The Unheard Voices of Syria’s Children
In the Western world, we are far from strangers as to what is happening in Syria. Devastated by war, the country is crying out for salvation. With issues being so widely reported in the international press, we are fully aware of the conflict-related events. However, something not so frequently spoken out about is the direct distress inflicted upon Syria’s children and the unfit lives they lead as a result. It is estimated that there are around 7.5 million youngsters in Syria going through their childhood and thereafter knowing nothing but war. It is hard for one to imagine the lives that these children live, but it is real, it is happening today, and I believe these children deserve a voice.
Everybody has seen the charity appeal adverts, but how many actually absorb what they receive from the TV, radio, posters and magazines? Amongst so many other enticing causes, they often aren’t given much of a second thought. If people of the Western world were more familiar with the unseen, distressing effects of the war on Syria and the unheard voices of its children, then more and more people could empathise with the cause and recognise that this, unfortunately, is all too real and needs to be talked about.
After the issue sparked my interest, I decided to research the Syrian civil war and the knock-on effects for all those living there – with particular focus on the children, as we so rarely hear about them. What I found was shocking to say the least: article after article recounting journalists’ experiences of travelling to Syria and visiting some of its residents, which include some of the most disturbing issues I have ever come across. More and more children are becoming orphans with little or no understanding as to why. Some are so war-stricken that they are faced with no other option than to endure life-risking journeys across the sea in the hope of refuge – with many failing to complete the journey. They are living with the clothes on their backs and little else, having to make arduous journeys to obtain simple necessities that you and I would not give a second thought about. Around 50 percent of children are now no longer able to attend school, subsequently missing out on vital education, which will impact on them throughout the rest of their lives.
Their stories, nevertheless, are far from over, and their spirit shines on through the darkest of days. Whilst researching the cause, I was also met with many positive, overwhelming stories which resulted in my gaining the utmost admiration for these children. I read accounts of a young girl still finishing her exams with top results, regardless of living as a refugee in Za’atari camp in Jordan – she is now eligible to continue her studies onwards and upwards through university and create a better life for her and her family. I read about children articulating the most optimistic and exultant of spirits and expressing hopes for a better future in spite of the horrific goings on in their country – inspirational, to say the very least.
Throughout my research, I have been shocked and saddened, but I’ve also been moved and enthused. The conditions in Syria are nothing short of horrific, yet many Syrians still appreciate the little they have and make the most of every day – they are happy to have their lives, if nothing else. This, however, is the thought that unsettles me the most. Why should the most optimistic amongst us have to endure the worst?
Is it such a curious thought? Why should they deserve any less than, say, you or I do? It’s an undying question and a wholly unanswered one. Together, we should be looking to work with one another to help build a better life for these children and their families also. I suppose the best most of us can do is hope for a better life for these individuals and pray that one day they will get there. Until that day, however, we should keep them in our thoughts and hearts and remember to appreciate all we have as there are so many amongst us in this world who appreciate much, much less.
by Jessica Pardoe
Global Seven News