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  • "The bomb entered the shelter and killed 94 people, most of them women and children. Everybody died. It was in 1982 during the war against Israel. They used phosphorus bombs, and the smell of the chemical mixed with the smell of burned flesh. Some children in the shelter survived the bomb, but as soon as they came out in the fresh air, they died because of the chemical. It was unbearable. We closed the shelter and built a memorial. It's called Al Holi memorial, it's five minutes from here in the eastern end of the camp.

    Five of my children were among the dead. Only one daughter and my wife survived. I write poems about it. I don't know why, but it's the only way for me to express myself about it. Let me read one aloud. It's in Arabic, but it means something like this: ”I am walking, but unconscious. I can't see, I can't hear. A voice reach me, I recognize it as my cousin's. I can tell from the way he's screaming that something terrible happened. I ask him about the small ones, he tells me they were in the shelter, that everything is destroyed. I don't understand what's happening. I see that my daughter is standing next to me, she's speaking to me: Daddy, I'm cold, I want to feel warm. Her dress is burned, her hands are black from the smoke, she's crying. My heart is breaking, what can I do? I hold her close to me, I can't do anything but hold her close to me.”

    We decided to be strong. By now we know our enemy, it will happen again and again. The horrors will never stop, but life has to continue. We had six more children, five girls and one boy. Two of my daughters work as nurses at the hospital of the American University in Beirut. The third girl is studying to become a lab technician, the fourth girl is studying social science, and the fifth is in grade nine. My son emigrated to Holland.

    We didn't give up, we never stopped hoping for a better future."

    Told by Abu Fadi.
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