Opinion

Photo essay: Continually displaced, Palestinian refugees spend Nakba day in Iraqi IDP camp

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Baharka IDP camp, Iraq, holds over 1,000 displaced Iraqi families. However in one small section, 18 Palestinian refugee families currently reside. Their displacement began 67 years ago with the Nakba, and has continued to 2015 – all the families have fled from ISIS within the last year. For some of the older Palestinian refugees this is their fifth refugee camp in their lifetime, for the younger generation it is their first. For all however, the plight of being a Palestinian refugee doesn’t appear to have an end in sight.

Baharka camp is Hudda Awad's fifth refugee camp in her lifetime. After contracting cancer and now struggling to pay for the treatment - she believes it will be her last. The misfortune that has plighted her life since her parents fled the Nakba doesn't surprise her anymore. "We, the Palestinians, are professional refugees," Awad told Mondoweiss. (Photo: Abed Al Qaisi)
Baharka camp is Hudda Awad’s fifth refugee camp in her lifetime. After contracting cancer and now struggling to pay for the treatment – she believes it will be her last. The misfortune that has plighted her life since her parents fled the Nakba doesn’t surprise her anymore. “We, the Palestinians, are professional refugees,” Awad told Mondoweiss. (Photo: Abed Al Qaisi)
Awad's son crouches down beside a plot of land he has been cultivating in the camp. The Awad family has been growing Molkhiyah, popular in Palestinian dishes, but uncommon in Iraq. (Photo: Abed Al Qaisi)
Awad’s son crouches down beside a plot of land he has been cultivating in the camp. The Awad family has been growing Molkhiyah, popular in Palestinian dishes, but uncommon in Iraq. (Photo: Abed Al Qaisi)
The Awad family stands outside, Haya the newest member is only six months old. Haya was born at Baharka. (Photo: Abed Al Qaisi)
The Awad family stands outside, Haya the newest member is only six months old. Haya was born at Baharka. (Photo: Abed Al Qaisi)
A small Palestine scarf adorns the plastic wall of one of the tents at Baharka Camp. Talk of Palestine is frequent, and on Nakba day many of the Palestinian refugees at Baharka will reflect back on the similarities between their current hardship and the hardship of their parents and grandparents when they first fled violence in 1948. (Photo: Abed Al Qaisi)
A small Palestine scarf adorns the plastic wall of one of the tents at Baharka Camp. Talk of Palestine is frequent, and on Nakba day many of the Palestinian refugees at Baharka will reflect back on the similarities between their current hardship and the hardship of their parents and grandparents when they first fled violence in 1948. (Photo: Abed Al Qaisi)
Ibrahim al-Fahmawry is the only individual from the 18 Palestinian refugee families at Baharka who was alive when the Nakba happened. He was just seven years old. al-Fahmawry speaks with purpose and passion about Palestine, "My country, my country," he sings when Mondoweiss asks him about Palestine. (Photo: Abed Al Qaisi)
Ibrahim al-Fahmawry is the only individual from the 18 Palestinian refugee families at Baharka who was alive when the Nakba happened. He was just seven years old. al-Fahmawry speaks with purpose and passion about Palestine, “My country, my country,” he sings when Mondoweiss asks him about Palestine. (Photo: Abed Al Qaisi)
Khadra Ibrahim holds up her refugee documents. Ibrahim was born in Khan al-Sheikh refugee camp in Syria several years after the Nakba. Baharka is her fourth refugee camp. "All the Palestinian here are tired," she says. (Photo: Abed Al Qaisi)
Khadra Ibrahim holds up her refugee documents. Ibrahim was born in Khan al-Sheikh refugee camp in Syria several years after the Nakba. Baharka is her fourth refugee camp. “All the Palestinian here are tired,” she says. (Photo: Abed Al Qaisi)
Ahmad Adiyab says being a Palestinian refugee in Iraq has been a curse. The Palestinian families at Bahaka are all one big family he says - everyone looks out for each other. But Adiyab says he doesn't want to have children - "I don't want them to have the same life I have had." (Photo: Abed Al Qaisi)
Ahmad Adiyab says being a Palestinian refugee in Iraq has been a curse. The Palestinian families at Bahaka are all one big family he says – everyone looks out for each other. But Adiyab says he doesn’t want to have children – “I don’t want them to have the same life I have had.” (Photo: Abed Al Qaisi)
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Thank you, Abed. Your pictures are powerful. Israel is responsible, but Israel doesn’t take any responsibility for any Palestinian refugees who have the right to return to their own land. And it seems that many do not care to hold them accountable. I pray that changes, soon. “Palestinian refugees present one of the largest and most protracted cases of displacement in the world. Most Palestinian refugees were displaced in 1947–1949, when the state of Israel… Read more »

From “Against Our Better Judgment” by Alison Weir:
“the total direct relief offered…by the Israeli government to date consists of 500 cases of oranges “(ironic when you consider they were stolen from Palestinians anyway).