30 years after the Massacre at Sabra-Shatila""".
Why did Palestinian refugees come to Lebanon? Don't ask. Lebanese schools won't tell!
Shatila Camp, Beirut
During a workshop at the American University of Beirut last year on the subject of the right to work and to purchase a home for Palestinian refugees, a young business major from the Christian village of Bikerki posed a question that surprised some in the audience: "Why if Palestinian don't like it in Lebanon do they not go home? Why did they even bother coming here in the first place?"
"Caroline" was not being antagonistic. Many of the younger Lebanese population are taught in private and religious schools by the various sects using a curriculum including subjects that are heavily politicized and skewed, none more than modern Lebanese history.
Talking with Caroline during a tea break, she explained that she feels very politically oriented, but admitted that she really doesn't know much about Lebanese history and only vaguely why there are Palestinians in Lebanon. What she does know, she explained, came from her parents and family members and not from schools in her Christian hamlet which happens to be the seat of Lebanon's Maronite Patriarch, for whom she is apart time volunteer working with orphaned children.
In most private and public schools in Lebanon, sensitive political subjects have long been culled from textbooks by polarized confessional watchdog committees seeking a proper education for their children. Even UNWRA schools are forbidden to teach Palestinian history in Lebanon or even their history in Palestine lest the Zionist controlled US Congress cut UNWRA funding.
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