"I don't want to die feeling like a foreigner"

"Here in Bekaa Valley we have found a little bit of peace, but we dream about returning to our country."

 

Text: Josep Giralt

Photo: Jordi Sanglas

 

Siham is a teacher who fled the war and bombs in Syria with her two children. "There was not one morning when we felt sure that we'd still be alive the day after" she says. "In my country we have a saying that 'delicate hands soften the iron'. I guess that means that, in the face of the brutality of war, reason and intelligence will eventually arise. It didn't turn out like that. Here in Bekaa Valley we have found a little bit of peace, but we dream about returning to our country." 

 

What started as a peaceful uprising against President Baixar al-Assad in March 2011 has become a brutal, bloody civil war that has dragged in regional and international powers.

 

"The only thing that seems to recover their lost childhood is the football field."

 

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the organisation that has provided the most recent data, between 353,593 and 498,593 people died from March 2011 to March 2018. However, the figure could be even higher, but certain areas of the country are hard to reach and it isn't easy to make sense of the numbers presented by the different sides. 

 

"Her two children stand beside her, and look weary of hearing about death, bombs and despair."

 

Siham's face has been shaped by tears. There is a definite air of sadness around her family. Her two children stand beside her, and look weary of hearing about death, bombs and despair. They hold onto their mother, and the only thing that seems to recover their lost childhood is the football field. "Thanks to FutbolNet, they have become children again, although that doesn't mean that there aren't conflicts between Lebanese and Syrian children." Fortunately, the monitors have helped a lot to generate a greater understanding.

According to figures from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), more than five million people have fled Syria because of the war, making it one of the biggest exoduses in recent history.