Monday, July 24, 2006

A STORY OF ONE VILLAGE

Conversations With Refugees In Baysour, Mount Lebanon
Malak Khaled

Baysour is a small village in Mount Lebanon. Its area is around 6 square-km, just 20 km away from Beirut. The village is not considered to be touristic, but this July, unusually, it is over loaded with 2000 visitors. Yet, this number is not of tourists, it is of the refugees coming from the South and the southern suburb of Beirut.
The village has only 1800 houses for its 9000 dwellers, and it has opened all its doors to host the refugees that increase daily. The secondary school of the village, the center of the popular cultural and sportive committee of Baysour, and another newly opened center have all opened to absorb the growing number of refugees. The municipality itself is a center to register the refugees and distribute them into hosting homes. A very touching decision was made since the first day of the Israeli attack on Lebanon: No one in the village is allowed to rent their property to the refugees. All the refugees shall be hosted, and none will pay a penny. The head of the municipality, Amin Mlaayeb tells us, “We are not blackmailing our people; we are supporting their sommoud (fortitude) in the way we can.”


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