The Keys to Birweh

We went to visit Shatila camp where our friend Lula was teaching English. We knew the camp was important. We knew that it was a center of the struggle for many reasons. We knew that this was the place where hundreds of women, children and men were massacred over a few days in September 1982. We knew who the murderers were. We knew who trained them. We knew who supplied the weapons. We knew who promised to provide security for the camp when the PLO evacuated. We knew that the camp was leveled in 1985 to punish the people for allowing the men to come back. We knew all this because we’d read these facts in books, we’d seen the pictures, and we’d listened to eye-witnesses. And now we were going to see the place for ourselves.

We got to the English class early, and Lula introduced us to the students, who were all women.

We said “Hello. Nice to meet you. How are you?”

And they said, “Hello. Welcome to Shatila. I am fine. How are you?”

We asked them, “What is your name? Where are you from?”

They laughed at our apparent ignorance and told us, “Palestine, where else?” (Read More)