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  • "In Palestine I had everything I needed around me. I had my own land, I had trees and crops, everything was cheap and easy to find, there was food in abundance, enough even for those who didn't work. Here in Lebanon life is difficult, everything costs money, the electricity is expensive and it never works, even water costs money. If you don't have money here in Lebanon, you can just as well go bury yourself. The camp is like a prison, you can't do anything here.

    Everything has changed. Even those who still live in Palestine, live in a prison now.

    I was 27 years old when the state of Israel was declared in 1948. The Israelis bombed our village and shot at our houses. I fled with my family to Gaza. The Egyptian soldiers held us as prisoners, they wanted us to work for them. I escaped and came to Jordan but without my family. I never saw them again, they all died. In 1950 I came to Lebanon, here I married and had children. We lived in Tel al-Zaater camp in Beirut. The camp was surrounded by Christian neighbourhoods, and during the civil war it was totally destroyed. I lost my wife and my son.

    We fled to the south and came to Rashedieh. I married a second time, had more children, carried on with my life. During the war against Israel in 1982 I lost two more sons. One of them died in the hospital. His wife was pregnant, and they had gone to the hospital in Tyre, she was going to deliver the baby. Israel bombed the hospital, the whole family died; my son, his wife, their son and a still unborn baby.

    The death of my three sons is my life's biggest grief. It breaks my heart, I still cry over it.

    But I have other children, and I have grandchildren and great-grandchildren. My family is big, and it makes me happy to be around them. I can see that they are happy. My life has been full of war and death, but things have changed now. Maybe my grandchildren and grand grandchildren will have a life without all this suffering, maybe they will have a good life. Inshallah."

    Told by Hamed, 92 years.

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