In honor of World Refugee Day on June 20, this week we will be sharing a series of blog posts highlighting the stories of refugees from Syria, where an escalating crisis has forced millions to flee their homes.
“Have you been to Syria?” asks a woman who gives her name only as Yasmin. It’s not her real name. She is too afraid to share that one—afraid of what will happen when she and her family return from their exile in Lebanon to Syria, a Syria she may no longer recognize.
Yasmin’s longing for that place—and all that’s been lost—makes me catch my breath as I read her words.
“We lived in a lovely old town,” she continues. “It had a big vegetable market where you could always get lots of fresh vegetables. It had many historical buildings. They were so beautiful. Now they have all gone and you won’t have a chance to see them. It was bombed one year and two months ago.”
I picture the terrible waste, the history that’s now a heap of rubble. I imagine being the mother of young children—as Yasmin is—and the terror they lived with as the bombs fell. When their house was hit, they fled to Damascus. When the bombing started there, too, they left for Lebanon and the dark, damp room that now houses eight of them. There is no running water. Their room serves as kitchen, bedroom, living room, toilet. Read the rest of this entry »