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Every people in the world lives in a place. For Palestinians, the place lives in them.” DR
A Palestine story

Journey From A Palestinian Refugee Camp to America
 
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Main Theme
 
The story is a collection of events and people that have formed parts of the author’s life experience
either by chance, choice or circumstance. The book focuses on the inimitable personal experiences
of refugees. The refugees’ continued dilemma has shaped the trying Middle East peace process,
hindering thus far a final agreement between the Palestinians and Israel. 
 
The personal storyline relates how refugees in Lebanon survived following the 1948 catastrophe or
“Al Nakba”, despite many years of political repression. Their revolt twenty years later signaled the
start of a tumultuous period in Lebanon and lead to the rise of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)
as the new undisputed universal authority for the Palestinian people.
 
Palestinian camps in Lebanon were uniquely positioned to carry the beacon for the “right of return”
even after more than sixty years in Diaspora. The book explains how refugees are able to sustain
themselves and how they endure the theoretically “temporary” resident status in Lebanon.
 
Overall Book Structure
 
The book starts with a brief historical background leading into the creation of the Palestinian refugee
problem. The short background prepares the reader to navigate gently into the volatile daily life, building
the camp, economy, political consciousness, the PLO emergence, and finally the camp's destruction. 
 
The personal narrative takes the reader through the experience of growing up in the camp: How children
were able to deal with their daily tribulations, yet were able to end up growing like normal dynamic human
beings: it recounts how as a grown up teenager the author experienced love and cheated death in Israeli raids.
 
The structure then leads to the ultimate experience of many young Palestinian refugees who seek life outside
the camp in order to support those who remain behind. It details the author’s experience of visiting his long
lost homeland and meeting for the first time relatives who remained in their homes after the creation of the
stateof Israel. The book concludes with the story of the destruction of Nahr El Bared camp at the hand of the
Lebanese army in the summer of 2007. 
 
Why is it Needed?
 

Myriad of books has been written to make fervent, and at times, one-sided polemics on the Palestine and
Israel conflict. Nonetheless, little of the literature addresses the refugees’ collective life experiences in the camps.

 

The book addresses the following questions:

 

  • How were the camps created in Lebanon?

  • How they were managed?

  • How were refugees able to survive economically?

  • In the larger Middle East context, why have Palestinian refugees refused to settle in the new host countries even
    after over sixty years since the creation of the State of Israel?
  • Why is resolving the refugee issue vital to a lasting peace in the Middle East?

 

Answering the above questions will further the reader’s awareness of the human aspect to the historical
argument in the current public debate.

 

This book takes the reader on a journey into life in Nahr El Bared, where they will learn more about the
refugees and their lost memories in a place they call home. 

 

What Makes the Book Special

The book goes beyond the internecine arguments and seeks to focus on the inimitable personal experiences
of the lives of refugees. It explains how the refugees’ problem has influenced the difficult political process
blocking thus far an agreement between the Palestinians and Israel.
 
The book's subject is a unique reference for those seeking to understand how refugee camps in Lebanon
are able to survive despite the economic, social and political hurdles imposed by the Government. 
 
The author’s handling of personal subject matter deftly intertwines political and emotional perspectives.
As a result, it is an affecting read for those looking for the true story behind the Middle East peace process,
widely perceived as “irrational and convoluted”.
 
Kanj intends to answer the reader's curiosity about the Palestine refugee dynamics in the overall political
setting, conflict and resolution. The refugee factor is becoming now even more pertinent as the refugee issue
was a major cause not only for the failure of Camp David during the final months of the Clinton administration,
but also for the continued impasse in the various peace initiatives and the ongoing negotiations between the Israeli
Government and the Palestinian authority.
 
Unlike other books which discuss the Palestinian conflict, this book attempts to engage the readers on an emotional
level in order for them to fathom the vehement radical stance taken today by some against Israel, and the Western
military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan.