Photo: Agata Grzybowska

Beirut, Lebanon, 2022

I am a Palestinian born in Lebanon. I spent my entire childhood and adult life in refugee camps in Lebanon. It is very difficult, basically impossible, for Palestinians to leave Lebanon. In 2015, I decided to follow the illegal route. I crossed the border with the help of smugglers. I reached Germany, the country of my dreams. A place where I expected the rights of every human being to be respected. After three months, I returned to Beirut, leaving behind a trail of my humiliation, with a swelling loathing of myself and my nationality. Along the way, I met other Palestinians who informed me that I am not a real Palestinian because I was born in Lebanon. They said that I had no right to be classified a refugee. That I had no right to dream of a better world or to live with a feeling of security.

The year is 2022 and Lebanon’s economy is in an appalling state. Corruption runs rampant. Lebanese would not think of going to Europe were it not for the economic crisis, unemployment, chronic poverty.