As millions of women around the world celebrated International Women’s Day this March, Syrian women continue to live day by day, in fear of death, losing their loved ones, and leaving their homes.
Eman Allawi is a young woman living in Zamalka in the besieged areas of Eastern Ghouta. She wrote this letter for all the women who are living outside her war-torn country, enjoying freedom, and thriving in peace.
She wrote this in the basement of the only standing hospital in Zamalka in East Ghouta, while hiding and away from missile strikes and shelling.
This is Eman’s story–her poignant message to millions of other women who can hear her, feel her, and empathize with her from afar.
“We breathe a sigh of relief for our sons and husbands … our parents and brothers .. even strangers …
Fear is filling our hearts .. every hour, every minute, we lose a piece of ourselves .. Their injuries destroy our eyes and heart
If they are not killed or hurt then it’s their screams
I wish I was deaf to not hear those screams
I wish I was blind to not see the fear instilled in their eyes
What are we guilty of?
What crimes have these children committed? All they ever dreamt of was to live in peace with their families under the roof of their homes. Homes built by their fathers who worked day and night planting and harvesting fruits from our Ghouta.
These harvests are now being sowed with the blood of our children and the blood of our martyrs; we do not know where to bury them.
Our houses have been destroyed and buried under the rubble of buildings. Our houses are guilty of trying to protect us and our loved ones. A humble protection from explosive missiles and weapons—leaving us in a cold and dark place with no signs of life.
When the bombing stops, our eyes become clear and amid the destruction, we begin questioning one another. Are they alive? Is that a dead body? Is that a mother’s body?
There are some who stay under the rubble for days; the rescue teams unable to reach them as the attacks continue.
Days pass and time passes, fear fills my heart and sadness dwells on me as I recall all those I lost, all those I have loved. Some of them martyred, others migrated, some have been displaced. And I ask myself- what is next? Will I lose more? They have already attacked us in our homes, used advanced weaponry on us; they even tried to destroy us by chemicals.
Our hearts are filled with sorrow, our tears have dried from our eyes.
Our wounds will not heal. Our minds can not comprehend out pain, but it has found a home within the ribs of our breasts. Our blood is the ink on the pages of our hearts. We will never forget our past lives.
What kind of life is this?? !!! A life heavy with the roar of aircraft and the explosion of its shells; where afterwards we run to see what has happened and count those we lost.
We feel that our lives are over and this is only a fantasy or a nightmare that we will eventually wake up from.
Hunger and fatigue overwhelms our bodies
When will we ever feel safe with what is left of us?……”