Why?! My school, my home, my friends-----all gone; some dead, others just disappeared. What have we done to deserve this? At first it was noise in the distance----then the sounds turned into explosions. We couldn’t sleep at night. My brother and I crept in to my Mum’s room. Dad had gone. Mum said that he had business in the next suburb, but she has this strange look on her face.
The last time I had seen that look was when my uncle was taken away by these policemen dressed in black, with their faces hidden. Why did they do that? My Aunty looks so sad all the time now and my cousins cry every night. Mum and Aunty went down to the police station, but they can’t find Uncle. The police say they haven’t got him and told Mum and Aunty to go away. I saw the big guns. That was six weeks ago and now Mum has to give my cousins food.
I went to school three weeks ago, after the holidays, but it was all broken. The windows were all gone and most of the classrooms were wrecked. The students all stood around for a few hours along with three teachers. Where were the other teachers? Mum said it would be fine and that it was a mistake.
That night on TV, a lady was talking about ‘terrorists’ and about how they had turned our city into a death-zone. I asked my Mum what that meant. Her face was grey and her eyes looked like they did when grandmother died. My other older brother kept his face away from us. He wouldn’t answer our questions. That night he left the house. I am sure he took one of the big kitchen knives, because Mum couldn’t find it the next day. We haven’t seen him since.
Over the next few days the sounds got louder and louder. Soon it felt like the house shook every time we heard an explosion. Mum made us all sleep in the cellar. We took our blankets and some food and water. I felt a little bit safer there. The next night our neighbours asked to join us in the little cellar. They brought their two children and we played games until quite late.
Next morning, we climbed out of our cellar and we saw something terrible. In the street outside our broken door, there were three bodies, one of them the son of one of the neighbours. Mum quickly made us go back inside. The adults tried to hide their conversations from us, but we knew that they were very worried. Just before we jammed the broken door shut, I saw men running. They were being chased by soldiers. Every so often they stopped and shot their guns at the soldiers chasing them. As the soldiers ran past our house they threw something into the shop across the road. Hard things hit the wall of our house and we only just stumbled into the cellar, before the roof of our house started falling. Mum screamed, but we were not hurt.
The next day, Mum and the neighbour decided to go out to look for food. They didn’t come back. We are getting very hungry and thirsty. We don’t know what to do. We are getting frightened, because we are all alone in the cellar.
Before the men left, weeks ago I remember hearing them talking about the ‘President,’ and how he didn’t care about the people. I even heard that the President’s men had blown up the Mosque. Dad had said that there were people in there when it happened. He also talked to my uncle about Egypt and Libya. I don’t understand what he was talking about. Those countries are a long way from Homs. I wonder if he wants us to go to those countries now, but who will take us if our parents don’t come back?
Why do the President and his soldiers hate us? They must do, or they wouldn’t be trying to hurt us. My little sister won’t stop crying and the neighbour’s kids look sick. Where is the doctor? Maybe the President has killed him too. Why doesn’t God help us? I say my prayers, five times every day. I want to sleep—maybe I won’t wake up. I wish someone would help us.
ISHTAR---9 YEAR OLD GIRL--- HOMS
ISHTAR---9 YEAR OLD GIRL--- HOMS