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Bourj al-Barajneh: the significance of village origin in a Palestinian refugee camp

By Rebecca Roberts

Abstract

Using information derived from interviews with Palestinians from Bourj al-Barajneh refugee camp, Beirut, this thesis examines the importance of village origin in the camp and whether any role played by village origin is the result of deliberate actions by the Palestinians or purely accidental. The pattern of settlement within the camp is established to determine whether village origin in Palestine has influenced the camp structure. Factors that may initially have influenced the camp structure are evaluated such as, the route taken by the Palestinians between their villages and Bourj al-Barajneh, and their reasons for settling in the camp and choosing where to pitch their tents. Throughout its history the camp structure has evolved, different areas being more extensively developed at different times. Reasons for the camps changing structure are also examined. The importance of village origin to the social and political life of the camp is considered and its significance compared with other factors that play a role in camp life. To put in context information collected from Bourj inhabitants, this thesis begins by discussing the Palestinian refugee problem and presenting a brief history of the camp based on inhabitants' recollections. For comparison, Rashidieh and Ein al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camps also in Lebanon were visited and a brief description of their structures and village origins of their inhabitants included. This thesis concludes that to a certain extent the camp structure has been influenced by village origin aJthough other factors have played an important role. Initially village origin had some influence socially which has now decreased. Politically village origin has never had any influence. Above all, there does not appear to have been a deliberate attempt to promote the importance of village origin in the camp

Year: 1999
OAI identifier: oai:etheses.dur.ac.uk:800
Provided by: Durham e-Theses

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