do not want to live in a country in which I will be unable to take my wife or daughter to the hospital when something goes wrong, because I won’t be able to pay for the treatment, or the hospital won’t admit us because of a shortage of supplies.