Photo of the Week: Up, up, up in the air

Photo credit: Guillem Valle
Date taken: January 8, 2007
Location: Tripoli, Lebanon

A Palestinian man is thrown into the air as family, friends, and locals celebrate before his wedding.

You aren’t really married until your head hits the ceiling, they say. In this case, the clouds will have to do.

Marriage plays a central role in Arab culture. Despite it being a joyous occasion representing the union of two families and two greater communities, it can oftentimes bring with it grave implications, particularly for Palestinian refugee women. Several studies have identified domestic violence as one of the worst problems Palestinian refugee women are encountering. Incidence of domestic violence directed toward Palestinian refugee women is greater in Lebanon camps than in Jordan or Syria camps. Exclusion from Lebanese society is another issue these women must navigate. White-collar jobs are almost always off-limits and access to education and healthcare can range from uncertain to impossible.

This photograph is over eight years old. Here’s to hoping the union brought happiness not just to couple but to their families, their neighbors, and society as a whole. And if they have kids, may they not only be responsible for improving the condition of Palestinians and Palestinian refugees worldwide, but may they also be champions for the vulnerable and the oppressed whoever they are and wherever they may be.

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