Musaab Balchi may be a Palestinian journalist, but he can’t report from Palestine. As a Palestinian refugee, he is restricted from traveling to his country of origin. Balchi, 24, was born in Al Yarmook, a Palestinian refugee camp in Damascus, Syria. It has always been his dream to return to Palestine, where he can live, work, and stand with his own people.
Today, there are more than 500,000 Palestinians living in refugee camps in Syria, 450,000 in Lebanon and 2 million in Jordan.* These refugees are considered stateless and do not have the documents needed to enter Palestine, even though the UN General Assembly recognized the right of return to all Palestinian refugees in 1948.
When Balchi was a boy he heard about a Palestinian refugee from Syria, who worked as a journalist. This journalist was eventually able to report from Palestine. Hearing this, Mussab knew that he too wanted to be a journalist, with the hope that reporting for an international news agency could one day pave the way for travel to his homeland.
But the journey has not been easy for Balchi. Due to the war in Syria he had to seek refuge in yet another country– the United States. Living in Washington, D.C., Balchi continues to report on Palestinian issues, enhancing his skills and preparing for the day he can see Palestine with his own eyes.
*Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics & UNRWA 2013/2014