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My Syrian Diary Part 43

Marah, a teenage girl from one of Syria’s besieged cities, shares her stories of life in the war. She recently moved to Damascus to continue her education, deciding to focus her college studies on prosthetics, which she hopes to use to help heal the injured in her country’s conflict.

Written by Marah Published on Read time Approx. 2 minutes

Despite all the hardships of life, and despite all the closed doors, there are some little windows though which light always reaches us. My college is a source of light in my life. It is where I meet people and experience life. Although I hear many tragic stories every day, college is the place that helps me forget my issues and concerns. But the craziness of our times even reaches the academy. Two days ago, security officers raided our college and chased students, attempting to arrest them. Everyone was very scared, and male students were running like little mice. I do not mean by this analogy to demean my friends. It just felt that, in that moment, they were not human beings with the right to respect. The security officers were looking for particular names, but as usual they instilled terror in the whole place.

Many of my friends want to leave the country, but traveling is very expensive and everyone has spent all their savings in the last few years. I think that because of this forced migration, females in Syria significantly outnumber males. I understand why everyone is trying to leave. Life here is like a frightening wilderness – there is no stability and no security, and therefore life cannot thrive or be fully lived.

I sometimes wonder why I am still attached to my studies – maybe because it was my choice to study prosthetics. Or maybe I am attached because I hope that one day I might be able to help those who have lost both their limbs and their hope. It’s hard for you to understand what I mean, because you come from a very different place. Where I live, when someone loses a limb, she becomes handicapped, disabled and dependent, while in the advanced world, I hear that people who have lost limbs not only live full and normal lives – they even have competitive sporting leagues.

You know, despite all the humiliation and deprivation that I have faced in my city, I still truly love it. I love its people. Maybe because I was raised as a forgiving person, forgiveness is something the conflict couldn’t take away from me. I used to think that forgiveness was a sign of weakness, but I now realize that forgiveness is a source of strength. That said, I admit that there are some people whom I hate, like the owner of our building, who keeps increasing the rent whenever he can, even though he knows how bad our situation is.

They are doing renovations at work, so my manager asked me to take two months off, which means that I can commit all of my time to my studies. While this is positive, it also decreases my income, which makes life harder for me, since I have to pay for my own education and transportation expenses. I think that I will have to look for a part-time job during these two months.

One thing that stresses me out is that my friends were able to develop themselves this summer. They enrolled in language and computer classes, while all I did was struggle to generate income. I have many desires, but I cannot pursue any of them. “I would like” and “I want” are expressions I don’t use anymore, but I do want many things that I cannot afford. Will a day come when I live with dignity?

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