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By Melissa Young

I spent a semester abroad in Israel as a college student in 1994. One of the places we visited was the Qalandia refugee camp. I remember the intensity with which our Arab professor spoke of the circumstances of the camp. How hard he tried to impress upon us the conditions under which they lived. How overwhelmed I felt at the permanence of those conditions; how they had not changed for decades and were not likely to change. It was one of my first experiences with feeling hopeless. I remember the hate-filled graffiti on the walls (our professor only consented to translate one line), the trash, the dust, the worn smallness of it all. And I remember seeing a little boy in red and wondering if he would ever look at someone like me with anything other than cold bitterness.

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