First Person

Syria: behind the numbers, the voice of a generation

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In a crisis as complex and humanly devastating as Syria’s, numbers tell only part of the story:  Of the estimated 1.5 million people who have fled the country, more than half are children. That’s more than 750,000 young refugees from one place.

It’s a number that shocks for a fleeting moment—until it’s bumped aside by the next: 4.25 million people displaced inside Syria.  And the next : 6.8 million within the country in urgent need of assistance.

The enormity of these numbers obscures the reality behind them. They are crisis stats, a tidy way to help categorize an emergency and park it in a part of your consciousness where you can be aware of it, but not deeply bothered by it—until you hear the words of Reema, a young Syrian poet and refugee, read in the audio slideshow above by Natasha Milet-Carty, a young American school girl.

Reema, who is afraid to reveal her true identity, speaks for every child wrenched from the security of home and confronted by unbearable destruction. And in Natasha’s narration, you hear the longing and loss of that generation. The fighting has destroyed Reema’s house, her school, her dreams, she says.

But one thing it can’t kill is love.

“All I want is to live in my country in freedom,” writes Reema. “Syria, my beloved country, I love you.”

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