Amahl Bishara , Nidal Al-Azraq and Kholoud Al Ajarma —
Pleasure More Than Hope

Did you know that the sacred city of Bethlehem lies within the West Bank? And, inside its borders, you'll find something unexpected — a close-knit neighborhood where generations of people have created a new life for themselves. Amahl Bishara and Nidal Al-Azraq show us something rare that we don't see in the news about refugee camps — the quiet cycles of everyday life.

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Guests

is an assistant professor of Anthropology at Tufts University.

Nidal Al-Azraq

is the program coordinator for the Lajee Center in Aida Camp, Bethlehem.

Kholoud Al Ajarma

Al Ajarma is the arts and media center coordinator for the Lajee Center in Aida Camp, Bethlehem.

Pertinent Posts

Experiencing the "other" online. The first of a three-part series, Life Together, in which Christin Davis of the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism profiles the coexistence efforts among Palestinians and Israelis who are trying to create new ways of living with each other in the Holy Land.

Video Interviews with Krista Tippett

In the Room with Amahl Bishara

Watch our complete unedited interview with Amahl Bishara

In the Room with Nidal Al-Azraq

Watch our entire interview with Nidal Al-Azraq

Selected Readings

Restarting a Conversation

Part 1 of Bishara's three-part series on how foreign journalism about Palestinians informs their sense of themselves.

So Many Refugees, How Shall I Choose?

Part 2 of Bishara's three-part series on how foreign journalism about Palestinians informs their sense of themselves.

Eating Watermelon, Parsing Chaos

Part 3 of Bishara's three-part series on how foreign journalism about Palestinians informs their sense of themselves.

Our Voice

A magazine by young Palestinian refugees sharing their stories and their perspectives.

About the Image

Amahl Bishara, Nidal Al-Azraq, and Mohammed Al Azzeh at the Lajee Center.

(photo: Trent Gilliss)

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Reflections

"How do they do it?" is the 1st question that comes to mind. I live in relative security here in the U.S. where most of my conflict comes between my 2 ears. The courage-to-be is essential for every one of us. Isn't it mostly fear that hinders us from loving each other? respecting each other? If not fear then indifference. But I think if we can learn, as these folks have, to live with whatever life presents us, with courage, respect, even welcome, then we, each one of us, can truly live and not simply exist or co-exist.

I listened with great interested because I am soon to be welcoming a high school exchange student from the West Bank to our city. Whenever I read anything about the West Bank it is in reference to the politics. This story helped me to think about Bethlehem as a community with gardens and people with hopes and dreams like any other place. The student who comes to live here will be another "non-elite" voice that the Americans living here will get to hear, just like the voices Dr. Amahl Bishare is attempting to listen to. I can't wait to start listening to our exchange student from the West Bank!

They say clearly that they choose, voluntarily, to stay in the "refugee" camps. And that if they had the resources to live elsewhere, many would leave for a better life.

How come that hasn't happened? It seems as if they're being exploited politically by their own people.

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