Photo credit: Alan Gignoux
Date taken: 2004
Location: Burj Al-Barajneh Refugee Camp, Beirut, Lebanon
Zeinab Al-Saqqa, a refugee living in Burj Al-Barajneh refugee camp in Lebanon, is shown in this portrait wearing the wedding dress she wore before being evicted from her home in the Palestinian village of Al-Nahr. The dress is the only possession she brought with her when she fled for her life.
Zeinab’s village of Al-Nahr was depopulated in 1948 by the Carmeli Brigade of the Israeli military. Two settlements, Kabri and Ben Ami, quickly took over the land. Remnants of the old Palestinian village remain to this day, along with military equipment used by the Israeli soldiers to evict Palestinians from their homes.
Zeinab is one of over 700,000 Palestinians expelled from their lands in the months leading up to and following Israel’s establishment. She is also one of millions of Palestinian refugees not allowed to return home. Yet her connection to the land is deep. On March 30, she will doubtlessly be among those observing Land Day in commemoration of the Palestinians killed, wounded, and arrested during a general strike to protest Israel’s plans to confiscate thousands of dunams of Palestinian-owned land in 1976. Although the Nakba occurred almost three decades earlier, Palestinian attachment to the land continues to grow stronger.