|Artwork by Tarek Chemaly|
I personally know the man who used to go to Yasser Arafat and take cash from him in Samsonite bags to fund a local well-known newspaper.
Now that the deal of the century has been announced, to sympathize with the Palestinians is a problem. Not to sympathize with them is another.
Well, to begin with they made no qualms about wanting Lebanon as an alternative country, and the reason the whole black September happened in Jordan which lead the PLO to be evacuated from there was to stop them from getting Jordan as a supposed alterative country (and here I am divulging two info I got from incredibly well placed person in Jordan: Yasser Arafat was evacuated by wearing a woman's dress and plans for a printed currency and re-allocation of houses in Jordan to Palestinians were already set).
Which brings us back to the expression: "The road to Jerusalem goes through Jounieh" as uttered by Arafat. To begin with, with Jounieh being a northern suburb of Beirut, this is a geographical impossibility - since Jerusalem is to the South. But this implied that they wanted Lebanon - all of it - in lieu of Palestine.
Now here's the flip of the equation: Palestinians have been put in camps in Lebanon ever since the nakba of 1948. Have you visited such a camp? I have. I am - by all means and standards a very thin individual. Yet even I had to walk through certain passages sideways to minmize my body size so small these passages have been. There are areas there which never ever saw the sun and are incredibly humid and damp. Palestinians are not allowed by law to perform many many jobs in Lebanon - the rationale being that they would "settle" if they do. Remember they are here on temporary basis supposedly - all this without remembering that due to shady Lebanese politics, only Christian Palestinians were given Lebanese idendities and were nationalized in a bid to increase the Christian fragment of the population.
As I said there is no way to minimize a very complex issue. And anyone who can tell you where things are going or that there is a gigantic conspiracy theory is in my book, a liar. If history has taught us anything, it's that we have no clue where things are going.
Syrian refugees, may I remind you, are also supposed to be here on temporary basis, just like the Palestinians. All while Lebanese are drowning in their own financial/economic/political problems.
I am not trying to simplify a complex issue, but again - sympathizing with the Palestinians is a problem, not sympathing is another.