Lebanon: Yassin, 67, 'Life... which life do you mean?'

Everyone knows this life!
© Dina Debbas

“I have just come back from my visit to the physiotherapist; a small local organisation is paying for my treatment here. I still have problems with my hip. I was wounded in an Israeli bombardment from the sea. It was in 1982, but I can remember every detail of that day: the dead, the wounded, the heads on the ground. We didn’t think it would be possible, that they would attack us from the sea. We knew bombs would be dropped, but we didn’t know when or from where.

Then the attack started, with shells exploding. I can’t help remembering the mutilated bodies of my friends, the blood, the smell – it’s still all there, in my head. I got pieces of shrapnel in my knee, my ankle, my hip. Today I don’t work; I survive thanks to support because I am disabled.

Life in this camp is like smouldering tar.

Life? Which life do you mean? Everyone knows this life! Young people are in the street, without work. Life is very expensive. We borrow from each other. I left Palestine when I was 11. In Palestine, olives are the source of all that is good. I have a farm there; I still have the deeds for my land and my fields. I was rich… We would like to return to Palestine, even if we have to go barefoot.”