Victim Of The Syrian War
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Try to imagine this is one of your own daughters, whom you love dearly, and would do anything for.
A story of another childhood lost.
Before I go on, however, I would ask that you try and picture me as a human, that you not only consider me another faceless victim of a foreign war far, far away from your shores. I ask that you try and put a face to my name, and my story of pain and suffering. Maybe you can close your eyes for a moment and try to imagine that my story is actually the story of one of your own daughters, whom I believe you love dearly, and would do anything for.
It all began the day my Uncle Ahmad showed up at our home insisting that we flee the country and make our way to one of the refugee camps. I didn't want to do this, and could not understand why he was so insistent that leaving everything behind to go and live in one of the camps was the best thing for us to do. He didn't seem like himself that day, and when I asked him where the rest of his family was, especially his two daughters who were my most favorite cousins, he never really answered. All he said was that everything would be alright in the end, and that justice would one day be served.
I later found out what happened to my Uncle Ahmad's wife, mother-in-law, and two daughters. But that is something I am still trying to forget'
We did take his advice, and fled the country. Well, that is my mother, four younger siblings, and myself. My father chose to remain in Syria, and along with his brother, my Uncle Ahmad, joined the opposition forces to fight against the al-Assad regime in what we call "the battle for freedom and dignity".
We arrived into the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan with literally nothing except the clothes we were wearing, a few pictures from our home in Syria, and the equivalent of about $8. We were also very sick from the long journey when we arrived to the camp, but praise be to God, at least we made it alive, which unfortunately, is more than some can say. My mother, however, passed away from her illnesses less than two weeks after we made it to the refugee camp. She was actually not very old, but the journey from our home in Syria to the refugee camp in Jordan proved to be too difficult for her. That is one of the reasons I had to grow up so quickly; being the eldest child in our family, and having four younger siblings, it became my responsibility to begin taking care of them after my mother died. And while I recognize that this simply is how things must be, and I do want to help my family as much as I can, there are still days when it seems unfair. There are days when I would rather be back in Syria, playing with my friends, being able to go to school, and being with my father (although I do not know whether he is even still alive) and with my now deceased mother. I really just wish we could be a family again.
But, that's not a reality any more. The reality ' at least as I see it ' is that I must accept that as God-awful and unfair as this whole thing is, it is what it is'
There is talk around the refugee camp that President Obama and the U.S. military are going to attack Syria soon. They say this is because the Bashar al-Assad regime attacked some neighborhoods outside of Damascus and killed more than 1,000 Syrians with chemical weapons, and that President Obama had said if chemical weapons were used in the civil war, that would be a "red-line" which, if crossed, would have consequences. And while I, along with most others, do want somebody to actually help and stop the killing, the declaration that a "red-line" has only now finally been crossed, seems like a slap-in-the-face to the other 99,000 innocent Syrians who have already died in the conflict.
And so what about them? What about the first 99,000? What about my Uncle Ahmad's wife, mother-in-law and two daughters? What about my mother who died as a result of trying to help her family flee the violence? Are their lives not worth helping? Were their deaths less significant than the others who died in the chemical weapons attack last week? I just don't understand the reason why 99,000 Syrians who were brutally beaten, tortured, and shot to death never amounted to a "red-line"'
But to be honest, it really does not matter. We have gotten used to the world sitting back while our country, and her people, are being destroyed. We are used to the politicians just trying to use us for their own selfish purposes. We are used to President Obama and the others from Washington saying this and that, but never putting any actions to their words. We have accepted that the end to our war may only come about by the total destruction of our country.
We have repeatedly asked for help. We have repeatedly been told that help is on the way. Yet this help remains nothing more than lip-service.
Part two: Continue...
Jeff d. Patterson, Middle East Specialist: While the ashes were beginning to settle in New York City with the setting of the sun on 9/11, Jeff D. Patterson was unpacking his bags far, far away from American shores; far, far away from his family and friends; far, far away from his homeland. He was starting a new phase of life in a region of the world he would call ‘home’ for most of the next decade. Jeff was taking his first breaths of Middle Eastern air, thinking of the world becoming a better place… In contrast to most... (more...)