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Middle East Monica Dispatch

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Home is where the Heart-ache is…
February 2, 2000


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At the Ibdaa Cultural Center
At the Ibdaa Cultural Center
 

Meet Manar, 13

I first met her in the Ibdaa office. She explained a painting on the wall. It shows the tents the refugees lived in before building shelters in the camp. A dove carries a key in its beak: the key of the original houses that the refugees used to live in.
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With her friends, the two Mohammeds
With her friends, the two Mohammeds
 
 

"My parents teach me to love my camp. It might not be beautiful, but the people are beautiful. Everybody here is like a brother, sister, parents."
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Remains of a house in Manar's village
Remains of a house in Manar's village
In the middle of a green valley
In the middle of a green valley
 
 

21 October 1948: This village is destroyed as a result of direct military assault. The oral history says that soldiers came and said the villagers had four hours to leave their houses. The soldiers then placed bombs inside the houses, and blew them up.

In 1944, there were 620 Arabs living here, in a little more than a hundred houses. The villagers planted olive trees, vegetables, fruit trees, and grape vines on a flat area nearby.
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With a shoe found at Ras Abu 'Ammar
With a shoe found at Ras Abu 'Ammar
 

Harus is the Hebrew word for "demolished." Israeli forces during Operation ha-Har meant to expand their access to Jerusalem, and in doing so, demolished Ras Abu 'Ammar and other villages. "These stones, I think, are full of blood," says Manar, as she shows me a shoe left over from the bombings.
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Ziad shows the younger generation their previous home.Amongst the ruins of her destroyed village
Ziad shows the younger generation their previous home.Amongst the ruins of her destroyed village

Ras Abu 'Ammar used to sit on a hill surrounded on three sides by the deep Wadi al-Sarar. Forest surrounds the village.

"I'm not like girls in America. They can play, they can do anything. But not me." There are now approximately 4.5 million Palestinian refugees, spread here and throughout the world.

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for larger view
Piles of stones are the remains of houses
Piles of stones are the remains of houses
 
 
 
 

The site around Ras Abu 'Ammar has been turned into a public park.
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for larger view
Manar reflects on the fate of her village
Manar reflects on the fate of her village
 
 

"I imagine seeing the village as laughing and crying. First, laughing, because it is the new generation that is coming to visit it. But crying, too, because it has been alone for 52 years." Manar was relatively calm while she explored the ruins of her village. Only later did her tears start to fall.

The story must be told.
The truth must be spoken.
Do not forget your ancestors, young ones.
Do not forget where you come from.
If you do not know where you come from,
you cannot know where you are going


Where are the Palestinians?

In Palestine, before the war of 1948, these cities were exclusively made up of Palestinians: Acre (Akko), Beersheba, Baysan, Lydda, Majdal, Nazareth, al-Ramla. Palestinians were the vast majority in Safad. They were also in great numbers in Tiberias, Haifa, West Jerusalem, and the ancient seaport of Jaffa.

The Palestinians in the rural areas were no less in number than in the aforementioned cities, but their villages are not marked on any map. They will not be forgotten. Ras Abu 'Ammar, Manar's original village, lies 14 km from Jerusalem.

Expert Fact

Expert


Do you know where Palestinian refugees live outside of Palestine today?

Provided by: Geoffrey Aronson, Foundation for Middle East Peace(FMEP)


Monica

p.s. - Please e-mail me at ...monicaflores@bigfoot.com
 

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Kavitha - Kavi Gets MAD With Art

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