A refugee since I was ten.
I always have great admiration and love for my Irish friends. This is my second visit to Ireland.
Since the age of ten I have been a refugee, my family lived in the village Ma’in Abu Sitta (the Abu Sitta spring well) before these people came from eastern Europe supported by the British government and western governments to take our home from us.
We did not go to invade Poland or Russia. Polish people and Russian people came to us to make us refugees. They didn’t even come as normal immigrants.
And therefore, at the age of ten I suddenly became a refugee.
While our land has gone and our identity threatened, it has been my life duty to try to return home and to create all possible means to do so.
An ideal solution to the situation in Palestine is very simple. Apply human rights, disown racism, apartheid and occupation so that people can live free in their country.
An ideal solution in Palestine would be to apply human rights, disown racism, apartheid and occupation.
And if other people came armed with money and weapons to plunder and steal and make us refugees we will never give up our homes..
I’m sad, but have never given up hope.
Professor Salman Abu Sitta – at Belfast Feile, Belfast.
Photography and Videography: Bout Yeh photographers Belfast
One morning in April 1948, Salman and other schoolboys were sent home for safety reasons, after being summoned by the headmaster and told that the Jews had occupied central Palestine. Abu Sitta made the 40 km journey from Beer Sheba town back to his home on foot, and six weeks later the family was attacked by the Jewish militia before Israel was declared and they became refugees in Gaza Strip.
Abu Sitta lived and studied in Cairo, Egypt, where he graduated ranking first in Egypt at Cairo University Faculty of Engineering in 1958. Abu Sitta went to the United Kingdom to continue his post-graduate studies, receiving a PhD in Civil Engineering from the University of London, UCL.
Salman Abu Sitta is most known for his ground-breaking project mapping historic Palestine and developing a practical plan for implementing the right of return of Palestinian refugees. Details of his book can be seen here >
Pictured, from left, moderator Reverend Bill Shaw, Professor Salman Abu Sitta & Martina Anderson MEP.
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