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The children of Ein el Helweh

from Raida Hatoum -

As I am writing this, the news says that people who live in all districts of south beirut like Borj El Brajneh including the Palestinian refugee camp there, Hay El Sellom, Sheyah, etc. are being evacuated from their homes by UNICEF cars heading to north Lebanon after Israel stared bombing houses full of people warning the people to flee or it would bomb them.. while the Israeli Arabs of Haifa say answering the call of Nasralla for them to leave Haifa so they won't be killed in Hezbollah missiles, that they have learnt their lesson since 1948 and would not leave and however left with no shelters and no where to go they would stay in Haifa, also the news talks that now Israeli soldiers are besieging hundreds of people some of them are members of Lebanese army in the small town of Marjeioun southern Lebanon using them as human shields against Hezbollah who has besiged the Israelis...

Fleeing Ain El Helweh
Fleeing Ain El Helweh

all this not to mention the news from USA administration and the UN and the smart bombs that about to be carried by tow USA jets from Qatar to Israel, all this indicate to en escalation... i don't know how i will, or any one else would be able, find ways to maintain and cultivate my own sense of stability and sanity.. during time of war... what a madness...

From Ein El Helweh

Yesterday Israel bombed tow houses and a school inside the Palestinian refugee camp Ein El Helweh where more than 45,000 Palestinian refugee live and hundreds of displaced are staying after fleeing their homes in Tyre region. Ein El Helweh camp is in the city of Sidon and the bombing killing tow and injuring tens most of them are children, Israel claims that it bombed a house of Hezbollah fighter there. One of the men who were killed is from Tyre and he fled his home to seek refugee inside UNRWA school in the camp with others. Today, hundreds of Lebanese and Palestinians flee Ein El Helweh camp….. (see attached photos) and Najdeh has to close one of its centers there where it was hosting 80 children for recreational activities…

At one of UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, schools in Ein El Helweh camp in Saida (Sidon), and as a part of the emergency program that Association Najdeh in coordination with other NGOs is running to assist and aid the internal displaced, Najdeh’s staff and volunteers who usually work with the children are organizing recreational activities with the displaced children. Those Lebanese and Palestinian children were forced by the Israeli bombards to flee their homes in Tyre region to Sidon city and took refugee inside Ein El Helweh, a Palestinian refugee camp that since 58 years is the "temporarily" home of 60,000 Palestinian refugees who were forced by Israel in 1948 to flee their homes and villages in northern Palestine (Israel now) to south Lebanon.

One of those activities is simply distributing papers and drawing colored pencils to the children so they can draw whatever comes across their minds and then to talk about what they have drawn and why.

Malak, 11 year olds girl: I fled my home in Tyre. I draw the sun because the world is sad and dark now. I remembered my grandmother telling us (the grand children) how when she was young she was forced with her family to flee their home in their village northern Palestine by the Israelis. I remembered her because I was forced with my family too to flee our home by the Israelis.

Hawra’a, 9 year olds girl: I want my home, I need to be in my home, but the Israelis bombed it, we ran away with many people, this is why I draw my home leaning, it was bombed.

Isra’a, 9 year olds girl: I draw a house and bridge both destroyed because the Israelis bombed them. And I draw my family and myself on the road because we became displaced with no home to stay at.

Ahmed, 9 year olds boy: I draw a burning home and the warplane that bombed it. Also, I draw the lemon trees by our home in fire after the bombing. And I draw an eye because I saw a man who lost one of his eyes.

Khalid, 11 year olds boy: I draw children running away and I draw Sharon because he used to kill children and he showed Olmert how to wage a war.

Ismael, 11 year olds by: I draw an Israeli small war plane, throwing leaflets and I draw myself stepping on those leaflets because they tell us to evacuate our homes or they will kill us.

Dina, 9 year olds girl: I draw a child who doesn’t want the war, because I want peace and I want to go back to my home.

Sara, 11 year olds girl: I draw a gas station burning after being bombed because the Israelis bombed the gas station beside our home, and I draw my brother because he broke his leg as he fell from the stairs when the bombes hit the gas station and the fuel flamed and our home was affected badly. And I draw my father, he is still in our village, and I draw my mother, uncle, myself, my cousins in the car running away while holding a white sheet outside the car’s window so the Israelis won’t bomb us in the car like they did to other people. I think the Israelis hate us. I hope this war would stop and that we would live in a good situation not like the war.

Hanady, 11 year olds girl: I draw my siblings and myself dead. Because this is how I saw children in Qana dead. I feel I know all those children I saw on the television, I don’t like it when people die and I am alive, either we all die or we all live.

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