lørdag 6. november 2010

"How can I live with people who killed my brother?"

The entrance of Balata
Balata refugee camp on a sunny day early in November. We meet with our contact person Mohammad, a young man who has lived in the camp all his life. The refugee camp was established in 1948 and 25,000 people are living on 1,5 km2. It really is overcrowded and most of the streets are less than 1 meter wide. It is only the "main" street that is of a "normal" width. I feel a tinge of claustrophobia when walking through the camp. Mohammad leads the way and tells us that people here come from towns like Jaffa, Haifa, Akko - and from villages, like himself. "People hope to return one day - and maybe I can also go home one day and get my rights as a human being back" he says.
Narrow streets of Balata

Mohammed says that a lot changed inside him in 2006 when Israeli soldiers shot and killed his 15 year old brother while he was drinking tea with a friend. He no longer thinks he can live with the Israelis in peace. "If I go back and live in peace, it will only be one the surface. How can I live with people who killed my brother? Palestine is for Palestinians - Israelis have to leave and choose another place to live. So the right answer is - no way - I cannot live with the Israelis" he says passionately.

Murel outside Balata

We ask his personal opinion of the future of Palestine. He is convinced that nothing will change, the changes are only on paper, and hence gives us the impression that he does not believe in the future. Mohammed is the head of Balatah cultural centre. This centre has a lot of activities for children; ia. English and French classes, internet courses, football and basketball teams. "Working here", he says, "keeps me busy. I want to develop this centre for the children - I just want them to have a better life".

Boys of Balata

 "Tell the truth - tell what you see" he answers when we want to know what the internationals can do best to support him and the Balata residents.

Salesman in Balata

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