Since the end of the battle at Nahr al-Bared, the Lebanese press has been suspiciously quiet about the destroyed camp. Journalists, by the way, are still not allowed to enter and the Palestinians who are slowly-slowly being allowed to return, are prevented from taking any pictures, although a few images of total destruction have come out and been published. An article on Information Clearing House by Michael Birmingham, an Irish peace activist who has been mostly based in Lebanon since July 2006, talks about the reasons for this, and for the following:
Amnesty International, the largest human rights organisation in the world, was concluding a report on the situation of Palestinians in Lebanon during the past week. Its delegation left Lebanon without seeing Nahr Al Bared – before it left holding a Beirut press conference which was abruptly ended at the first mention of Nahr Al Bared.
Something terrible has been done to the residents of Nahr al Bared, and the Lebanese people are being spared the details. Over the past two weeks, since the camp was partly reopened to a few of its residents, many of us who have been there have been stunned by a powerful reality. Beyond the massive destruction of the homes from three months of bombing, room after room, house after house have been burned. Burned from the inside. Amongst the ashes on the ground, are the insides of what appear to have been car tyres. The walls have soot dripping down from what seems clearly to have been something flammable sprayed on them. Rooms, houses, shops, garages – all blackened ruins, yet having had no damage from bombing or battle. They were burned deliberately by people entering and torching them.
What happened in Nahr al Bared? Why does the world not seem to care?