On World Refugee Day we share a story from Christina, Settam’s wife. – Decisions have become difficult to make. Many times it was a life or death issue, just like when I decided to go back to Aleppo in June, 2013 to get my MD in Pathology. Besides the dangerous trip, I had to stay for almost nine months in a risky security situation. Then I came back to Mhardeh, my home town which is on the confrontation line. It still is. More than 10,000 bombs have been dropped onto the town.
Through all those difficult times, the people who are mostly civilians, are driven by their willingness to live. They have kept sending their children to school, celebrating occasions, working and all sorts of normal activities. All of this is scheduled according to the expected bombing timetable. For example, my mother adores her early morning walk, and she has not stopped this habit even during the war. She says “By the time I return home, the bombers will still be asleep”. As well as the time after the sunset when there is a lower possibility for bombing, you can see the young people celebrating their youthfulness, beautifully dressed up hanging around at the town centre, sitting at cafes laughing and joking as if nothing could threaten their lives the next day.
Actually, many of them are volunteers with the civil defence force, the warning and emergency teams and the first aid crews, which have been created and organised by the Mahardian people to effectively manage the dangerous situations the bombing causes. Only heroes can handle all of this. Indeed, those legends who harmonise and survive together, are at the same time, those who attend the burial after a rocket chop penetrates a body and ends a life.
I admit that I am not a hero. When I watch the children, these little angles who have to face the horrors of the war, I feel that I am so weak and helpless. I wish that I could prevent bombs from touching them, and give them all the peace and happiness they deserve.
My husband Settam and I now assume the safety and the future of our kids. This war is not their responsibility as it is not our fault. We left behind our dear home, our beloved parents, friends and relatives seeking peace, for a place where our children and dreams would thrive.
We are overwhelmed by happiness that Australia has welcomed us. Australia is a beautiful country by all its meanings, and I hope that one day we will be able to give back to this country and its people, even a small part of the massive gift they have given to us.
Christina Frasheh is a humanitarian refugee from Syria. She is studying Level 3 AMEP at Wyndham Community and Education Centre in Geelong CBD. Photo: supplied. #withrefugees #refugeeweek2019