“I am only afraid of the other, because we do not meet”

 

“It was a challenge to describe in a thousand word article the situation of Palestinian youth in camps” said Samaa Abou Sharar, independent journalist, president of Majed Abou Sharar Media Foundation and participant in the 14th issue of the “Peace Building in Lebanon” News Supplement.

The discussion session organized by the UNDP “Peace Building in Lebanon” project with the funds of KfW, took place on the afternoon of Tuesday 24 January 2016 at Beirut Digital District. The talk was an opportunity for the supplement writers to tell their stories with the power of speech, sound and interaction.

The Supplement was published on January 2017, with Annahar, Assafir, L’Orient-Le Jour, the Daily Star newspapers in Arabic, French and English  

In her article, Samaa talked about two young Palestinians residing in refugee camps in Lebanon, Ahmad and Rouba, who defied their circumstances and initiated positive change in their community.

Ahmad who took part of the discussion session, said that “what I hope is to live outside the camp, not outside Lebanon. I wish it was possible and easy to do so.” He added details from his personal experience, clarifying how difficult it has become to get out of his comfort zone and face the ‘outside’ world.

Around 60 people from around Lebanon attended the event and contributed to making the conversation richer and more diverse. Coming from a different background, Lebanese, Syrian and Palestinian youth, experts, writers, artists, academics, students and researchers, blended together on an occasion that most call it “unusual.”

The topics were both intriguing and controversial. While some of the participants agreed on a topic or point of view, others were faced with the exact opposite. However, the free flow and openness of the conversation kept it going far from misconceptions and hate-speech.

The participants discussed local peace building initiatives, the situation of displaced Syrians, respecting the “Other”, the role of media, challenges in education, conflict resolution and post-war reconciliations, among other topics.

Zeina Abla, writer of the article entitled “Embracing Opportunities for a multicultural Education”, highlighted the positive effects of mixed classrooms among Lebanese, Syrians and Palestinians. She explained “the more a person is exposed to new cultures, the more it will make him and his community richer.”

As Badri Bou Diab, Fighters For Peace member said at the end of the discussion “I am only afraid of the other, because we do not meet” focusing on the role of such discussions and mediums in peace building and conflict prevention.