Maseeha Saloojee | 14 June 2016
(Maseeha is a South African living in Idlib, Syria.)
As I type this out, my heart sits in my throat. I am sitting beside my 2 month old son, ready to calm him down if he awakens.
The sirens are blaring and if you put your head out of the window, you would think you are seeing a ghost town. The streets are completely empty and the houses are all dark.
When the siren halts, the silence is almost unbearable. The smell of smoke fills the air and your eyes burn from the heat. You wonder how many have been added to the list titled simply ‘casulaties’.
Over the past 3 weeks, the Syrian regime, along with its Russian allies, has concentrated a little more of their destructive attention on the city of Idlib. Every Friday saw at least one explosion close to a masjid (mosque) during Jumuah salaah (Friday prayer). It’s only through the mercy of God that they aren’t completely accurate in their targeting.
The afternoon prior to the beginning of Ramadhaan, they intensified their efforts to destroy the place. More than ten explosions rained down on the city, destroying stores and homes and forcing many families to relocate. People lost their cars as fires broke out around the explosions, leaving only black skeletons of their automobiles. Many people were forced to start off the month of Ramadhaan having lost a relative or more and some even lost their livelihood and homes.
Two days ago, I headed out to the marketplace to get essentials for the house. Unwilling to have my little son with me in case anything were to happen, I left him with a friend for the half an hour it took me to go and return. I had barely returned home from the market when the cracks of an explosion echoed across the city and our house shook. My little boy started screaming uncontrollably and I could only calm him down by feeding him. My husband had made me promise to go to a neighbour if there were explosions occurring, so I hastily dressed and exited the house, only taking my mobile with me. As I left the building, I saw black smoke rise over the souk and thanked God that my return had been prior to the airstrike. I later saw a picture of a little boy burned to death being held aloft as they removed people from the rubble. Tears filled my eyes. I wondered how the family must have felt and I remembered my angst and worry just at the fear of my son when the explosion had occurred.
That same day, they targeted an area called Ma’rat Nu’man. From amongst the victims, what touched my heart the most was the father who watched over the bier of his 4 children…All lost in one airstrike.
Just now, they have dropped at least 2 bombs in Idlib city, close enough for me to feel the effects and fear for my little child. As I sit here, I wonder which mothers have become childless, which children have become orphans and which women have become widows. I wonder which baby will never grow up to have a life of his own. And I wonder:
Were those 4 little children or that burned little kid ISIS? Then WHY is the world silent???
May God forgive us for turning a blind eye. Amen.