Palestinian Social Fabric Frays in Lebanon's camps
Palestinian Social Fabric Frays in Lebanon's camps as Drug Dealers target Childrenby Franklin Lamb
Shatila Palestinian Camp, Beirut
The past few years have witnessed an alarming increase in drug distribution in several of Lebanon’s 12 Palestinian camps, as dealers reportedly target children and teenagers, becoming increasingly brazen in pushing their narcotics.
This conclusion is based on research and surveys by camp officials, residents and activists, as well as in-depth interviews with mothers of targeted Palestinian children between the ages of 11-15 by this observer and discussions with other Palestinian community caregivers.
Candy is reportedly being increasingly used to create child addicts who are then recruited into gangs of thieves and/or to work as drug deliverers. One 11-year old boy makes drug deliveries around Shatila camp’s narrow fetid allies on his bicycle or sometimes on a small motor scooter according to a mother who lives next to his family.
Mothers in Lebanon’s camps claim that dealers are selling drug-injected candy and chewing gum outside of primary, middle and secondary schools as well as inside schools such as ‘‘Ramallah’’. The example of drug-laced candy shown below was given to this observer by two mothers who watch dealers from their third floor balconies. Another mother who lives across the alley from a claimed drug shop and next door to two dealers, one on either side of her building, confirmed these reports. These mothers and other camp residents identified the chewing gum shown below, as being sold cheap with injected/rubbed-in narcotics, in some camp shops.