“When I was little, I preferred to spend my time with the boys because they agreed to do everything I said! I wanted to be the boss everywhere (laughs)! Even with my older brothers and sisters, I decided everything. And people listened to me because what I said was right. Then one day the war started. We lived in a village in the Daraa region, where it all began. One day during a demonstration, I was at the hospital to visit my grandmother, and I saw the wounded people arriving. There were so many that you had to step over them to get through. When I went home that day, everything had changed. Our quiet village had become very agitated.

The military had surrounded the village with barricades. There were snipers and mines all around us. I was very scared. Then they started to enter the village. They were looting and setting fire to shops, houses, cars. And they were checking identities. If your name was on their list, they took you and you disappeared. After a few months, young people from other villages attacked the military. This made them angry and they started shooting everywhere for hours every day. They didn’t care if there were children or women. Things calmed down a bit afterwards, but the village was still surrounded.

One day, when I was pregnant, they started shooting everywhere in front of my house. At the same time, I started to feel contractions. To escape the shooting, I started to run across the fields. Several times I tripped over stones and when I fell I felt something come loose in my belly. The next day I gave birth to a baby boy and 3 days later he died. I can’t describe how I felt. I was so excited to see him… Shortly after, 6 people in my family were killed, and I was shot in the leg. 22 stitches. I told my husband: Syria stop. And we both fled to Lebanon.

The situation there was very bad, we managed as best we could. One day I was talking on the phone with my sister and I heard a big explosion and the phone went dead. I thought: this is it, my whole family is dead. At that moment I was pregnant again, in my 6th month. Because of the emotional shock, I started to bleed. For 15 days I had no news from them. Fortunately they survived, but I was in a serious situation physically. Even the doctor asked me how I was coping with all this pain. All I could think of was how to keep my baby alive. The baby was born 2 months later, but he was already dead…

A few months later my brother was killed and my husband died in a car accident. I found myself alone in Lebanon. No family, no one. It was misery. My husband and I were so much in love. It’s so rare for a couple to get along so well. I was so sad. So I went back to Syria. The village was still surrounded and every day I was there, someone was killed. After 4 months I couldn’t stand it anymore. I couldn’t sleep and I had lost 30 kg. So I went back to Lebanon. I had nothing left. I had nothing. But when I arrived, I said to myself: this time I’m starting my life again from scratch.

I started by working at a daycare and I gave Arabic lessons. At the same time, I was taking classes at a beauty institute. I graduated first in my class, and UNICEF bought me all the equipment to open a beauty salon. Before that, I was depressed, I spent all my time crying. But when I opened the salon, everything changed. There were about ten girls working for me and I trained them. I was very good and the clients liked my work very much. I got a lot of support, and I made a lot of friendships. And most importantly, I was so busy that I could not think about all my sadness.

Then Lebanon passed a law that every Syrian has to pay 12’000 dollars to have a shop. So I decided to close the shop and I told the UN people that I wanted to leave. I had no plans, I just wanted to leave. I had suffered too much here and I had nothing left to lose. Then when they told me I would go to Switzerland, it was like a dream! At first I thought I would be safe. Then I looked on the internet and thought: ah I’m going to have to milk cows (laughs)! At the airport they put a stamp that I was banned from Lebanon for 5 years. I said: “Please, put 20 years in case I am stupid enough to come back!”

When I came here, I started over again.  I only came for two things: to be safe and to start a family. I have already remarried but my husband is in Turkey and he can be deported to Syria at any time. If that happens, that’s it, he will be killed. And I am too tired to start all over again. I am trying to bring him here, but the laws are very difficult. The people here are lovely and I feel safe. There are all the comforts too. It’s a good country to live in. But not alone. And I’ve been alone in a small room for 14 months thinking about my husband and I’m even more depressed than in Lebanon.

My heart is too full of pain. When I think of all that I have been through, I cry… If the wounds were only on the skin, they could be healed. But my wounds are too deep. But I still have a lot of hope in me and I’m ready to make the effort to find a way out, to get my husband and to start a family. I am a very active person. If I succeed, then I would like to open a beauty salon here, and train women who have suffered violence and help them. One day, Inchallah, I will forget all my sufferings and I will only think about happy moments.”

Published as part of the mini-series “Of frontiers and women”, produced in partnership with APDH. | Translated from Arabic

Toutes les histoires

“When I was little, I preferred to spend my time with the boys because they agreed to do everything I said! I wanted to be the boss everywhere (laughs)! Even with my older brothers and sisters, I decided everything. And people listened to me because what I said was right. Then one day the war started. We lived in a village in the Daraa region, where it all began. One day during a demonstration, I was at the hospital to visit my grandmother, and I saw the wounded people arriving. There were so many that you had to step over them to get through. When I went home that day, everything had changed. Our quiet village had become very agitated.

The military had surrounded the village with barricades. There were snipers and mines all around us. I was very scared. Then they started to enter the village. They were looting and setting fire to shops, houses, cars. And they were checking identities. If your name was on their list, they took you and you disappeared. After a few months, young people from other villages attacked the military. This made them angry and they started shooting everywhere for hours every day. They didn’t care if there were children or women. Things calmed down a bit afterwards, but the village was still surrounded.

