National Geographic : 1992 Jun
months in Kuwaiti jails, where he was beaten and tortured, before the International Com mittee of the Red Cross secured his release. He pulls up a pant leg to show me his burns, put there with a cattle prod by his captors. "Why did they hate us so?" he asks quietly. "Didn't we build their country for them?" Muhammad, who is unemployed, lives with his wife and four children in a two-room basement apartment he shares with his sister's family of 11. All use the same tiny bathroom, where a plastic Mickey Mouse shower curtain guards the door. ButI also find many Palestinian success sto ries in Jordan. Now making up somewhere between one-third and two-thirds of Jordan's population (depending on whose figures you use), Palestinians have become a force in the whole life of the nation, with influential roles in business, politics, and education. Blowouts and breakdowns sometimes stop 14-year-oldMuhammadAbd al-Raufal-Balawi, far right, but he's not planning to ridefar from the West Bank's Dheisheh refugee camp, where he was born. "If you live in a place, you can't easily leave, because you have friends and family there," he says. "I prefer to stay here because this is my home."