Editor’s note: in this guest post, The Electronic Intifada contributor Moe Ali Nayel translates videos found on YouTube featuring interviews with residents of Nahr al-Bared refugee camp in northern Lebanon. The camp was destroyed in the summer of 2007 after three months of fighting between the Lebanese army and Fatah al-Islam, a militant group that had infiltrated the camp, and has been under tight control by the Lebanese army and security forces ever since.
The military’s control of the camp means that the camp, which used to be a major market in northern Lebanon, has struggled economically. Most of the camp has yet to be rebuilt, further displacing residents, who are refugees who have been displaced in some cases several times during their lives. (The camp of approximately 30,000 residents was completely depopulated during the three months of fighting in 2007.)
Tensions have only increased after the Lebanese army shot dead a 16-year-old bystander, Ahmad Qassim, during clashes that erupted after a motorcyclist was stopped at a checkpoint in the camp on 15 June. Camp residents have gone on general strike and there have been ongoing protests since the youth’s death. Meanwhile, residents are demonized in the Lebanese media, prompting some to put out their own narrative of what conditions are like in the coastal refugee camp