As I search for a blog topic to write about each week, my heart never fails to ache as I read endless articles on the people being effected by the Syrian conflicts. Two BBC news articles struck my attention this week; both having a common theme of Syrians being unable to have their old lives back. The two articles focus on specific individuals, facing events that no one could fathom. Cases of torture, drowning, captivity, bombing and disappearance are all heard of throughout the country.
Without a Trace
As of August of last year, a photographer named Mohammed Nour has been missing in Syria. After only finding the remains of his camera as a result of a car bombing, Mohammed’s family is lead to believe that he is being held captive by ISIS, along with another 85,000 individuals who are being detained. While nothing has been proven to be true, the photographer’s whereabouts remain a mystery.
No one knows what the next day holds, and this has become a constant worry for Syrian families. Similar to Mohammed’s family, people around the country are unsure of their family members location, and most importantly, if they are safe. Almost 2,600 people have been vanished in Syria alone, leaving disappearance to be something that they often find themselves dealing with. Unanswered questions. Worried families. Lives left a mystery.
Without a Home
Another story tells of a solider who was swimming off of a Turkish port in hopes of reaching Europe. While trying to reach safety, people were drowning all around him, aimlessly searching strength. They were helplessly swimming in the middle of the ocean, in hopes of a new future in the west.
This story exemplifies the extremes Syrians are facing to not only find a new home, but also a new life across the world. 50,000 Syrians have been displaced, with around 7,000 settling within Germany, France and the UK. With this, immigration issues have been arising throughout the European countries where the Syrian refugees are fleeing, making it more difficult for the individuals to prosper.
Human Rights, and Wrongs
A story of a human rights activist also caught my attention. In Damascus, an unnamed Syrian man was violated by secret policemen in an Assad torture chamber. The activist was raped and beaten for who he was and what he stood for. While the man is no longer being held captive, he will forever be scarred from what he endured there.
Another human rights activist in Damascus named Samira al-Khalil was abducted from her own office. Samira and her three colleagues have not been seen since the fateful day of their abduction almost a year ago, in early December of 2013. Her disappearance has left her husband completely distraught, and heartbroken. Not knowing where she is, what she is going through, or if she will return to her life with him are all questions that cannot currently be answered.
These two individuals were targeted for their aspiration of bettering the future of Syrians lives, and who will now never have the chance of having their old lives back.
We Are All Human
We hear about deaths and disappearances on the news, but tend to not completely understand and identify the lives. We don’t know their stories; who they were, what aspirations they had, or what they hoped their lives to be once they were finally safe. Reading these two articles reinforced the importance of understanding that these individuals are just as human as any of us, and that their lives are valued just as much as ours.
With this being said, I can’t help but wonder how do Syrians move on? How can they live a somewhat normal life after being tortured and held captive? How can the displaced individuals, and the families dealing with disappearance, try to imagine a brighter life in the future? Syrians have lost a great deal of their lives, and I can only hope they will be able to have a new start.