Can you imagine the upheaval of being forced to leave everything familiar—friends, family, and all that gives you comfort—for a completely foreign environment? And even though years pass, you are still unable to return home. Before you were forced to move you had a steady income and were able to provide for your family. Now you don’t know if you’ll even have enough for your next meal.
(SYRIA) Fadia opens the door with a welcoming smile and immediately gestures to the new items that stand out in the tiny one-room home: a pile of six blankets that will help to keep this Syrian refugee family warm during the cold and sometimes stormy winter, and a stack of sleeping mats to protect the family from the coldness of the hard floor that they sleep on.
(SYRIA, JORDAN, LEBANON) What happens when you seek refuge in a place that is itself overwhelmed and in need of help? This is the situation facing the Syrian refugee families who are pouring across borders into neighboring countries including Jordan and Lebanon, to escape the civil war in their home country.
As a father, there are so many things in this world that distress me, but which I cannot fully relate to or completely understand. Even though I have been unemployed, I cannot relate to not being able to provide for my family. Even though I have moved my family frequently, I do not know what its feel like to be homeless. Even though I have lived with my family in two African countries, I have not feared for their lives. I receive news of disasters around the world all day, every day, and as much as I try to put myself in the shoes of disaster victims, I still cannot help but take my own blessings for granted. That pains me.
One thousand one hundred and forty-three* days. That is how long the civil war and violence has been terrorizing families in Syria. That’s 1,143 days of gun blasts, 1,143 nights of fear, 1,143 days of not knowing when life will go back to normal.
Inspired by the Arab Spring that was sweeping across the Middle East in late 2010, many Syrian civilians took to the streets to protest, demanding the resignation of their President. By April 2011, the Syrian military responded with force and Syrian soldiers began firing on protesters across the country in an attempt to stamp out the uprising. Within a few months the protests turned into an increasingly organized armed rebellion. Full-on civil war ensued. Both the rebels and the military are accused of committing horrendous atrocities, with the Syrian people caught in the middle as victims.