The Tale of Our Return
By Ismail Zaaroura

The tale began with my grandfather who, upon being evicted from Palestine, found refuge in Lebanon in 1948. My grandfather did not want to stay there. He lived in a tent believing that he would return to Palestine in a day or two. That is why he locked his door well, carried the house’s keys and left all his belongings in Palestine hoping to return soon. At the beginning, he was helped by the Red Cross. Then the UNRWA took over the responsibility of aiding the refugees until  they return to Palestine. So when UNRWA decided to build cement houses for Palestinians, my grandfather, like all Palestinians, objected because they wanted to return to Palestine and not settle in Lebanon.

My father was born in the camp but my grandfather told him that he was Palestinian and that there were in Al-Saffouriyeh vast fields and big houses awaiting his return. He also told him that the Israelis have usurped our land and that the Arab countries betrayed us. When the revolution broke out, my father joined it wanting to return to Palestine. There he would not wait for a United Nations Organization to provide him with educational  and health services…The revolution was over and my father died in the Camp Wars. The
Lebanese war was over but a new war flared against us: UNRWA started to cut down its educational and health services gradually. Moreover, the Lebanese state has forbidden the Palestinians who have come to this country around half a century ago from working, while it did not forbid the foreigners who arrived to the country two or three years ago from working in any profession they choose.

The Lebanese government states that the siege imposed on us aims at encouraging us to return to Palestine, as if we are still here willingly. We have never surrendered our right to return; my grandfather called for its implementation and so did my father. The Lebanese are showing off now refusing our living on their land, but who told them that we want to stay here. I neither want to stay here nor want the Lebanese identity. I want to return to Palestine. However, to continue what my father started and realize my dream of return, I want to feel that I am a human for me to be able to think of a way to returning to Palestine. I want my civil rights in Lebanon to ask the world for my right to return to Palestine.