A voice of a voiceless

Batool zalkha
Posted May 16, 2017 from Syrian Arab Republic
Refugees waiting for assistance

An internal monologue for a refugee, a simple woman who faces discrimination, hatred, and cruelty of humans everywhere…

In this part of this city, in these 200 m2 specifically, you stand in a miniature of Syria. You move around and you can easily hear Syria in different ways and accents, smell it from the carriages of street hawkers selling beans or Sahlep, even taste it; taste the poor part of it… even the dust in the street tries to resemble that in the streets of old destroyed cities.

Wherever you look you will see women in black, Brown, or whatever dark colors they find. Yes this is who we are; we are scared of colors, we feel exposed, Black helps us disguise and keeps us as invisible as we have always been.

It is very noisy in here but I can get myself out of this noise whenever I want. I learnt this technique when I was a child; every time my father would shout or beat my mom I would sit in the corner and sing in my head a song I used to hear from those children who went to school. The song says “those chicks! How cute they are! They are turning around their mom” so that I don’t hear my mom cry, and in times like this I do the same thing but with different songs, I don’t hear any of these women complaining about waiting for several days or since the early morning, I can only hear the song in my head and think of my own problems. I have enough of them!

I hear other women saying that you have to know how to write your name in order to get your assistance. I wish my father (RIP) hears this, he always thought he was protecting us by not sending us to school. He thought I will be more useful in my husband’s house; if only he sees the look on people’s faces when I say I am forty and I don’t know how to write my name! They look at me as if I was a savage coming from some forest. I don’t have the urge to change that look they have. I can’t read or write, I wasn’t sent to school, it is not my fault but then it is my father’s my village’s my people’s fault. What change does this make! In their mind it is either I am a savage or my people are! I don’t care as long as I will find a way to convince them that whatever I write is my name, I would cry, I would beg, I would even act dead, I will not go back home empty handed.

Oh look at my toes, they look funny. I had to take off my socks because we didn’t expect it to rain while waiting. They were wet, they made me cold. I put this nail polish four weeks ago when Ahmad (my little son) slept for thirty minutes during the day. I thought of impressing my husband but he didn’t even notice. Every day when he gets back from his work in construction I feel that another part of him is dying. I hope that seeing his five children growing up creates a strong motivation for him to go on… I can’t help the idea of being alone, I was never allowed to depend on myself, it is even weird that this assistance was sent under my name! I don’t understand why they would give it to the woman while there is a man in the house… they are usually in charge of everything outside the house.

Again I wish my father wasalive to see where we are now and see how different life would be if I was sent to school or learnt to do anything to make a living. Will I repeat the same mistake with my daughters? I will try not to!! Probably to a level… For different reasons; because we are refugees, because we are poor because I can’t afford food on the table. Maybe it is our destiny to be the invisible.

The security guards are annoyed of this number of people; maybe five hundred people are waiting. They count us and give us numbers, perhaps they don’t know that each one of has a story, a life, maybe a love, and a home that were left behind … this is not something we have chosen…

Enough! I have a headache… I need to stop thinking and go back to the song in my head… to the silence there… to being someone in the crowd, someone insignificant, meanwhile I will only imagine the smile on my children’s faces when I come home full handed, this will keep my knees stronger, to stand for the next eight hours.

This post was submitted in response to Share Your Story On Any Topic.

Comments 5

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jlanghus
May 18, 2017
May 18, 2017

Hi Batool. Thanks for sharing your sad story. How long have you known how to read and write? How long have you been a refugee? I do hope that your husband treats you well?

Batool zalkha
May 24, 2017
May 24, 2017

Dear,

this is actually not my own life story as I wrote in the beginning "An internal monologue for a refugee, a simple woman who faces discrimination, hatred, and cruelty of humans everywhere" I am a humanitarian worker and I am educated but this is from a conversation I had with one of the refugees I met in  a service center and she wanted someone to make her voice heard.

thank you

jlanghus
May 24, 2017
May 24, 2017

Hi Batool. Thanks for the clarification. I see. Thanks for sharing her story. I hope she is doing better now.

mae me
May 18, 2017
May 18, 2017

Dear Batool zalkha,

Your story should be heard by many people.  For them to know that life being a refugees are not easy for them to know as you said and I quote.... "they don’t know that each one of has a story, a life, maybe a love, and a home that were left behind … this is not something we have chosen… "  

You have a voice, write it down and let the world hear it...

Kim Crane
Jul 13, 2017
Jul 13, 2017

Hi Batool, it breaks my heart to see so many people who are treated like this, who are made to feel invisible and who struggle so much to have their humanity recognized. You raising your voice and sharing this story means so much. Sending love to you and to the woman whose story you share here.