mar elias walls
11 images Created 30 May 2011
Mar Elias, is the smallest and some say nicest Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon. It was created in 1952 for Palestinian refugees from the Galilee and northern Palestine, on land belonging to the Greek Orthodox convent. It still serves the same purpose. It suffers the same health, unemployment, low education and lack of civil rights as other camps do. Its size and small population of around 1200 registered refugees makes it seem like a better place to live than other camps whose population number in the 10s of thousands.The alleys are quiet, practically empty. The smell of food wafts into the streets, music coming out of open windows. Very little traffic noise. The odd motorcycle might pass at slow speed because the alleys are short tight and curvy.They all are too narrow for cars, some are not much more that shoulder width. Mar Elias is an island of poverty in the middle of affluent neighborhoods. You tend to forget the misery, behind the walls. The walls are the reminder that it is a refugee camp. Continuously updated with posters of cultural and political events related to Palestine. Announcements of the deaths of leaders who served different parties for decades, or members who died in the struggle. Walking through the camp you don't forget that there is a Palestinian struggle what ever you think of it, which ever side you are on. Over 60 years have passed since the first refugees settled here.The walls tell you that its not simply a poor neighborhood, it is a refugee camp with a deep sense of belonging to towns, villages and a land that many haven't seen and none can go back to.