Forty years ago, in September 1982, took place the massacres of Sabra and Shatila

For 3 days, so-called “Christian” militias, supported by the Israeli army, massacred the civilian population of the camp1. The exact number of casualties is unknown. Some estimate the number of victims between 1500 et 3500.

Then, from 1985 to 1988, the so called “war of the camps” took place.

Forty years after the massacres, the refugees of the Shatila camp still live a life confined in the shadow.

With this background of misfortune, even if the young Palestinians feel “dispossessed of everything even of their dreams”, life grows, stronger than death, intermittenly, simply, calmly, and stubbornly.

In the shadows of Shatila,

…children are born and grow. They are educated, like most children in the world they do their homework and project themselves into the future. Even if their horizon is blocked by ruins, their lives don’t seem as blocked. The best guarantee for hope.

…young people are looking for work, training, organizing themselves, doing “odd jobs” despite their refugee card as only identity document which prohibits them from working in more than seventy jobs in Lebanon and makes travel almost impossible.

…couples love each other, make children they love, educate, and school.

…the older ones ponder their entire history and compare the present days with those before their deportation2.

The images presented here are the fruit of fifteen years of work. The intention is a testimony to the life of Palestinian Refugees in the shadows of a “Civilisation” that has forgotten them for too long.

I wanted to give a name and a face to a population that has, too often, been anonymously diluted in sterile statistics.

More pictures here.

Tarek Charara


1 There is a vast and extensive corpus of litterature about the subject. I have done my best to summarize the history of the Palestinian refugees up to the massacres and the war in the camps in my book “à l’ombre de Chatila” (In the shadow of Chatila), available on this site.

2 Text by Joseph Canal

Text and images © Tarek Charara/Kaleidos images.
All rights reserved.