Refugee 101

Palestinians in Lebanon Show Refugees from Syria the Ropes

by Sarah E. Parkinson | published April 3, 2014

Crossing the border at Masna‘, al-‘Abboudiyya or Mashari‘ al-Qa‘a, Syrian refugees entering Lebanon face an immediate choice: Stay in the tented settlements in the north and the Bekaa Valley or make their way to coastal cities such as Beirut and Sidon. Their experiences will vary greatly depending on the choice they make. The tented settlements are exposed to the elements, lack privacy and have virtually no job opportunities, but are accessible to aid providers. By contrast, refugees from Syria often have family connections in the coastal cities. Though Beirut and Sidon are expensive and crowded, there are more varied accommodations, schooling options and limited chances for employment.

Scholch, Palestinians Over the Green Line

by Penny Johnson
published in MER125

Alexander Schölch, ed., Palestinians Over the Green Line (London: Ithaca Press, 1983).

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George Bush in Khartoum

by Gayle Smith
published in MER135

Khartoum. The hand-painted sign on Nile Avenue here best captured the attitude of urban Sudanese toward the visit of Vice President George Bush to their country in early March, just four weeks before the popular overthrow of President Ja‘far Numairi. “Vice-President and Mrs. Bush,” read the sign, “are mostly welcome.” The millions of Sudanese starving in the countryside would have been much less hospitable.

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The Rerouted Trafficking in Eritrean Refugees

by Dan Connell
published in MER268

When Sheikh Muhammad ‘Ali Hasan ‘Awad learned that nine kidnapped “Africans” -- eight Eritreans and one Ethiopian -- were being beaten, raped and starved in a compound in Sheikh Zuwayd, a Sinai village near the Israeli border, he wasted little time. Firing AK-47s in the air, the sheikh and his Bedouin posse burst in to free the victims and threaten their three torturers with death if they did not immediately tell all. The captors’ accounts -- and the raid itself -- were recorded in high-definition video with an iPad.

Breaking Point

The Crisis of Syrian Refugees in Lebanon

by Omar S. Dahi | published September 25, 2013

One of the many plot lines lost in the summertime discussions of a US strike on Syria is the pace of refugee movement out of the country. As it stands, the refugee crisis is overwhelming and likely to stay that way. Another external military intervention would further accelerate the mass flight and exacerbate what is already a humanitarian emergency.

The Palestinian Diaspora of the Gulf

by Eric Rouleau
published in MER132

Editor’s Note: A longer version of this article appeared as a three-part series in Le Monde, June 15-17, 1982. It appears here by permission of the author. Since the article was written, the economic cutbacks in the Gulf have reduced jobs available to the Palestinians and also affected the Palestinian bourgeoisie. Remittances to Palestinian institutions (including the PLO) are now less than they were. The crisis in the PLO since the Lebanon war has also deprived the Palestinian community of its main interlocutor and defender with the Gulf regimes. In spite of these changes, the Palestinians remain an important and influential community in the Gulf and in the Palestinian diaspora, as Eric Rouleau makes clear.

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The Syrian Crisis in Jordan

by Matthew Hall | published June 24, 2013

An hour and a quarter north of Amman the rural highway rolls through the remote desert hamlet of Zaatari without slowing. The town’s lone intersection is too sleepy to need a stop sign.

The Greek-Turkish Population Exchange

Internationally Administered Ethnic Cleansing

by Sarah Shields
published in MER267

The photographs are compelling: Greek Orthodox Christians are gathered in small groups on the Aegean coast of what is now Turkey, wearing too much clothing for the hot day, whatever possessions they could carry sitting at their feet, their faces drawn with worry as they stare at the water, awaiting the ships that would take them to Greece. They were being expelled from Anatolia, where their ancestors had lived and died and worked and prayed for so many centuries that most claimed no other homeland. These Christians followed a patriarch who had resided in Constantinople/Istanbul since the year 330 and whose massive cathedral, Hagia Sophia, had already become a major tourism site.

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Gaza: Israel's Soweto

by Joan Mandell
published in MER136

Gaza is Israel’s Soweto. Each has its own lexicon but similar reference points. The “township” becomes here the refugee camp. Military occupation, like apartheid, means segregation in residence, employment, politics, education and law. In Gaza, the pass card is known as an identity card. Here “removal” becomes “deportation.” In other respects, the vocabulary is identical: labor reserve, arrest, detention, imprisonment, demolition.

Refugees, Ransoms and Revolt

by Dan Connell
published in MER266

Filmon, a 28-year-old computer engineer, fled Eritrea in March 2012 to escape political repression. Several weeks later, he was kidnapped from Sudan’s Shagara refugee camp, taken with a truckload of others to a Bedouin outpost in the Sinai, not far from Egypt’s border with Israel, and ordered to call relatives to raise $3,500 for his release. “The beatings started the first day to make us pay faster,” he told me. [1]