Women photographers exhibition 2016
The Forgotten People
Lebanon is the country with the highest per-capita concentration of refugees worldwide. Next to over a million Syrians, an estimated 450.000 stateless Palestinians live in Lebanon. They are descendants of the refugees who were seeking shelter from the 1948 Arab-Israeli war and Syrian-Palestinians who have been forced again into exile. They constitute one of the world’s most long-established refugee populations and remain in a form of limbo since almost 70 years.
Unable to gain Lebanese citizenship, they meet numerous discriminations and are denied basic rights. As unrecognized citizens, Palestinians face restrictions to legal employment; they have no right to housing, and limited access to public social services, health care or education. Their children are born into this; with some being not even officially registered, their statelessness means a life without prospects or hope. For most Palestinians in Lebanon, living a precarious, marginalized existence has been the only life they have ever known. The newcomers from Syria add extra pressure on the communities, and face the same fate. All of them dream of Palestine as their promised land, but realistically they just hope for improving life at the only homes they know, in Lebanon or back in Syria.
The world’s focus is currently on the refugee crisis in Europe and thus largely has forgotten about the dilemma of the Palestinians. The Forgotten People seeks not only to explore and to share some of the personal and agonizing stories in order to raise awareness about the plight of a stateless people but also pictures them as individuals in their dignity, beauty and strength.