For Syrians in Lebanon, death brings a final indignity as the bodies of their loved ones are squeezed in along cemetery edges
The graves of the children are easy to discern, little bumps on the ground squeezed in along the edges of the cemetery. A rectangle of four small concrete blocks is enough to encompass one childs entire body.
No names are carved in marble, just overgrown, withered grass rustling in the breeze of the Bekaa Valley. In the cemetery named al-Rahma, meaning Mercy, only one Syrian refugee childs tombstone bears markings an illegible name etched into the stone with a rough tool, the mark of a despairing parent.
You see these little graves that we put on the side? Theyre all children, and theyre almost all Syrians, said Hosni Shuqayyif, the cemetery caretaker. There are so many children. We bury them in the corners, on the sides, or between the other graves, wherever there is space.
The number of Syrians who have fled their country after six years of war passed 5 million on Thursday. More than a million of those are registered with the UN high commissioner for refugees in Lebanon, compared with a prewar Lebanese population of 4 million, the per capita equivalent of the UK hosting 13 million refugees.
But in this tiny nation, with its 18 official religious sects, Syrians have endured many indignities from onerous visa procedures to poor treatment and humiliation at the border and residency offices, to child labour, sexual exploitation, and life in fragile plastic tents that collapse in winter, and the xenophobia of local politicians pandering to fearful followers.
And now, death brings a final indignity. Families of dead Syrians living in Lebanon are increasingly struggling to find a place to bury their loved ones, often leaving them for weeks or months in hospital morgues while they search for cemeteries that will take them. They struggle to scrape together enough money to pay off hospital fees, sometimes carrying them in cardboard boxes or in the backs of taxis and digging graves with their bare hands.
A private development close to Beiruts last remaining public beach is sparking anger among residents who fear companies will leave nothing for the poor and middle classes encroaching further into a city that already lacks public space
Take a stroll down the golden sands of Ramlet al-Baida, Beiruts last public beach, and youll see families fishing and smoking shisha in ramshackle palm frond cabanas, boys kicking footballs under battered lamp-posts, and children building sandcastles in the waves. It is a rare outlet in a city where public spaces are few and far between. But at the beachs southern end, the scene abruptly gives way to looming cranes and men in hard hats driving rebars into a rising edifice of concrete.
The development, known as the Eden Bay resort a more than 5,000 sq metre project billed by its website as a sanctuary of luxury and refinement began constructionlast year, sparking outrage among beachgoers, civil society activists and public space advocates. The company behind the project says they have complied with the law and are set to inject vital investment and hundreds of jobs into Lebanons bruised economy. But many of the poor and middle class Beirutis who have been going to the beach for generations see it as an encroachment on one of the few public spaces they have left.
Poor people are trash here, says Hisham Hamdan, 59, glancing at the development as he lounges with a lunch of fish, hummus and vegetables alongside half a dozen friends. Its Ali Baba and his 40 thieves, he adds, listing a few prominent politicians and businessmen. Theyre mafiosos, all of them.
He plucks a cane topped with a bust of Nefertiti from the sand and gestures toward a row of apartment buildings. Look, he says. You know how much that is? Four million dollars. And everyone here has nothing. (Some nearby properties do indeed sell for that much.)
A little way up the beach, Abu Rami, a 43-year-old department store worker who asked to be identified by his nickname so he could speak freely, kicks a football with his son. When I was a bachelor I used to come out to Ramlet al-Baida every day, he says. Id run down here with my friends around six or seven and wed play football. Wed even come out and play football at night wed swim and play and stay out late. Everyone has memories like that.
Purchase and Refinance Real Estate Loans - Compare Our Very Competitive Rates, Programs & Get Pre-Approved Today! (424) 225 2167
“Loan approval is not guaranteed and is subject to lender review of information. Mortgage Loan is only approved when lender has issued approval in writing. Specified Real Estate Loan rates may not be available for all borrowers. Rate subject to change with market conditions.
“This licensee is performing acts for which a real estate license is required. C2 Financial Corp is licensed by the California Dept of Real Estate, Broker # 01821025; NMLS # 135622.”
C2 Financial Corporation is approved to originate VA and FHA loans, and has the
ability to broker such loans to VA and FHA approved lenders. C2 Financial
Corporation is not acting on behalf of or at the direction of HUD/FHA or the VA.
STATES WE LEND IN
“The services referred to herein are not available for property located outside the State of California”
We also have Licensed Loan Officers in: AZ CO FL HI NV OR TX WA
• FHA/VA approved • Managed by Principals with over 62 years experience in the mortgage industry • We have strict policies to ensure your confidential information remains confidential • Accurate up front rate and closing cost quotes. • C2 Financial Corporation is a Direct Lender & Broker Providing You an Awesome Loan Selection.
Call us today at 424 225 2167 One of our mortgage professionals will help you understand how a Purchase or Refinancing could benefit you. If you agree that a Purchase or Refinance is right for you, we’ll help and be with you through every step of the process and not hand you off to someone else.