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My Syrian Diary: Part 25

Marah, a teenage girl from one of Syria’s besieged cities, shares her stories of life in the war. She recently moved to Damascus to continue her education, deciding to focus her college studies on prosthetics. She hopes to help heal the injured in her country’s conflict.

Written by Marah Published on Read time Approx. 2 minutes

Many of our dreams have disappeared. The only dream that remains is our dream of surviving this crisis, which has stripped us of our rights and our dignity. Our feelings are crystallized in one word: fear. We are more afraid every day.

The beginning of last week was relatively quiet. My friends, teachers and I held a goodbye party for the two artificial limb specialists who visited Syria and shared their expertise and great knowledge with us. Grilled meat, kibbeh, stuffed vine leaves and many other Syrian dishes were served at the party. Our guests politely refused to eat fatty foods, and they were surprised that we eat such unhealthy food. It made me realize how much we lack awareness about health in our society. I remembered a saying that our neighbor always said: “The shortest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” Not all of our customs are bad. We have some great ones, or, let me say, we used to have some great customs. Women used to enjoy unique respect in our society. People used to give women priority, even in the most everyday places, like on a bus or in a store. Now I have to push my way through men in order to get on the bus at all. This is a very small example of how the crisis has affected our society.

Back to last week, which ended badly when my sister, who is currently preparing for her finals, almost had a nervous breakdown while arguing with our mother about her need for a tutor. I feel very bad for my sister. She has devoted her life to reading and to studying. Even during the Syrian crisis, she didn’t abandon her studies. She believes that education is the only thing that will get her out of this abysmal and deteriorating situation, but no one understands her or helps her.

I remember an article I read that discussed the basic needs of human beings. While the article listed food, water and air as basic needs, it also listed safety, stability and self-realization. We don’t have access to the most basic of those needs, to the fundamentals that we need in order to survive, not to mention stability and self-realization. I understand that no matter what I say, you will not grasp the reality that we live in. I myself never imagined such a life until everything else was taken away from me.

Fear has surrounded us for years, and it slowly kills everyone who lives here. We are scared of everything: the past, today and the future. I am scared for myself, for my family and for my country, which I still love. I wish I could leave, but my love for my country stops me. I have cried a lot for what is happening to my country, but it was all in vain, so now I keep quiet or talk to myself.

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