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‘One sad dark night’: On the 1000th day of the conflict, a Syrian child tells her story

Walaa is a 17-year-old Syrian refugee living in East Amman, Jordan. She learned English at school and wrote this article in English to mark 1000th day of the Syrian conflict.WalaaSMALL

One sad dark night, a night without a moon, I was with my family at my home in Syria and we were preparing a dinner to have a nice meal together. Suddenly the power goes off and darkness prevails, a moment later the sky lights up, but not by the moon but from an explosion.

Then all light went and all we could hear was screaming. Another explosion went off and the screaming got louder and louder. Death was around us and we were waiting for our turn. My little brothers started to cry and I had to be strong for them, although I was afraid too.

The night the war began

The night of 24 April 2011, we left to find safety at our grandparents’ house. On our journey, all we could see was death, all we could hear was screaming, and all we could smell was blood. Our house had gone and we were homeless.

After that night, for a year and a half, all nine of us lived in one room. Even that room they took from us, in a big explosion. So we left our grandparents’ house and came to Jordan. We left our schools, our education, our friends and we lost everything.

We are no longer children 

In Jordan, we’ve had to change our house twice in just three months, as the houses are too expensive here and my parents cannot afford the rent. There is no school for us anymore, as our parents can’t work here, because many Syrians are not allowed. We are not children anymore: we are old people in children’s bodies.

The Syrian children are not thinking about having fun or playing or making friends: they have bigger things to worry about. All they are thinking about is how to sleep not hungry, not thirsty or cold. And if they actually will have a place to sleep tomorrow or will they be on the street as their parents can no longer afford the rent.

When we went to register [as refugees with the UN], there were crowds of people there, crowds of children who have lost their education, their friends and their families. There were a lot of people fighting. I can’t blame them: they are afraid for their children.

At least we are safe here

Early marriage is happening more and more and many girls are no longer able to continue their schooling because of this. But at least we are safe here. The situation in Syria is becoming worse by the day. There, they do not have the necessities for life. They are destitute, needing everything from a house to food, medical care and medicine, clothes, books, schools, a heater to keep them warm and even water.

The children do not ask to play and have fun or to study and learn, they simply ask for the right to a life.

I still cannot believe what has happened. It feels like a nightmare that I cannot wake up from. I wish anyone to wake me up from it. Is it true that I have left my house, my school, my family, my friends, and my country?

I can’t stand living without my country

I can’t continue to watch the Syrian people suffer anymore. It’s been a thousand days and how much more suffering needs to happen before this conflict is over?

My friends and family still inside Syria, please forgive me for being safe while you are in great danger.

I ask those who read this, please provide help to the people still inside Syria. They need help, more than you can even imagine. All children deserves the right to live and to a future, do they not?

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