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Baroud in MEMO: Farewell to Yarmouk

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The refugee camp of Yarmouk was ever present in his being, pulling him in and out of an abyss of persistent fears that urged him to never return. But what was this refugee without Yarmouk, his first haven, his last earth?

How could any other spot in this unwelcoming universe ever be a ‘home’ when he had learned that only Palestine, which he had never visited, can ever be a home? When questioned, he always answered without hesitation: “I am from the village of so and so in Palestine.” Yet the Yarmouk Refugee Camp in Syria was all that remained of Palestine, as the Palestine he knew only existed in books or the tattered map in his family’s living room.

But at least he had her along to share his grief; without her he would have never embarked on his quest. His name was Khaled al-Lubani and her name was Maysam.

Their first attempt at crossing the sea was doomed to fail. The one thousand American dollars that Khaled’s father had given him in Yarmouk was almost depleted, and the money promised to him by his aunt in the UAE was still nowhere to be seen. By then, they had settled in Izmir at Turkey’s farthest western corner, and the closest in proximity to Greece.

Wanting opportunities and a chance at a real life, they knew this was just a temporary stopover in their long-term plans.

– Read more: Farewell to Yarmouk: A Palestinian refugee’s journey from Izmir to Greece – Middle East Monitor