Daraya as its Kids Perceive it
Enab Baladi Issue # 104– Sun, Feb. 16, 2014
The curriculums focus on the concept of stability at home, and highlight on the issue of the internal immigration and the forced migration cause of wars, also the previous Arabic immigrations in Levant, Egypt and Mesopotamia, and the immigration to Abyssinia to spread Islam. Then, the immigration of prophet Mohamed to Medina, after leaving Mecca the city he loved the most.
But under the terrorism of Assad regime, will the history mention the Syrian displaced children? Will it highlight on their sufferings or their feelings which will be crushed by the war machine who crush all? Will the memory of history save the image of those areas like the memory of children will.
All what is left for Daraya’s children is to dream to return back to be happy like they were before. 9-year-old Sami told us how much suffering he is facing during displacement: ”In Daraya, we were building a house; it was not ready yet, and it had no furniture yet; however it felt warm there”. Whereas 10-year-old Heyam says she is tired of the discrimination against her and other displaced kids from Daraya at school. She misses her old school where “teachers did not favor any one over others; we used to have new books at the beginning of the school year. Here we were given used books, unlike other kids, because we are displaced”.
Heyam’s suffering did not end there; other kids are teasing her about not having beautiful clothes or games as they do. Even Red Crescent aids and winter clothes were distributed to the people of the city before the displaced people which added to Heyam’s misery. “I used to invite my friends to my house, now I can’t. We are living in the cellar of a factory, and I can’t let me friends know that because they would make fun of us” says Heyam who became alienated and deprived even of friendship.
11-year-old Khaled had to flee his home to live in Sahnaya, a neighboring city. Khaled cry cries because he misses Daraya and the times he spent there. The young boy who used to participate in demonstrations calling for toppling Assad regime was clearly instructed that “No demonstrations, no graffiti on the walls”are allowed in the school in Sahnaya; that’s how he was welcomed on his first day at the new school.
Khaled and his friends watch the bombardment on their city form the class window which overlooks on the city, shed tears amid the gloating of others students “the people of Daraya deserve more than this because they don’t support the president”.
And here is Rami, 9 years old, who emigrated twice, form Quneitra (southern Syria) to Muaddamiya (town Damascus Suburbs), and then to JdaidehArtouz (another nearby town Damascus Suburbs). Rami talks about the good behavior of Daraya people with him. “I was going to Daraya with my mother, and asking people to give us money, clothes and food, and whenever we knocked someone’s door, they gave us what we asked for, but now, everyone I ask says, “I am in as much need as you are; you give me if you have.” Only a few people are willing to help others as Darayan people are.”
Salam’s mother says leaving the city was a relief because she was not comfortable when she used to live with her in-laws in Daraya. Currently – during the displacement- she lives with her family who she was rarely able to visit; however, Salma (7 years old) says “I love my father’s family, my mother’s family, and I love my city Daraya, a lot”.
And Rahaf feels sad because of the exhaustion that faces her mother every day. Although she is only 9 years, but she realized how the situation of her family became “In Daraya, my mom never went to any charities, never asked for giving aid, my dad was went to work daily and brought delicious food. My mother cooked a variety of various food every day and we invited people to our home every day. Rahaf’s father was forced to stop working, because he is wanted on the army checkpoints, she adds, “since I left Daraya with my family, we’ve never had meat, fish, or chicken. Most of our food is groats, spaghetti or soup.
On the others side, stands Raghid (15 years old) upset for being from Daraya because of the ill-treatment he receives every time he passes the army checkpoints, Raghid doesn’t ask for so much “I just want to live my days like all other friends, to go and come back without rebuking me” he wishes now to change his identity and write that he is from any another area … except Daraya.
And Reem (5 years old) who cried while talking, all what she remembers from the city is her besieged father, and her dream is confined of hoping that He will be back safely.
Daraya stays an image in its children eyes, warm memoirs for some, painful events for others, between those who dream to go back and who hope to see the salvation, the city is still so far of all.
Translated by: Hamed Shurbaji