Friday, November 09, 2012

A Palatial Mansion Story Or, Who Has A Demographic Problem?

My wife blogged on this subject years ago, in 2007.

And here's a 2009 story.

And now an AFP story (a sort of repeat from the BBC story in 2007)

Subhi Mustafa spent 35 years abroad, including a decade in the United States, but now that he has built his dream home in his West Bank village, he isn’t planning on going anywhere else.  He's one of a group of Palestinians who have spent years working overseas before returning home to small villages like Mazraa al-Sharqiya [right down the road from Shiloh, halfway to Ofra, above Wadi Haramiya] and rewarding themselves with their ideal luxury home.

“I left my village and lived with the pain of exile so that I could achieve a single goal -- to build a beautiful home in my village for me, my children and grandchildren,” says 60-year-old Mustafa. “I’ve succeeded in doing that, and so I’m never going to leave again.”

Mustafa’s dream home doesn’t exactly blend in with the traditional houses in Mazraa al-Sharqiya, northeast of the city of Ramallah.  It’s 450 square meters (4,800 square feet) in size, and has a large courtyard in front that Mustafa says is intended to accommodate his grandchildren.

“There is a bit of competition between the former expatriates when it comes to building houses,” he admits.  “But I prefer to compete inside the house, rather than outside it.”

Mustafa says he decided to decorate and furnish it in an “American style.”  “I wanted everything to be American-style so my children and grandchildren who live there will be comfortable when they come to visit.”

A house like Mustafa's doesn’t come cheap.

“That cost more than $400,000,” he says, pointing to one house in the village.

“That one was $600,000, and that house cost about one million dollars in total. All of them belong to expatriates who worked in the United States.” 

Abroad?  Expatriates?


In Mazraa al-Sharqiya, only around 5,000 of the village’s 12,000 residents actually live in the West Bank. The rest are working overseas, most of them in the US.

Rafae Hamida, president of a local village charity, estimates that 67 percent of the village currently lives in either the U.S., Peru or Brazil. [in 2007, it was "About two-thirds of the village's 15,000 inhabitants live abroad, mainly in the United States". but there are now 3,000 less residents!]

“And every one of them wants to build a house that’s better than the next,” he says.

3,000 less?!

Who has the demographic problem in these parts?


1 comment:

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