Every time the word Syria comes up, images of refugees, tents and ravaged landscapes come to mind. Being privileged means living a decent, comfortable life with our rights protected and provided for, a life as the one we have here in the Kingdom as well as in many other countries.
Over the years, we have been numbed by the continuous news of bombings and destruction and by the reports about hundreds of thousands of deaths and displacements.
Where has our humanity disappeared? Why is the international community so helpless in finding solutions? Why have global pleas fallen on deaf ears? A recent survey by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) found that “one out of six Syrians had one of their parents either killed or wounded” and that “50 percent of Syrians had friends or a family member who was killed.”
The report also shows that “nearly half of the young Syrians have lost their (sources of) income because of the conflict and almost eight in 10 reportedly struggle to afford food and other necessities.”
Millions of children have been out of schools in a society that once prided itself on its education, and where the teaching of the Arabic language was considered one of the best in the region.
Millions of children have been out of schools in a society that once prided itself on its education.
Women have been hit hard and rendered jobless when they are desperate to feed their families. As the situation worsens daily because of this war, the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and the degenerating financial crisis, we can only wonder at the long-term repercussions and the way this country is going to rebuild itself and, more poignantly, when.
Adults and older children fondly recall a prosperous Syria, a country they would like to return to, where everything was in color compared to the black-and-white picture of today. But what of all those children who were born during the conflict, who have only known the war-torn Syria of today?
When the time comes to rebuild their country, these future young adults will have no memories or history on which to base their future.
They were born into a world where they cannot comprehend the reminiscences of their parents or imagine a world where children have the right to play, laugh and live their childhood without seeing death, blood or rubble on a daily basis. The future generation of Syrians is malnourished, uneducated, deprived and poor.
On March 15, the Syrian conflict entered its 10th year. It has completed 10 years of chaotic inhumane devastation, foreign intervention and inappropriate alliances, and 10 years of ineffective solutions. My prayers and thoughts go out to the Syrian people but more so to the Syrian children without a childhood, without a past and without a future.
• Hoda Al-Helaissi has been a member of the Shoura Council since 2013. She is also a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee within the Shoura.