This group were taken from two trips to NBC (and apologies for the poor quality of the ones taken from the car – these were taken on ‘that’ car journey…). I’ve had more of a chance to get an understanding of the area and the scale of the destruction recently – the camp really was flattened in the 2007 conflict, and I don’t think I’ve seen a single older building without damage. The camp is situated right on the Mediterranean, and the waterfront apparently used to contain park areas and cafes for people. Now that entire area is refuse and rubble. I guess the rebuilding of leisure areas is pretty far down on the priorities list.
One thing I’m going to try and get more photos of is the murals. The number of these is astounding, if not surprising. Every street seems to have a painting with any number of significant symbols: doves, walls, keys, keffiyeh scarves, blood, fists, guns, chains… And the quality of the painting is often amazing.
In my last trip I sat in on a meeting between UNRWA funders from different organisations and embassies touring the camp, and members of the community and local Popular Committee (the authority within the camp). It was a bit of a strange affair – rushed, and with everything going through a translator. There was a bit of an audience (funders) and performer (community members) dynamic, and very limited actual conversation between the two. Not a great empathy-building exercise (it was more an airing of grievances and a plea for vitally-needed assistance) but at least the two groups do meet.
The rest of the photos can be seen on my Flickr account, here.