War changed my life by Motasem Arisheh, Syria

My story starts as every other story does as a calm, sunny day, I can still clearly remember that date and to be frank, who doesn’t in Syria!! It was 16.12.2012 when I was at school and I received an urgent phone call from a friend warning me and said: “Don’t go back home today, It’s not safe anymore”. At that moment, I didn’t understand a thing! “Why?” I kept thinking, “what happened?”I knew that there was an ongoing war in Syria. I knew that my Grandfather and Grandmother left their home in about five minutes when they were in Palestine 68 years ago, but could that still be possible in the 21st century?! I did not think it could happen, but it did.


A warplane had just bombed an area crowded with people in the same area I used to live in Yarmouk Camp, tens of people were killed.Thousands of people went to the streets with no home and no safe destination to go to.


I have never experienced such a harsh tragedy ever before! This was unimaginable to see and to be a part of. I was astonished when more and more of my friends phones started to ring in class. All of their parents were warning them: “don’t return home today!” I still didn’t understand a thing! I thought for a while: “I have nothing but my home, and now what, I have nothing!” In an instant, everything was different. It was a really harsh moment to see the result of what you worked for all of your life and seeing it disappear in a mere instant.  At that moment, I was only 16 years old and I didn’t truly understand what was happening.  I thought it would just be a short period of time and I would go back to my humble, beautiful home. I thought that I would sleep on my bed again, wear my old clothes which I used to love, say goodbye to my Mom every day leaving to school, and smell her delicious food when I come back.

I could not deny how hard this situation was. I was in shock. I lost everything at one brief moment. After this situation, I moved with my family to a safer place in the capital and we started to acclimate with the new environment and our new “temporary home”. My family and I lived in the new home for four years. This period was a turning point in my new life, I was no longer a kid.  What had been done to us would create us- and hard events would create new people, new thoughts, new views and literally a new us. I started to re-start my life again, be reborn again, re-see the world, rebuild what the war had broken in me, and re-build a new me. I grew a lot from this situation.

Four years after that bloody day, I am in Germany trying to start a new life, with a new mentality. My family is still living in Damascus-Syria. They are in a safer area  than the one we used to live in. Looking back, I can see exactly what has changed inside me, looking back I can see that they can take my home, my body, my money but they can’t take my thoughts. No one can take away my hope, my dreams, nor my thoughts.

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