A dark tent, a feeble light of a rechargeable lamp, a two-year-old child sitting on the floor while eating with a thousand coloured face into the plate.
The colour of his story, the colour of his genealogy, the colour of the refugee camp dust, the colour of non-existent tissues, the colour of the greasy, which first reaches the nose and then the mouth.
I don’t know if I’ve ever seen such an overflowing violence.
Feet without socks running over sharp stones, trousers too large and underwear that are too expensive to be seen here, while outside it’s raining and the frozen air’s blowing from snow-clad mountains.
May a law exist for returning the toys, the fold-back blankets, the kiss taken before entering school, the bow on the smock, the bedtime stories and all the tenderness needed when you are a child?
Who’s going to compensate with a caress for each slap in the face?
What kind of man will become the one who has never been a child?
While I’m wondering about it, I think to the empty space of that tent; the answers to these questions take my breath away.
The road taken by these young ladies and men with big eyes, completely dirty, that hug you, scream and sing “bella ciao” passing our tent. A minute before they are playing and a minute later they are crying because of the blows; the road I see takes my sleep away.
In this night, that tent, that face in the plate, all the ongoing or breaking-in wars, all the emigrating people, the jails full of forgotten persons, the tortures, all the closed borders, all the commentators seated chatting, everything is stronger than the thunder of this rain that falls incessantly on this tent.
A dark tent, a feeble light of a rechargeable lamp, a two-year-old child raises his face up from the plate where he was eating and, in spite of the stink, I can smell the bright wonder of childhood. I wish the world to stop right now so that such unaware smile could remain there forever.

While we are writing this update from the refugee camp in the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon is experiencing a new  wave of social tensions, due to the instability of the Dollar value against the Lebanese Lira thus causing a galloping inflation of the necessities’ prices like bread and fuel.
On January 14th, the tensions turned into another "Day of Rage" which started with a national strike announced by the transport unions. The strike undermined the whole country by roadblocks, closures of petrol stations and lines at the bakeries, sometimes controlled by armies’ trucks.
We hear from the people we meet that the bread has been rationed for families in some nearby zones.
Therefore, people take to the streets asking the government to subsidize fuel and goods of first necessity in order to respond to Lebanese Lira’s devaluation which has lost almost 95% of its value in just two years.
Nowadays, filling the fuel tank is not affordable by the minimum monthly wage that corresponds to 20$.
According to the World Food Programme, food prices increased of 557% against the previous autumn.
But how do these numbers result in, since they quantitatively describe one of the most serious economic-financial crisis in the world?  
As volunteers from Operazione Colomba, we are witnessing the situation by meeting the fears and the palpable impatience of people.

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It is October 20th and we are on our way to Arsaal.
Arsaal: 130,000 people, of which three quarters are Syrians. 160 informal refugee camps (that is not recognized by the state). A place you need a permit to access, as it is surrounded by military checkpoints.
Beyond the window we see the landscape change. As we approach Lebanon's northeastern border, the plains and plateaus behind us give way to undulating ocher-colored lands.
The land is dry and the barren ridges we see in the distance are already in Syrian territory.
We slow down as we approach the entrance to the town, we prepare our passport and the personal permit to enter the area. When we arrive at the checkpoint, a soldier nods at us, which means we are allowed to continue.
The road crosses the hill and, slightly lower, the inhabited center of this large village opens up.

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When it’s been so long since you hugged a loved one and then finally you find her in front of you and you can hug her again, the emotion is very strong, wherever you are on this round earth.
"Would you accompany me to visit Mariam? I would love to see her so much... but I don’t dare go alone, I’m too afraid of what might happen. But if you were there, it would be different…".
Sometimes we as volunteers are bitterly surprised that, in a place already so full of pain, relationships can become even more complicated and conflicting, as if the external conditions were not enough to make life hard.
Randa has been stuck in the same refugee camp for eight years.
She is Syrian from Bab Amer, a suburban and overpopulated neighborhood of Homs.

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I am grateful for the moment of “grace” in which the veils of prejudices, judgments and misunderstanding over the persons are lifted up and they show parts of the latter that were unknown and concealed until that moment.  

This has happened with her.

The veil has been lifted up thanks to a dinner invitation, a little bit unexpected and taken from my side with some malice for a sort of facade. This is how we get to know H., a woman who looks after four children (the fifth one is already married although she is a minor) and who saw the Syrian soldiers taking her husband away; she remained alone, displaced among the displaced ones from Homs.

Her son, the only “man” of the family, tells us that, when he was seven years old, he entered his aunt’s house and found everyone dead.

His sister, who at that time was a bit older than him, tells us that she walked over many dead bodies after a bombing, while they were fleeing from the umpteenth shelter they had found. Few meters far, the son saw a rocket falling over a pregnant woman with a stroller who literally exploded in front of his eyes… the child in her womb died immediately after.

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