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Radio Hakaya — Majdi: A Palestinian Perspective

Sunday 10 March 2019, by siawi3

Source: https://roarmag.org/2019/03/04/radio-hakaya-majdi-palestinian-perspective/

Radio Hakaya — Majdi: A Palestinian Perspective

March 4, 2019

Palestinians in Lebanon remain divided on the topic of the Syrian war: while opening their door to refugees, some also maintain their support for the Assad regime.

Author
Brush and Bow

Radio Hakaya is a community radio project started by Brush&Bow in a refugee camp in north Lebanon. Radio Hakaya’s podcasts are with individuals whose communities have been directly effected by the war in Syria and the displacement of Syrians to Lebanon.

Each podcast presents a subjective opinion that, combined with the rest of the series, provides a mosaic of differing experiences and perspectives of the reasons that people fled from Syria, of the living conditions in Lebanon and of the hopes and fears about what the future might hold.

This is the fifth podcast of an eight-part series. It is an interview with Majdi, the football coach of the Palestinian women’s team in Lebanon’s Shatila refugee camp. Born and raised in Lebanon, Majdi has never been able to return to his homeland in Palestine.

Shatila refugee camp was established by the ICRC in 1949 to accommodate the thousands of refugees who came from Palestine after the creation of Israel in 1948. Located on one square kilometer of land, and originally built for 3,000 people, the camp today struggles with overcrowding, exacerbated by an influx of Syrian refugees which brought the camp’s population to nearly 22,000.

As the war in Syria raged on, Majdi witnessed the gradual arrival of Syrian refugees from his rooftop apartment in the heart of Shatila. Among the refugees were many Palestinians, who were now being displaced for the second time after first having been forced to flee to Syria in 1948 or 1967.

Majdi explains how Palestinians living in camps across Lebanon have hosted new refugees with kindness and generosity, understanding only too well the meaning of war and exile. However, he also acknowledges the strain placed on host communities by the arrival of so many new people in a camp already overcrowded and lacking basic resources.

When asked about a Palestinian perspective on the war in Syria, Majdi points out that Palestinians have been divided on the issue. On the one hand, many Palestinians in Syria joined the Syrian uprising seeking reform and democracy. Yet at the same time many Palestinians both in Syria and abroad sided with the regime, seeing Syria as a protector and ally of the Palestinian cause.

Remembering the involvement of Palestinians in Lebanon’s civil war, Majdi argues that Palestinians should not take sides, but hope for a brighter and more peaceful future for all.

His experience represents only a fragment of the very complex puzzle of memories and positions Palestinians in Lebanon hold on the hardships of being both a hosting and hosted community. As such, this interview should be heard in relation to the contents expressed in the previous and forthcoming podcasts.

Listen to the podcast here

Please note that all names have been changed to protect the anonymity of participants who, despite living in Lebanon, still fear for their lives. The views and opinions published on these podcasts are the participants alone and do not reflect the opinions of Brush&Bow.

For more information on the podcasts and their content, please contact Brush&Bow at brushandbowinfo gmail.com.

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Brush and Brow is a collective that explores individual stories within wider social issues through art and music, with a special focus on refugee stories. The collective includes Harriet Paintin, a freelance writer and musician; Hannah Kirmes-Daly a freelance reportage illustrator; and David Suber and Roshan de Stone, Lebanon-based creative editors and project managers of Radio Hakkaya.