Dheisheh Refugee Camp
After spending the morning further preparing props for still shoots scheduled to begin Saturday, I traveled with Spafford therapist Manal to the Dheisheh Refugee Camp just south of Bethlehem in the West Bank. If you get a moment, check out the Wikipedia entry on the camp. Its history dates back to the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.
I was welcomed by the camp's director and introduced to a media liaison named Aysar. Having been born and raised in Dheisheh, Aysar gave an insider's tour of the camp. Many places through the 1.5 square kilometer area still show signs of heavy fighting during the Second Intifada. To this day, the Israeli Defense Force regularly conducts raids on the camp. I'm told that I missed one on Wednesday.
Art and artists are no strangers to the camp. Above you can see a memorial painted by my guide Aylar and a well-known Banksy piece recreated by another local resident.
I'm heading back for a few days next week for art therapy sessions being organized on my behalf. I'll be interviewing the resident children on the daily struggles they face and their perceptions of the continued strife. Sadly, I think it's only for your first trip that you get the VIP treatment and a ride in a UN vehicle. I inadvertently took a self portrait of myself in transit.