Syrian Man Hangs Himself in a Refugee Camp in Lebanon: Escaping Death to Death

This is a translation of an article published for the first time in Arabic on January on Syria Now website. I was deeply moved and shattered by it although I read and learnt about many other similar stories before. This shows the epic tragedy of the Syrian suffering because of a criminal ASSad protected by international community in a world where the human is very much cheaper than immoral and rude interests. The original Arabic article can be found here:

قصة لاجئ سوري شنق نفسه في مخيم لبناني للشتات الفلسطيني

When you enter Ain al-Hilweh camp for Palestinian refugees in Sidon city southern Lebanon, you will see a sign written on it “Welcome to the Palestinian Diaspora Camp.” In this camp of humiliation and injustice about 80 thousand Palestinians are living inhuman conditions. Recently they were joined by other thousands of Syrian and Palestinian refugees fleeing death and shelling in Syria.

Rima is a 28 years old mother of 4 girls, the youngest is 8.5 months old. She used to live with her husband Mohammed Malsi (35 years old) and her daughters in Yalda town in Damascus countryside. Mohammed used to work in a textile factory in Yarmouk camp for Palestinian refugees south the Syrian capital Damascus. Rima and her daughters were displaced many times inside Syria to escape rockets and missiles until they ended up in Ain al-Hilweh camp two months ago after the situation deteriorated.

Mohammed Malsi followed them before one month. He came to Lebanon tired and burdened with the scenes of death and destruction in his country. He started to search for a job. His wife said that he used to wake up early in the morning to search for a job, any job, but her husband couldn’t find any. She was laying on a mattress on the floor in a small dull room unfit for living. She pays about $165 monthly for rent. In her lap, her daughter who is suffering from an infection in her chest, is sleeping. Rima said: “He always heard the same answers, there are many Syrians, there is no jobs, why did you get out from your country, go home.” She said that he used to tell her: “To be a Syrian is an accusation, the Lebanese do not like us.”

Mohammed reached a state of despair. His face features started to change. His wife said that he couldn’t take any more humiliation, he stopped talking, he smoked too much and he was distraught. “He looked at me and at the girls with empty eyes, he wasn’t the same person.”

When the time for paying the rent came, he sold the computer he brought with him from Syria, and it was everything he owned. After a while he learned that his mother in Damascus is between life and death, and that a TNT barrel fell on his house and destroyed it. “I have lost all of my life’s savings,” he told his life.

After a few days, he got out from the camp and when he went back, he entered from the second gate, but the permit states that he should enter from the first gate. One soldier from the Lebanese army dealt with him in an unappropriated way. He couldn’t handle the humiliation, as Rima said. At night, Mohammed went to the upper store where he used to spend his nights alone, and hanged himself.

“He was late upstairs, my mother and Tagreed went up to check on him and they saw him…” Tagreed is their oldest daughter, she is 13 years old. She is also laying on the mattress. Silent. She is shaking her legs and tears are filling her eyes.

Tagreed rarely gets out from her room. “Schools here only take Palestinians, Syrians cannot register. The UNRWA  (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) is not giving Syrians any aid.”

After the news spread, media came to Mohammed’s and Rima’s house, but the government, associations, institutions and groups that follows the situation of refugees didn’t move. Rima said that her daughter Tagreed didn’t want to be photographed, she said that her father died, he hanged himself and that’s it.

The neighbors and youths in the camp took care of the burial. “They didn’t make us feel that we were strangers, the Palestinians stood beside us like a family,” Rima said.

The drawing of Mohammed and Rima's 8 years old daughter

The drawing of Mohammed and Rima’s 8 years old daughter

At the time Mohammed was buried in Ain al-Hilweh camp, his daughter Nagham sitting beside her mother and younger sister, smiling and drawing on a piece of paper Syria’s flag, a house and a sun.

About Hummingbird

Feels strange when I talk about myself. It is just me.
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