In February 2008, I went to Palestine to visit my sister and to be there for her wedding. I met her husband, Rami, who is a Palestinian refugee. Before I left, he gave me a copy of this book, which he and another student had worked to put together. It is a collection of stories, essays, memoirs, photos, poems, and more by the children of the Jenin refugee camp.
The stories are laid side by side in both Arabic and English. Rami and the other student did all the translations, and Rami himself contributed to the collection, having grown up in the refugee camp as well. The stories were so powerful, particularly in describing the violence that some of these children had seen and gone through. The photos really captured the essence of the camp as well.
This is a book that has never officially been published, and is not available to the mainstream. The only reason I have a copy at all is because the people who printed it accidentally got the order wrong, so some of the facing pages in Arabic and English are not the same story. Since I don’t read Arabic, this doesn’t matter to me.
Unfortunately, I don’t think anything ever came of the project. I know the plan was to try to publish and sell copies with the money to benefit the refugee camp, but I never heard anything else about it, and I know Rami moved away from the area not long after that. I’d guess that my copy is one of the few still in existence.