On Sunday, August 21, 2015, Syrian jets attacked a Damascus suburb in an incident that killed more than 100 people, many of them civilians including children. If I am a mother in Syria, I could never imagine the constant fear of losing a child like this. My first act would be to move away ... somewhere far from Syria where I could protect my children and somehow manage to keep them alive. However, I am not a mother and I do not live in Syria. It is thus easier for me to judge the war in Syria as just another crazy war where uncovering the truth is like searching for a grain of sand buried in a desert full of half truths and falsehoods.
The story that I want to tell you is not an important story. What is important about a husband and wife and their six children that fled Syria, in order to seek refuge and safety in Germany?! Nothing. Trust me. This is just a normal story that you might hear everyday from thousands if not millions of other families. The only difference is in the details. The wife, Abeer is only 33 years old and she married when she was 16. Just a few years ago, she was living in a suburb of with her husband who owned a small business where he made local Syrian desserts. Everything seemed fine as she enjoyed a quiet and peaceful life that others would envy. However, as the revolution began so too did the violence and brutality of the Syrian regime kick into high gear. The regime ransacked cities and towns, and it was not long before they destroyed Abeer's house, who at that time had just given birth to her sixth child. There was no choice left except to leave, but where to go?! Beirut of course was the logical solution for them, as it is the closest major city to Damascus.
However, Beirut was not kind to them, No job, no income, no dignity and no future. After the most difficult two and a half years of their lives, the family once again decided to pick up their belongings and start over somewhere else. Where to go again?! And for how long should they stay?! Should they give it a try for another two and a half years or should they just consider it another temporary bridge on which to make their crossing. The family then risked their lives again by traveling in a boat across perilous seas and dangerous waves in a journey where they could have all died. Through courage and sheer will, they survived the boat and managed to make it to Greece. From Greece, they walked...and they walked...and then they walked some more. For forty days, the family of eight walked from Greece to Cologne, Germany.
Abeer and her husband walked with no tears or regrets, instead they walked every day filled with one unbreakable emotion...hope. Abeer carried with her six hopes, yes six hopes of a new beginning. The first hope may be a doctor. The second may be an engineer. The third may be a writer. The fourth may be a football star. The fifth may be an artist. The sixth may be the next Syrian president.
This is not the full image of what Abeer and her family faced during her time in Lebanon or her voyage across the sea or the European borders. There are many dramatic events that occurred, but I have chosen this simple part of the story for you to consider just a normal story of a normal refugee family in normal circumstances. The only difference is in the details...Hope