I am Syrian-Palestinian. My parents fled from Tiberias in Palestine in 1947. I was born in Al-Yarmouk camp in Syria in 1968. My son was kidnapped for 10 days during the crisis in Syria and I had to pay a large amount of money to have him released. I owned a supermarket in the camp and it was robbed. They threatened to kidnap my children again so I had to send them to Lebanon. I could not send them to Jordan because they had forbidden Syrian Palestinians to enter. Four of us suffer from a heart disease: my wife, my son, my daughter and I.
My family left through the official border and came to Bourj al-Barajneh camp. As for me, I followed them later, on the 18th of December 2012. I was smuggled because I was not allowed to leave the country. I came through the mountains by myself and there was a snowstorm. I looked death in the eye; I had to sleep in caves, bear the cold and the beasts. I had a jacket that I burnt to make fires. I survived until I arrived to Lebanon and came to Bourj al-Barajneh, thank God. I looked for my family for about 2 to 3 weeks before someone guided me to them. I had lost my phone. When I first arrived, I slept on a carton board in front of the al-Forqan mosque for 18 days. It was in December, it was very cold. I now suffer from prostate cancer and the UNRWA would not treat me because I did not enter Lebanon legally. I cannot move freely, I cannot leave the camp because I am illegal. I cannot renew the residencies for the 7 of us for 200 US dollars each. Where will I get 1400 US dollars? Sometimes, we get to eat and sometimes, we sleep with empty stomachs. The UNRWA gives you 1 US dollar per capita a day. You have to pay for rent, feed the kids, buy clothes and take them to doctors!! I beg for bread, which costs 1 US dollar. I have a daughter who came from Syria with her son.
Even the sea does not want us; it leaves us to drown. I have been humiliated here for a year and a half and I cannot leave the camp. For what?!
I used to own a whole building that was 5 stories high. I regret 2 things I did not bring here with me: my grandfather’s house key he had entrusted me with and the gas bomb that broke my shoulder in Majdal Chams. But I did bring my father’s Keffiyeh. It had been kept hidden for 15 years. I also have a drawing that my daughter Filastine drew 5 years ago. I always have it in my wallet and carry it everywhere. She made this drawing after she entered Palestinian territory with a march commemorating the Nakba. She was the youngest person to ever take part in it. She wrote: Syria and Palestine and the walk of one nation.