Fara'a: 100 years of occupation - Franck Saurel

Article published on Sept. 8, 2007
community published
Article published on Sept. 8, 2007
Fara'a and its refugee camp count 7000 inhabitants. Fara'a is basically a village located between Jenin and Nablus. The refugee camp was created in 1948. Most people come from Jaffa but also Haifa and Led, they planted tents and have waited since that day to come back home. The story is repeating between refugees of here there.
Grands-parents and parents suffer from exile, their children continue to dream of this come back and this land who was their. This dream is transmitted since three generations, 1948-2007, almost 60 years of exile and 100 years of occupation. Because before the arrival of Zionists and the creation of Israel, the territory was occupied by the British Empire...

The scenery of the camp gives to read its own way of life. Children gather together even in workshops. They don't occupy the space but they squeeze up side by side even if it bothers their moves. The first reflex is to regroup, "we advance together". I observed this in Jenin and now in Fara'a. The camp is constituted of small houses, all in construction, built side by side without space between each house. Roads are maintained to its minimum. Yes, Fara'a refugees are poor... but there is still an idea which appears behind the wall of the first report. An idea of a transcient and temporary space. In the hope to come back to their land, they build houses and their life but they never finish. Those houses are temporary, streets, shops cars, all this life is temporary. This is a true choice, a will to live in this place on this way. All is a recall of comeback, they are not home here and everything is set up to feel themselves not home.

The landscape... look and listen to stories that people tell me. Fara'a is down the hill, surrounded of many hills. They are covered by stones, grass and vegetable growings. Green, gold and white. The sun beats down and its light floods this part of the world. Mornings are deliciously soft, the wind is fresh and I write down the roof, I testify the passage from night to day, stars meet pink and blue and the new light draws outlines of the landscape. The village is still sleeping, I raise my eyes and notice light points on the hills. The sleepy village is surrounded of these lights from lamps street. There are settlements who also wakes up, they are at the summit, dominate and surround the village and the camp. Everywhere I put my look, I fall into this presence, no way out. If I want to be lost in thought, enjoy a moment of freedom for myself, thoughts and dreams, they are here, defying my look and dominating the horizon... Ahmad confided me an old saying with a smile full of irony: "Yesterday is better than today." Tomorrow, the future, the far, the horizon, many concepts which feed my hopes and helps me to go further more, step by step, in my life... here, tomorrow is far.

Franck Saurel

Translated from French by: Hanan ben Rhouma