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My Life in Syria: Diary Entry 50

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. 3 minutes

I do not have many options: I can die by drowning, or choose an unknown land; I can stay in this swamp of blood, injustice and humiliation, or travel to a new place where I have no people, friends, memories or history.

My mother gathered the family together and informed us of her plans to get us out of the country. She warned us that leaving is not an easy process – it involves many dangers and difficulties. We would run away from the unpredictable reality in which we live, she said, to an unknown world. Although the life we live here has become truly perplexing, it still worries me that we do not know what will happen if we leave.

Recently, my mother has been seriously preparing for our travels. She quit her job and started preparing important documents that we might need, such as school transcripts and birth certificates, which is a long and expensive process.

Although this step scares me, I have been the biggest supporter of my mother’s decision because I am an adventurous person by nature. Also, it has become very clear to me that it is impossible to continue living here. I trust my mother’s decisions. I know that she is a very wise person and that she carefully weighs matters before taking a step. I also feel good because we will all do it together. It is very important to me that we stick together. I feel that our whole country and society have collapsed and the only shelter we now have is family.

We made our decision. We are leaving. I wonder whether we can call it a decision, since our circumstances have left us no other choice – we are forced to leave our own country in order to survive. Our family of all girls and one young boy has a great urge to leave, and we don’t even have it as bad as other families who have young men who must serve in the military. But what can I say? Our fate is what it is, and will have its way with us.

My mother had a troubling experience when she was on her way home from work – a young man in military uniform stopped the bus that she was in. He was yelling and cursing, looking for a high school girl who was in the back seat. He pulled the girl’s arm and began to drag her off the bus, as she cried and screamed for help. None of the men on the bus said a word – they were scared of him because he was in military uniform. My mother couldn’t stop herself from speaking, and she asked him if he was related to the girl. He yelled at my mother and pushed her hand off of the girl, so she stared in his face and told him that he wouldn’t get to the girl unless it was over her dead body. My mother’s actions and words inspired other people to help, and together they kicked him off the bus while he was yelling and threatening my mother with imprisonment and even death. My mother accompanied the girl to school, and she learned that the girl had promised to meet with the soldier that day, but when they were on the phone the night before she got a bad feeling and felt that she couldn’t trust him, so she changed her mind. This is why he was so angry and revealed his inner monster. This is the country that we live in right now. There is no law, and no system to protect individuals.

Because of how focused I am on the idea of traveling, I got distracted and was hit by a car while crossing the street. It was not a big accident, and I had only a few bruises here and there. My mother was not happy with how distracted I was, and asked me to be more careful, but she has also been keeping me and my siblings busy with too many tasks. I think she wants to keep us busy, but also prepare us for the journey ahead. She wants us to take responsibility and learn on our own so that we become stronger. She doesn’t want us to lose balance in this troubling world.

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