Rest in peace, Um Fuad.
Last year, while visiting Yassine’s family in Baalbeck, I met Um Fuad.
Um Faoud was married the year of the Nakba. Then a young girl, in the chaos and attacks on her village, Yajur of Akka, she was separated from her husband. She fled to Jordan, her husband to Lebanon. And for two years they lived apart.
“People would see me hanging laundry in the refugee camp there and come ask for my hand, they didn’t realize I was already married, and those who did thought I had given up hope” she told me.
Eventually, two years later, he came for her, making his way across the border from Lebanon into Palestine, “infiltrating”, since he was not allowed back to his village as a refuge, and from there to Jordan, where he asked around until he found her. She had taken him for dead or at least having abandoned her. Together, they snuck back to Lebanon, where their families were.
34 years later, she was widowed. Abu Fuad and two of their sons were killed by an Israeli air strike against Baalbeck in 1984.
And now, 58 years later, this second invasion had taken her. She sought refuge in Syria after Baalbeck was targeted a couple of weeks ago, living with hundreds of other Palestinian refugees in a public school.
Um Faoud died today, away from all her remaining sons in Lebanon, a twice-over refugee, unable to return, or be buried, in her home in Yajur.
Another story, another statistic, another 'inconvenient' refugee. Um Fuad, dead at 72.
May she rest in the peace she never found in her life.