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[OPIRG-EVENTS] Friday, Oct 12, 7pm: The Camps are our Only Country: 53 years of Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon
Cepal, The Canadian-Palestinian Educational Exchange, proudly presents:
"The Camps Are Our Only Country"
53 years of Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon
CEPAL Summer 2001 Volunteer Shannon Dow relates her first hand account of
life in the Palestinian refugee camps.
Featuring a special screening of Mai Masri's 'Children of Shatila'
Friday, October 12 at 7pm
The Ottawa Public Library (Auditorium) at 120 Metcalfe (at Laurier)
$6.00 donation requested at door.
For More Information Visit our Web site www.cepal.ca Or E-mail us:
SUMMER VOLUNTEERS RETURN FROM PALESTINIAN REFUGEE CAMPS IN LEBANON
Five local youths from Quebec and Ontario - Elizabeth Anctil, Hala Khalaf,
Alex Conliffe, Jordan Topp and Shannon Dow - have returned from spending two
months working and living in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, where
they provided English and French language instruction to children and
adults, as part of CEPAL's Short-term Volunteer Program.
McGill Student Shannon Dow will present on her experiences in the refugees
camps of Lebanon on Friday, October 12, at 7pm at the Ottawa Public Library
Auditorium (120 Metcalfe St) in a presentation entitled: "The Camps are Our
Only Country": 53 years of Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon.
The presentation will be preceded by a special screening of Mai Masri's
'Children of Shatila'
Mai Masri has directed and produced several award-winning documentaries
which were broadcast on more than 100 television stations around the world
including BBC, Channel Four, PBS, France 2, SBS, YLE, MBC and NHK. The
majority of Masri's films such as Children of Fire (1990) and Wild flowers:
Women of South Lebanon (1986) focus on Palestinian women and children living
under occupation and in refugee camps. Mai Masri's new documentary Frontiers
of Dreams and Fears, was screened in Ottawa by Cepal in September 2001.
CEPAL - the Canadian-Palestinian Educational Exchange - is a not-for-profit
organization founded in 1996 by young Canadians who share a deep commitment
to the respect of human dignity and human rights of all people. CEPAL's
objective is to assist the Palestinian refugees in the pursuit of their
basic human rights by increasing their access to education and by raising
public awareness in Canada about their struggle. In Canada, CEPAL works in
cooperation with a wide range of organizations such as the Centre for
Developing Areas Studies at McGill University. CEPAL is supported by
community organizations and individuals who donate their time and money.
Why Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon? The situation that confronts
Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon is worsening daily. As much of the world
focuses on the difficulties facing Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza,
an even more dire situation of the Palestinian Diaspora in Lebanon is
largely forgotten. Poverty, health crises and illiteracy are all on the
rise among Palestinians in Lebanon. Over 60 percent of Palestinian families
in Lebanon are living below the UN-established poverty-line, and they form a
greater percentage of UN-defined "hardship cases" than any other Palestinian
community (including Gaza). A recent survey of war-widows in the Bourj
el-Barajneh camp, which contains a very high number of female-headed
households, revealed that nearly 80 percent of women are illiterate. Nearly
every school is operating on double shifts, and 40 percent of the
Palestinian refugee population in Lebanon is now considered illiterate. In
spite of this reality, most donor agencies believe that the Palestinian
issue in Lebanon is being "solved" and have been channeling their assistance
to the West Bank and Gaza. As the Palestinian population in Lebanon sinks
further into political oblivion, they are leaderless and voiceless, stranded
in refugee camps that have no running water or electricity.
Why English-Language Training? CEPAL's English-language programs will not
solve the precarious predicament of Palestinians in Lebanon. However,
English-language skills can open up options in a largely optionless future.
Noted author and anthropologist Rosemary Sayigh suggests 'sending volunteers
to work with Palestinian NGOs in Lebanon e.g. in children's summer camps or
teaching English' is a key role North American NGOs should be playing.
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