Syrian women: life stories from the frontline

Thursday, 22 June 2017 07:47
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by Giulia Nembrini*
EPOS Insights


When the war began, it signaled the end of many things for people living in Aleppo and throughout Syria. The conflict quickly morphed into a strategic and geopolitical issue of profound importance for the balance of powers in the Middle East. Major players with significant interests into the game were dragged into the middle. The war, which is still being waged throughout the country has changed it in countless ways. The politics behind this war affects the lives of the people who just want to see their children grow up, or experience the religious freedom that the government promised them before the outbreak of the conflict; now they seem to be promises of another era. They do not know much about the complex dynamics of the conflict, they just yearn for peace. This has left me with a sense of bewilderment ever since I visited refugees in Lebanon and Jordan, Life is what they long for.

Fahima, Antoinette, Kinda, Lina, Rania, Rim and Samar are women who were studying, working, and taking care of their families. They tell their stories and they cry for what they lost due to this terrible war: children, mothers, apartments, money, and the possibility to live a hopeful life of promise. The dramatic stories they shared underline the deep sorrow that still inhabits their souls and minds. It has only taken six years since the outbreak of this civil war for it to produce the largest refugee crisis since World War II. Some of these people are desperately trying to reach new places such as Europe, Australia and North America, but in the Western world the good politics for the good of the peoples seem to have abdicated in favor of building walls and focusing only on the national interest that need to be preserved. There is not much debate regarding the actual identities of people who are reaching the coasts of the Old Continent: who they really are and how they could contribute to society should be a matter of public discussion. Statistically, it is a phenomenon that is severely testing the capacity of the European Union to act as a real player. Not much is added to the picture.

Despite the tragic circumstances Fahima, Lina and thousands of women like them continue to struggle for the well-being of their loved ones, themselves and for the country they have called home since birth. These women do not want to flee to Europe, Australia or America. Fahima is enrolled in courses at the local university; she hope to be able to help the population one day by becoming a psychologist. She affirms that Syria now “needs the women to take a major responsibility in rebuilding the riven society”. Women need to have equal opportunities when it comes to education in order to provide a larger portion of the population with the required skills the nation needs in order to rebuild, fields such as medicine and education could greatly benefit from an influx of female students and professionals. Fahima is a brave young woman from Aleppo, the city wistfully known worldwide for its destruction, carried out by the regime and radical forces for the past few years.

Hundreds of women whose names will forever remain unknown to the public, mainstream media and international newspapers, but exist, keep living in the rubble and violence of the once-splendid Middle Eastern cities. Their ordinary lives adapted to the knell of death, explosions and other sounds of anguish. It must be a daunting life to live.

The overall picture might seem quite bleak, nevertheless hope still manages to survive and flourish a midst the destruction and ongoing skirmishes. If in the international fora reaching a long-lasting agreement is proving to be a daunting task and difficult to achieve, it is on the ground, in the small villages of the country, in Damascus and in Aleppo, where real people fight their most important battles: surrender to the dire situation as it is right now, or start from scratch by bolstering the reconstruction of the country, reinforcing the rule of law and the respect of religious freedom by uniting and helping each other despite ideological and religious differences. The focal point is not only in the international arena where the great powers struggle to defend their own interests in the region, but rather on the ground, where the battle for reconstruction of an order and of a wounded people is taking please. Silently.


*Giulia Nembrini tweets at @GiuliaNembrini


DISCLAIMER: The views expressed in this article are the authors' own and do not necessarily reflect EPOS WorldView’s

Last modified on Friday, 23 June 2017 07:58
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