As an enjoyable read, as literature, and as a work of witness, Shatila Stories is a resounding success.
MELISSA HARRISON, THE GUARDIAN
Nine Syrian and Palestinian refugees took part in a creative writing workshop run by Peirene in 2017 in the Shatila refugee camp in Beirut. Afterwards, the participants were commissioned to create a piece of collaborative literature. The group consists of six women and three men between the ages of 20 and 43. Most have arrived in Beirut from Syria over the last five years, and a couple are second and third generation Palestinian refugees who were born in Shatila. Their names are: Omar Khaled Ahmad, Nibal Alalo, Safa Khaled Algharbawi, Omar Abdellatif Alndaf, Rayan Mohamad Sukkar, Safiya Badran, Fatima Omar Ghazawi, Samih Mahmoud, Hiba Marei.
Omar Khaled Ahmad is Palestinian Syrian. He was born in 1998 in the Yarmouk camp in Damascus. In 2013 he fled the Syrian conflict and moved with his family to Shatila, Beirut. In 2016 he studied video journalism with the German Academy of the Deutsche Welle and now works for Campji – a media platform for refugees. Omar has also directed a short film about life inside the Shatila camp.
Nibal Alalo is Syrian. She was born in 1975 in Deir el-Zour. She obtained a master’s in sociology and worked for eleven years as a psychosocial support worker with Iraqi refugees in Damascus. She moved to Beirut in 2015 because of the war and is now working with Syrian refugees in the Shatila camp.
Safa Khaled Algharbawi is Syrian. She was born in 1990 in Damascus and has lived in the Shatila camp since 2013. She has a higher national diploma in economics.
Omar Abdellatif Alndaf is Syrian. He was born in 1989 in Idlib, where he also obtained a diploma in aluminium and glass production. He fled to Lebanon in 2011. He loves Arabic poetry.
Rayan Mohamad Sukkar is Palestinian Lebanese. She was born in 1995 in the Shatila camp. She currently studies media at the Arab University of Beirut. In 2016 she completed a one-year course in video journalism with the German Academy of the Deutsche Welle and now works for Campji. She has also co-authored the play Tarah Bedda with the Ebaad organization and worked as an assistant director for a play at the American University in Beirut.
Safiya Badran is Syrian. She was born in 1986 and came to Beirut in 2011. She works for the NGO Basmeh & Zeitooneh in the Shatila camp.
Fatima Omar Ghazawi is Palestinian Lebanese. She was born in 1997 in the Shatila camp. She is currently studying psychology at the Lebanese University and is a freelance writer for the magazine Wammda.
Samih Mahmoud is Palestinian Syrian. He was born in 1998 in the Yarmouk camp in Damascus. He moved with his family to the Shatila camp in 2013. In 2016 he completed a one-year course in video journalism with the German Academy of the Deutsche Welle and now works for Campji.
Hiba Marei is Palestinian Syrian. She was born in 1987 in the Yarmouk camp in Damascus. For three years she studied psychology at the Faculty of Education in Damascus before the Syrian crisis forced her to move to Beirut in 2012. She now works as a tutor in adult education in the Shatila camp. Hiba also co-authored The History of the Puppet Theatre in Lebanese Arabic Theatre.