I’m walking barefoot. I feel each and every one of the rocks along the road on the soles of my feet. I think I lost my shoes two days ago. After walking for many hours, I’m not sure how many; we finally arrive at a ghost town just outside of Damascus. We find an empty building and mom and I have decided to rest for a while.
I saved the pen you gave me in my backpack and that’s why I’m writing this in my notebook just as you asked me to Dad. Five days ago you went away, which have seemed like an eternity. I’m sad that you’re not with us but I know what the plan is, we discussed it several times.
My birthday is in a month, do you remember? I’ll be turning twelve. I’m no longer a kid; you can count on me to help mom and my siblings survive this “adventure” as you call it.
I understand that we’ve gone our separate ways so you can find the boat in which we all will escape. I’ll try to help mom as much as I can and hopefully we’ll soon make it to the beach in Lattakia just as you asked us to do.
I have to confess that I’m afraid, I’m thirsty, hungry and I’m very tired, but I also have faith, faith in you, faith that we’ll escape and have our lives back. I have faith that people are good, and soon we’ll find a city that will embrace us and give us peace just for a few months until our dear Damascus returns to normality.
Mom tries to smile every time we exchange glances, but I no longer recognize that smile, it’s just not the same. When she thinks no one is looking, she cries, dad; she cries a lot. I walk over to console her, but her unwavering attitude won’t let me.
My siblings Amira and Sayid are the ones I take care of the most just as you asked. I tell them all day long that we’ll soon meet you. Sayid is the one who eats the least and Amira stopped crying but now she wont talk, even when I sing the songs she likes so much.
Mom says it’s time to go. I’ll see you soon dad, very soon.
Your son, Tarek.
I wrote this letter after watching on the news the terrible situation the Syrian refugees have to deal with. That picture of the little kid lying dead on the beach really touched my heart. And unfortunately this has been a reality for thousands of people for more than four years.
I hope that through these words, I can transmit a bit of empathy and solidarity with the thousands of families who are going through this unbearable situation and what better time than during this season where we give thanks. This Thanksgiving, let’s not only give thanks for being so fortunate, let’s also try to help others as much as we can.
In the following link you can help:
Swedish photographer Magnus Wennman shares with the world these heartbreaking images of how children refugees sleep when the night falls down. The sensibility with which this incredible artist captures these images is really admirable.
In social media, you can find me as @yomarianablog