“. . . Whenever a child goes silent in Al Yarmouk Camp. . .” (Maya Abu Al-Hayyat)

Maya Abu Al-Hayyat
Maya Abu Al-Hayyat

From MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
PLO: PALESTINIAN REFUGEES IN SYRIA FACE IMMINENT THREAT FROM FIGHTING
June 25, 2015
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Some 150,000 Palestinian refugees in four camps on the outskirts of Damascus face severe threats due to ongoing fighting in the Syrian conflict, a PLO official said Thursday. . . .
____The majority of Palestinians in those camps are originally from Yarmouk refugee camp, which has been on the front-line of the Syrian conflict and severely affected by fighting.
(More. . .)

From ELECTRONIC INTIFADA
US CONGRESS MEMBERS DEMAND END TO ISRAEL’S “CRUEL” ABUSES OF PALESTINIAN CHILDREN
Ali Abunimah
June 24, 2015
In rare defiance of the stifling pro-Israel consensus in the US capital, members of Congress are calling on the Obama administration to push Israel to end its systematic abuses of Palestinian children.
____Congresswoman Betty McCollum released a letter on Tuesday co-signed by 18 other members of the House of Representatives urging Secretary of State John Kerry to “prioritize the human rights of Palestinian children living in the Occupied West Bank in the bilateral relationship with the Government of Israel.”
(More. . .)

From KINDERUSA
THE INHUMANITY OF YARMOUK
Dalell Mohmed
April 15, 2015
“Yarmouk is a place which has descended even further into unimaginable levels of inhumanity.”– United Nations Relief Works Agency spokesperson Chris Gunness
____Formed in 1957 for Palestinians who fled across the border after the creation of Israel in 1948, Yarmouk quickly became home to the largest Palestinian refugee community in Syria. Located 8 kilometers from the center of Damascus, it is 2.1 square kilometers in size.
(More. . .)

Palestinian residents of Yarmouk waiting for food
Palestinian residents of Yarmouk waiting for food

From INTERNATIONAL MIDDLE EAST MEDIA CENTER (IMEMC)
UNRWA LAUNCHES CAMPAIGN TO FUND GAZA CHILDREN EDUCATION
June 25, 2015
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) launched a global Ramadan campaign to raise funds to support the education of thousands of Palestinian refugee children in UNRWA schools in the besieged Gaza Strip.
(More. . .)

From MONDOWEISS
WHAT I LEARNED CROSSING THE QALANDIA CHECKPOINT
Léa Georgeson Caparros
June 23, 2015
The turnstile jams.
____It rattles uselessly as I try to move forward again. I start getting nervous. I manage to manoeuvre out of the gate and back into the holding cage. My companions are still being held at the previous turnstile from which I’m separated by a metal detector. I dare not go back for fear of breaking some unspoken rule.
____There is no indication anywhere of what to do other than your lack of alternatives. You are simply herded through cages and turnstiles like cattle. . . .
(More. . .)

“CHILDREN,” BY MAYA ABU AL-HAYYAT
Whenever I see an image of a child’s hands
sticking out of the rubble of a collapsed building
I check the hands of my three children
I count the fingers of their hands, the toes on their feet,
I check the numbers of teeth in their mouths, every
last hair in each finely-marked wee eyebrow.

Whenever a child goes silent in Al Yarmouk Camp
I turn up the volume on the TV, the songs on the radio,
I pinch my three children
to make them cry and squirm with life.

Whenever my sore heart gets hungry at Qalandia checkpoint
I comfort-eat, I
emotionally over-eat, craving excessive salt
as if I could then somehow say: enough, block out
the salt spark of the tears everyone around me is crying.
―Translated by Liz Lochhead

Maya Abu Al-Hayyat is a prize-winning author of novels, poetry, and short stories. Born in Lebanon, she has a degree in Civil Engineering from Al-Najah University in Nablus, the largest Palestinian university, and lives in Ramallah.
From A BIRD IS NOT A STONE: AN ANTHOLOGY OF CONTEMPORARY PALESTINIAN POETRY (Glasgow: Freight Books, 2014) –available From Amazon.com.
Maya Abu Al-Hayyat reading one of her poems
About Qalandia checkpoint

Children at play in Gaza
Children at play in Gaza

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