Crossing the Borders

Top-ten best articles in (Worldmerit.Org) competition 2015

April, 8, 2015; 6:35 pm ” I marvel at all the incredible adventures those dear young ones have already experienced and will continue to experience as they enter yet again another country and language. How lucky to have their beautiful brave parents beside them. My thoughts are with you, Sarah”

Through five years of  bloody war in my hometown- Syria, Sarah, June and I have shared over a hundred emails. Each one was a moment of truth; deep sorrows or blissful joy, sometimes tears have flooded our faces and sometimes new horizons were opened. I’ve never thought at all, how humanity could cross the borders between east and west, between country and another.

On March 24, 8:38 p.m., when Sarah sent me 3 snapshots of her outdoor beautiful flowers in California, I wrote her back and attached another photo of Syrian red poppy anemone saying: “Dear Sarah, I can see what’s common between all these pictures; they are all our mother’s nature’s gifts…. And for me you are one of these gifts, dear.” Sarah A. –a theatrical university teacher, June M. –an Italian American gardener and humanitarian, John –an American journalist who wrote a column about my story in Santa cruse local newspaper 2013. Such people are literally my angels through my long journey to the survival shore.

It all started in Syria, in 2011 when war was broken out of nowhere setting fire inside hearts before houses, destroying feelings before foundations, just as I wrote once “new generations will ask blood for blood and the tree of malice growing inside their bodies will become the guillotine to all their opponents! How can we grow up the seed of forgiveness inside their hearts?”.

On October 26, 2011, I wrote to my dearest: “Dear June,… I can’t stand it anymore! When you hold your baby in your arms running from a possible deadly shot, when you feel helpless and speechless towards your crying kids as you can’t give answers or t01stop the madness outside, when your neighbor dies mysteriously, another’s kidnapped –amid all that, you can’t stay fragile or afraid otherwise you will die!…. the best news I can tell you that we are still alive. Your words are always healing and it’s true; an olive tree is not only smiling but her bushes hold people tight wherever they are: it is the power and magic of humanity.” Day after day, over 50% of Homs –my city –was distorted, evacuated, and by the end of 2012, it became the city of shadows or rather of death.

I dare say, June has never stopped being my inspirer to stay bold, to find any narrow bright path of hope in the middle of gloomy realities around. She once said: “within the supposed poverty there is great riches” and when we moved to a safer village, she rejoiced: “Nature gives to everyone, no matter who they are and what they believe. This is universal love”. June who visited Syria 15 years ago, was used to enjoy picking olive trees in villages, she humorously  was nodding repeating that our friendship is just as the roots of olive trees. She has always been so intimate living moment to moment with me, “wondering when and where the next bullet or rocket will land. Making a precious existence in what seems to be great darkness is a greatness in human beings”.

Despite all efforts made by both of us, the  machine of war was more realistic and was pushing  forward over my peoples’ dreams and bodies.  On June 20, 2013, I sent June a glimpse of the overall scene: “Our country is being torn apart.  Brothers are fighting brothers, women have become widows, mothers have lost their sweet young blossoms, and the blossom youngs have lost everything: their ambitions, future, and the simple right to live”. Two days later was the unforgettable Saturday: after losing our house, our birthplace neighborhood in Homs, my husband and I finally decided to leave to Lebanon. For us, saving our kids is a “must” and uncompromising, so eventually crossing the border was inevitable.


Since we left Syria, we have sensed that Lebanon is just a set-off station. We put ahead this project to “knock all the doors” as June advised us. The Australian embassy, the Canadian, the Swiss, the UNHCR and the disappointment we encountered at the American embassy indoors –all of it was a source of frustration to a family of four . We sought churches asking for help: getting jobs, housing, or the best of all affording a secure visa to any safer country. Meanwhile, June was seeking asylum or any refugee program to sponsor us. However, all was in vain and I was determined not to follow any risky illegal entries to any country. So, I felt so desperate. The next week, June sent me a soothing email: “Zero is a round number –it’s an oval, not a straight line leading to ‘the end’. Understandably, you’re disappointed and living in a difficult situation. But you are a wonderful family with so many qualities and gifts. Be patient”.

In September 2013, President Obama’s battleships were heading into the Mediterranean in a mission to bomb Syrian governmental targets as an aftermath of possibly using chemical weapons against civilians. On 3rd September, I wrote to June and Sarah a letter to the president: “Dear Mr. Obama, while your country is celebrating the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech ‘ I have a dream’, my country –Syria is living a very bad dream! What makes Dr. King so impressive is not that he fought for Americans alone, but that he struggled for the whole world. The ‘dream’ is the ‘vision’ of equality between races, ethnicities, colors. We Syrians have such eagerness to ‘dream’…..”. Luckily, the decision of bombing Syria had seized or postponed, and of course, not because of my presidential letter! Yet, my worries towards my country and parents never stopped. June kept saying: “never look back, remember, you’ve crossed the borders literally, your country has changed and you are seeking illusions. Never look back! We will find a way out”

On September 15, 2014, I wrote: “Dear friends, we finally figured our way out! My husband got illegally to Germany after a 14 days long journey. And yes, we broke our oath that we will never risk our lives. But darlings, we couldn’t! We couldn’t bear all high expenses of our living; we couldn’t accept the prejudices of the Lebanese government and the UNHCR against Syrian refugees. The other shock to you, maybe, is that I’m writing from Syria now! We went back until we get our legal reunion papers, so we can join together again as one family in Germany”.

Today, we are still patient, waiting to get our visa for a new life. Today, I realized many things: borders are only illusionary lines invented only in our minds! I crossed the border to Lebanon as a refugee and went back! I sent President Obama a defying email! And most of all, I stepped over the borders between east and west by having such angelic supportive friends. Now, we are ready to new challenges of a new country and new language, yet, hopefully for a new prolonged peaceful life where my two kids will be educated well and cared for perfectly.

Here is the poppies photo I mentioned above and  had sent to Sarah two months ago, I was so grateful to what they have generously offered me so far, so I explained: “There it is, a Syrian lawn, red flowers are just like the love of Syrians to the whole world… they a

Alnaem village, Homs 2012

re so many just as the martyrs who were buried under our holy land, the green grass is that of our hearts raised to love and care, and above all –the whole harmonious colors in the photo are what we –Syrians –are used to be: different sects but one wonderful perfection.

Of course, I will keep having the pain of my country over my shoulders, just like Jesus Christ did with his cross, to the end of my life. I will live a long life and come back to die in this holy land and let my grandchildren pick up a red flower over my grave, that was a promise of three friends living as one soul over this riotous world.


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