LONDON (Ma'an) -- The Bethlehem-based Lajee Center for Palestinian Cultural Arts performed their first cultural tour in the British capital of London on Thursday, before continuing to other cities in Britain, Ireland, and Scotland.
The tour is part of an annual trip made by 21 Palestinian youths to showcase cultural, photographic, and art exhibits in Europe, in addition to documentaries aimed at displaying the Palestinian struggle to the rest of the world.
Salah Ajarmeh, head of the Lajee Center in the Aida refugee camp, told Ma’an that the 20-day tour is centered on confirming the rights of Palestinians to live despite the “bitter reality” of the refugee camps, adding that the group met with the British parliament upon their arrival.
The tour was organized in cooperation with international activists and institutions that support and believe in the Palestinian cause, Ajarmeh said.
Head of the center's Public Relations department, Muhammad al-Azraq, delivered a speech in front of the British parliament underscoring the Palestinian right of return and self determination and commenting on Britain's historical responsibility for the current plight of Palestinians.
Head of the media department of the center, photojournalist Muhammad al-Azzeh, opened his photo gallery titled “The Continuous Nakba,” exploring the daily lives of refugees at the Aida refugee camp in northern Bethlehem.
Al-Azzeh, a Palestinian refugee whose family fled Beit Jibrin near Hebron and is now a resident of Aida, said that many Palestinians inside and outside of Palestine are not aware of the daily suffering of Palestinian refugees.
Al-Azzeh added that his annual galleries have aimed to display the suffering of Palestinian refugees, and attempts to provide them safety and security.
Al-Azzeh also introduced a documentary, made by Lajee, titled “I have a dream to live,” which tells the story of an 11-year-old girl, Shahd Uweis, who lives at the Aida Refugee camp.
Through the experience of Uweis, the documentary explores the experiences of children in Aida, and the violent mechanisms which inform their everyday lives. “Endangering lives of children on a daily basis is not acceptable in countries such as Britain, which is now hosting us,” al-Azzeh said, “ then how is it acceptable for children in Palestine? How does international and rights organizations accept a double-standard policy?”