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A Day in Almoallem Refugee Camp

Syrian refugee children at Almoallem-Refugee-Camp
Syrian refugee children in the Ketermaya. © World Bank Photo Collection/Flickr

An armed attack on our camp shakes our security and frightens us, but what can we do but return to our tents…

One day, my little sister and I were studying for the high school exams, so we were all sitting very quietly. Suddenly we heard the sound of shooting near our camp; not only close, but actually in the camp. We started hearing the voices of children screaming and crying, and they all scrambled for their tents or perhaps entered a neighbour’s tent because of the fear and panic. We subconsciously put our heads to the ground and we started wondering what was going on. What are these sounds?

Minutes later, we began to hear the voices of men shouting. I ran to the window to see, and behold, a strange-looking person whom I did not know before, with his weapon in hand, was attacking the camp, hurling threats, saying that he wanted to get justice from someone in the camp who had taken money from him and had not return it to him.

He kept asking about him, but the person had not been in the camp for a number of days. Some men approached him to understand what he wanted. He started throwing stones at them while I was standing and looking out the window, and if a stone hit the window, I ran away quickly.

And that was just another of the hardest days of my life. We fled our country because of the killings and beatings. We came here to escape violence, but we are having to put up with such attacks. We asked my mother if we could leave the place, but my grandmother said, “Your grandmother cannot walk and her eyes do not permit her to see; she is blind and the situation does not allow any car to enter to take us away. We are always trying to think of a solution”.

We feel abandoned.

Rarely does anyone intervene and find solutions to our problems and soon everything returns back to what it was. This attack on our camp, in which there are a hundred families, has shaken our security and created tension, while frightening the children. Nevertheless, we can do nothing but go back to our tent and accept what happened as par of the course.

  • Diaries from Refugee Camps is a series that gives readers a glimpse inside the challenging life of refugees. Are you a refugee and would like to share your story inside this series? Please write to us

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Off with the head! Getting Rid of Phoney Justice

Welcome to the September issue of The Gordian.

Executing a human being and punishments like solitary confinement are as coldblooded and premeditated as murder and torture can get. They are not in self-defence, because the danger has passed. It is not justice, because a person can always outweigh their deeds, and they can change, given the chance. The theme of this series is still justice and in this issue, we are looking at it from different angles, including those phoney ones imposed on the guilty with little or no respect for their welfare and human right.

This issue offers the usual mix of politics, interviews and culture by UN-aligneders across the world, including Ruby Goldenberg, Carla Pietrobattista, Katharina Wüstnienhaus, Victoria Davila, Partho Chatterjee and Maya Bearyman, Cristina Mihailescu, Omar Alansari-Kreger, Atika Harba and Sonia Roopnarain.

The editors are Adrian Liberto and Ariana Yekrangi.

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