Monday, December 17, 2007

Palestinian Refugee

Have you ever wonder where would you be if your home land happens to be destroyed by armies of other nations?

Most Malaysian never think of this problem, which is too far a problem for us. Not many of us know that refugees live in refugee camps, not any old-folks home or orphan shelter where unloved persons are sent there to be looked after. Refugee camps are those camps we see in movies like Blood Diamond, made of tents, not bricks, and have very limited supply of daily necessity or hygene standard.

Most of us never want to understand the history behind all these refugees. It all happened around 1947. Israel announced independence on 14th May 1948 but was attacked by its neighbouring Arabic countries on the next day. Of course, they retaliated back and with the help of US and other big power, they won the war and created a lot of Palestinian refugees, most of them Arabs. Another incident was the 1967 six-days war. It, too, created quite a number of refugees.

I felt sorry for how the Jews were treated back then, when the Arabs were the one who kept rejecting any partition plan suggested by British or United Nation to create a Jewish state and an Arabic state to separate these two races to keep them from killing each other. Jews were always the one being oppressed worldwide (during Roman empire, Ottoman empire, British ruling, Holocaust in Europe and other countries and etc) and killed, and hence migrating here and there before they decided to come back to their holy land in Israel.

However, now we can see that US and UN has recognised the sovreignty of Israel but not Palestine and their economy condition is a lot better than their counterpart: The former's GDP is $170b and Palestine's is at $5.55b according to Wikipedia. Jews condition have been improved but 7.2 milliom Palestinian refugees are still living in camps today.

Those Palestinian refugees who were present during the conflicts back then were very young. They might not even know why they fled their home 60 years ago. They might only remember the day when they wake up and find the adults busy packing some belongings and clutched their hand to join a larger crowd heading to don't-know-where. They might remember the long walk under the hot sun, with bombs destrying their home and they never have the heart to turn back and look at the mess - their home are burnt down yet they couldn't do anything to save them. They might thought they'll leave for a while then they'll be able to come back again. 60 years later, they are still waiting.

Christians will say : support the Israelis! Muslim will say : support the Palestinians! However, as a Christian myself, I think I just wanted to support those being oppressed.

Pictures will tell you the impossible condition for the camps to continue to support the swelling number of refugees. Statistics will tell you the money we need to pump in to support the growing number of refugees - their medical condition, their education, water supply and etc. But with your heart, it will tell you the pain these refugees went through.

Some of them still hold the keys to their house. All they want is just to go back to that piece of land they call home and have a life. They might not know the key no longer serves a purpose because the building might not be there anymore. Yet, it's the sense of belonging that keep them holding on to their Right of Return.

We are living in our comfort zone for too long and we have found a way to keep ourselves away from the undesirable scene in a refugee camp. We are reluctant to understand how a refugee feels as a person belongs to nowhere. They don't have the past as most of them are the descendants of the direct victims; they don't have the future either as the Roadmap to peace talk are still progressing at a very slow pace. They only have the present.

And we have the present, too. It all started with understanding and from there, we can go a long way to relieve a soul.

Are you willing to help? Click here to read more.

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