A child with special needs - Image source: exclusive to “Lelun”
A child with special needs - Image source: exclusive to “Lelun”

I live my life here in misery as if I live it only so as not to die

A story of displacement

My mother’s psychological condition deteriorated due to the fear of the shells, but I said: “No matter what happens, I will not leave my house”. Shells were falling around our house. We saw scout planes and helicopters hovering over the village. The idea of leaving the village did not occur to me for a moment. At that time, all the women and children were taken out and the men remained. My brother scolded me and called me stubborn because there were no women left in the village except me, but I said: “Where will I go while this disabled boy is with me? And how will I get out…!? “

My father brought a car, and we went with my mother and my disabled son to the Alka village. If only one person had stayed with me, I would not have left my house. We spent a night there. Later we went to the Afrin city, while news was about the occupation of the villages surrounding our village.

We stayed in the Afrin city in a house under construction, with no doors or windows, devoid of bedding and blankets, as we had gone out wearing only our clothes, and the rain was pouring down. We spent a whole week in that miserable house.

My husband’s brother called and asked us to stay with him for that time. His house was one room. We stayed there for about a week as well. We saw people leaving Afrin, while my father said: “If all of Afrin is destroyed, I will not leave it.”

On 16th March 2018, I saw people leaving in convoys of cars lined up one after another, and those who did not own a car or tractor would go out on foot. As for me, I called my cousins to help me get out and not leave me alone, while my eldest son, who is twenty-three years old, did not join us.

My cousin, who is my eldest son’s age, came and carried my eighteen-year-old disabled son on his back with great difficulty, and walked us to the Kawa Roundabout, where their car and tractor were parked. We were five families, four families rode the tractor, while we rode the car, which broke down while we were climbing Dream Mountain, after spending two days on the road. Ambulances were passing by us, and we were terrified by the sound of explosions and shells and the flight of military aircraft in the sky. We left in bitter agony and suffering as the heavy rain continued to fall, which led to water leaking through the cracks into the car in light of the extreme cold and extreme terror.

Halfway through the road, as we were about to reach the top of Mount Dreams, the car ran out of fuel, but where was the gas? And where are we…!? So, my cousin asked us to get out of the car and walk until we joined the tractor because we had left the car behind us where it stopped.

My old father and my sick mother walked, while I was holding the hand of my disabled son as we tried to survive. No one could stop, especially cars and vehicles because the road was dangerous and bumpy and people were rushing to save their lives.

We had no resources or energy left to complete the road, yet we struggled to reach the tractor and rode it heading to the village of “Kimar” after we had crossed this terrifying mountain with great difficulty.

There we stopped to rest and sleep a little after we had forgotten to sleep for days on our way to escaping death. We spent the night in my cousin’s small car. There were six of us in a Mercedes car and my disabled son was sitting on my knee. I couldn’t feel my feet anymore, as the weather was cold and the rain was heavy. I told my mother: “I will go down and knock on any door because it is difficult to stay up all night with someone sitting on your knees in a small car that does not have room to stretch your legs.”

I got out of the car, went to one of the houses, and knocked on the door. A woman who was very kind to me opened it and said: “Come, too, and sleep with your son.” I said to her: “My father and mother are with me as well.” She did not refuse, but rather invited them to come inside with us.

As for the other four families who were with us, they slept in the tractors, while my aunt’s young son placed their beds in the street and slept until morning in the rain. It was a tough night for us, and I still remember its details as if I were living it now.

We had a warm night as if we hadn’t slept for years, a warm blanket, a soft sponge and a quiet room. How comfortable it was! I remembered the warmth of my home in Aleppo before the Syrian war. My husband, the tailor, and I were living a beautiful, quiet life with our two sons, but the war spoiled everything beautiful.

My husband had a heart attack after we were displaced from Aleppo to the village and he died as a result, leaving me alone with two small children. So, I lived with my mother, until I built a private house nearby from my family’s house and we lived there. My life was happy before the war, with these beautiful imaginations.

I fell into a deep sleep, and early in the morning we had to set off for a destination that we knew only that we had to leave. We thanked them and set off into the unknown, to a place we do not know.

I called my brother-in-law, who came as soon as he found out where we were, and drove us in his car to his house in the Bayne (Bênê) village, where the tractors were returning to Afrin. My father got into one of them and said: “I will return to my village, I will not remain homeless like this, and I have a house waiting for me.”

I went up to him, refusing to let him go alone, but the tractor owner said to me: “My daughter! You are the Kurdish language teacher, so it is better for you not to come back.” So, I left, forced to let my father go alone. My mother refused to return with him and stayed with me, but until now I have not felt the heartache that I felt as I bid farewell to my father, who returned to his village.

My mother stayed with me for fifteen days in the Bayne village. I called my eldest son and directed him to my place of residence to come to us. After the situation calmed down, he came to me. I was very happy as if I had life again, but I quickly lost it when my mother returned to the village, where my father was waiting for her.

After several days, my cousin, who lived in the village of Harbel, called me. I told him that we were seven families living in one house, waiting in line to reserve our turn to enter the bathroom. We were tortured and suffered enough to appear older than our years, so my cousin asked us to come to the village of Harbel, which is considered a front line opposite the Mareh city.

He sent us a car and we went there. We lived in his house for two months while we were waiting for news of our return to Afrin, and were even certain that we would return within a few days but those days turned into weeks, months, and years.

We left his house, which was inhabited by three families, which created daily problems between us, so we were forced to move out and live in a nearby house alone, me and my two sons.

My eldest son worked in an institution, and I returned to teaching at Harbel Primary School. I took my disabled son with me in the stroller, as I have no one to leave him with. My mother was taking care of him in my absence but she is gone.

I live my life here in misery, as if I live it only so as not to die. My son’s illnesses multiplied, and I spent my days of displacement here between hospitals and school. I have not felt the joy of life since I left my home. I have been running day and night searching for a living.

We endure all this misery in the hope of returning home, even after a while. We still cling to that hope, even if it is small.

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