Ruba Rahme, a young Palestinian woman displaced from the Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria has left her mark on her peers in the Ain al-Hilweh camp. Ruba, smiling and cheerful, shared her story in front of media representatives, journalists, youth from Palestinian camps and NGOs staff from Saida. They all participated in a discussion session organized by the UNDP “Peace Building in Lebanon” in Saida’s municipality on the 31st of January 2017. During this session, participants shared their opinions, comments, and suggestions regarding the 14th issue of the “Peace Building in Lebanon” News Supplement. Funded by KfW, this supplement was published by the UNDP “Peace Building in Lebanon” project on December 22, 2016. The Arabic version was distributed as a supplement with the Annahar and Assafir newspapers, while the English version was distributed with The Daily Star and the French one with L’Orient-Le Jour. Both the realities and hopes of Lebanese, Syrian, and Palestinian youth in Lebanon were discussed Ruba’s story was mentioned in one of the articles written by journalist Samaa’ Abu Sharar, entitled: “Palestinian Youth in Lebanon: Who Shall Bell the Cat?”Samaa described how Ruba devoted her time and efforts to youth by seeking to lift them out of the void and disaffection. The Palestinian journalist covered some problems facing Palestinian youth in the camps and talked about stereotypes imposed by national media.
Participants in the session also exchanged different views regarding several civil peace issues mentioned in the supplement such as delinquency and problems related to historical narratives and education, in addition to the repercussions of the Syrian crisis on Lebanon. Suggestions in this session were centered on the rights of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, the need to give Palestinian youth a space to express themselves in the supplement and the concepts of international and transitional justice.
This is the first time that a discussion session around the supplement takes place outside Beirut. Many participants in previous sessions taking place in Beirut for the past 3 years, have suggested to move discussions outside Beirut and gather different feedback on the supplement. “Saida is different from any other Lebanese city. Lebanese and Palestinians living in it city are socially, culturally, historically and economically connected” concluded Talal Al Majzoub, one of the session’s participant.