Swedish activist Benjamin Ladraa has arrived in Lebanon as he edges closer to completing his #WalkToPalestine campaign.
The 24 year-old, who has walked more than 4,000 kilometres since the start of his journey last August, is expected to reach Beirut later this evening after he took a ferry from the Turkish coast.
“After walking 30 kilometres I reached the over 7,000-year-old city of Byblos. Tomorrow I will make the final stretch to Beirut where I’ll try to have as many meetings, lectures and interviews as possible,” he said yesterday. “After I reach the border in Lebanon I’ll go back to Beirut and take a plane to Amman and then walk to the border from there and into Palestine.”
Earlier this week Ladraa visited two Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, and took to Facebook to express his disappointment at the neglect of the Lebanese government:
“It has been a very emotional start these first two days in Lebanon, he said. “People told me they feel like prisoners and the camps are very poor. Everyone I met really wants to return to their homeland and I can only imagine the frustration knowing that Palestine is only a few hours’ drive from the camps.”
Ladraa has continued to meet Palestinian activists along his route and is often invited to stay with those living in Europe.
However, he is not always guaranteed a bed, and last month spent the night in an abandoned building he came across during his walk.
Ladraa has received considerable international attention as he has progressed on his journey. Last month he was presented with a prize at the International Mount of Olives Peace Awards in recognition of his activism for the Palestinian people and delivered a speech alongside Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Ladraa gave his award to the family of Mohammad Abu Khdeir, the Palestinian boy who was burnt to death by Israeli settlers in 2014.
“I felt like they deserve it and I will be much happier knowing it sits on their wall in Jerusalem,” he said at the time
The Swedish musician chose to make the journey to mark the centenary of the Balfour Declaration which provided international legitimacy for the Zionist project which led to the subsequent creation of the state of Israel and the displacement of nearly one million Palestinians in 1948.