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My Syrian Diary Part 40

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, which she hopes to use to help heal the injured in her country’s conflict.

Written by Marah Published on Read time Approx. 2 minutes

At Eid al-Adha, the Feast of the Sacrifice holiday, everyone is supposed to be busy getting ready, buying food, sweets and new clothes to celebrate. But people are overwhelmed by other things.

This year, the holiday came right when schools were opening their doors for the new academic year – right when students need school supplies. Because of the war, most Syrians are unemployed and they cannot afford both occasions at the same time.

Many families are under a lot of pressure, and that leads to stress and fighting. For many, a new backpack or a new pair of pants has become a dream.

As people suffer, others exploit the situation. Property owners have shown no mercy and rents have soared to unprecedented heights. The owner of our tiny apartment wants to double the rent. My mother’s income and my income combined can barely cover our needs, and we cannot afford our rent. For this reason, we are now looking for an even smaller place.

My income, although small, helps a lot, so I cannot leave my job. I will be working in a showroom during Eid al-Adha. I am not happy that I will not be spending time with my family during the holiday, but the showroom job pays well, and we need every penny. However, my family will be stuck at home, because the streets are not safe – explosions and missiles are everywhere and people are too scared to leave their houses.

As for holiday gifts, we received the best present ever: no electricity or water for five days – a time in which we felt that we were less than human. What makes things even more difficult is that, being from an opposition-controlled area, many people blame us for what is happening in the country, as if it was our fault. I am really fed up with what some people say. Often I just cannot control myself, and I explode in their faces and defend myself – and all the displaced people.

My mother says that I should control myself, and avoid responding to such accusations, but I do not agree with her – I believe that it is my responsibility to defend myself and those like me.

Additionally, the general pressure makes it very hard for me to absorb and contain such accusations. No matter how strong we are, at the end of the day, we all have limits. I’ve reached mine over the last five years.

The worsening situation around me has changed me in significant ways. I am not the same person I used to be. My standards and morals have changed.

Look at me: I agreed to get engaged to someone that I have no feelings for, only so that he might take me out of here. I feel that I am using him and I feel that it is not fair. I truly do not know who I am any more. I look at myself in the mirror and do not recognize the girl I see, so I cry and cry.

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