One day, when I was pregnant, they started shooting everywhere in front of my house. At the same time, I started to feel contractions. To escape the shooting, I started to run across the fields. Several times I tripped over stones and when I fell I felt something come loose in my belly. The next day I gave birth to a baby boy and 3 days later he died. I can’t describe how I felt. I was so excited to see him… Shortly after, 6 people in my family were killed, and I was shot in the leg. 22 stitches. I told my husband: Syria stop. And we both fled to Lebanon.

The situation there was very bad, we managed as best we could. One day I was talking on the phone with my sister and I heard a big explosion and the phone went dead. I thought: this is it, my whole family is dead. At that moment I was pregnant again, in my 6th month. Because of the emotional shock, I started to bleed. For 15 days I had no news from them. Fortunately they survived, but I was in a serious situation physically. Even the doctor asked me how I was coping with all this pain. All I could think of was how to keep my baby alive. The baby was born 2 months later, but he was already dead…

A few months later my brother was killed and my husband died in a car accident. I found myself alone in Lebanon. No family, no one. It was misery. My husband and I were so much in love. It’s so rare for a couple to get along so well. I was so sad. So I went back to Syria. The village was still surrounded and every day I was there, someone was killed. After 4 months I couldn’t stand it anymore. I couldn’t sleep and I had lost 30 kg. So I went back to Lebanon. I had nothing left. I had nothing. But when I arrived, I said to myself: this time I’m starting my life again from scratch.

I started by working at a daycare and I gave Arabic lessons. At the same time, I was taking classes at a beauty institute. I graduated first in my class, and UNICEF bought me all the equipment to open a beauty salon. Before that, I was depressed, I spent all my time crying. But when I opened the salon, everything changed. There were about ten girls working for me and I trained them. I was very good and the clients liked my work very much. I got a lot of support, and I made a lot of friendships. And most importantly, I was so busy that I could not think about all my sadness.

Then Lebanon passed a law that every Syrian has to pay 12’000 dollars to have a shop. So I decided to close the shop and I told the UN people that I wanted to leave. I had no plans, I just wanted to leave. I had suffered too much here and I had nothing left to lose. Then when they told me I would go to Switzerland, it was like a dream! At first I thought I would be safe. Then I looked on the internet and thought: ah I’m going to have to milk cows (laughs)! At the airport they put a stamp that I was banned from Lebanon for 5 years. I said: “Please, put 20 years in case I am stupid enough to come back!”

When I came here, I started over again.  I only came for two things: to be safe and to start a family. I have already remarried but my husband is in Turkey and he can be deported to Syria at any time. If that happens, that’s it, he will be killed. And I am too tired to start all over again. I am trying to bring him here, but the laws are very difficult. The people here are lovely and I feel safe. There are all the comforts too. It’s a good country to live in. But not alone. And I’ve been alone in a small room for 14 months thinking about my husband and I’m even more depressed than in Lebanon.

My heart is too full of pain. When I think of all that I have been through, I cry… If the wounds were only on the skin, they could be healed. But my wounds are too deep. But I still have a lot of hope in me and I’m ready to make the effort to find a way out, to get my husband and to start a family. I am a very active person. If I succeed, then I would like to open a beauty salon here, and train women who have suffered violence and help them. One day, Inchallah, I will forget all my sufferings and I will only think about happy moments.”

Published as part of the mini-series “Of frontiers and women”, produced in partnership with APDH. | Translated from Arabic

Toutes les histoires
Published On: 21 October 2022

“When I was little, I preferred to spend my time with the boys because they agreed to do everything I said! I wanted to be the boss everywhere (laughs)! Even with my older brothers and sisters, I decided everything. And people listened to me because what I said was right. Then one day the war started. We lived in a village in the Daraa region, where it all began. One day during a demonstration, I was at the hospital to visit my grandmother, and I saw the wounded people arriving. There were so many that you had to step over them to get through. When I went home that day, everything had changed. Our quiet village had become very agitated.

The military had surrounded the village with barricades. There were snipers and mines all around us. I was very scared. Then they started to enter the village. They were looting and setting fire to shops, houses, cars. And they were checking identities. If your name was on their list, they took you and you disappeared. After a few months, young people from other villages attacked the military. This made them angry and they started shooting everywhere for hours every day. They didn’t care if there were children or women. Things calmed down a bit afterwards, but the village was still surrounded.

One day, when I was pregnant, they started shooting everywhere in front of my house. At the same time, I started to feel contractions. To escape the shooting, I started to run across the fields. Several times I tripped over stones and when I fell I felt something come loose in my belly. The next day I gave birth to a baby boy and 3 days later he died. I can’t describe how I felt. I was so excited to see him… Shortly after, 6 people in my family were killed, and I was shot in the leg. 22 stitches. I told my husband: Syria stop. And we both fled to Lebanon.

The situation there was very bad, we managed as best we could. One day I was talking on the phone with my sister and I heard a big explosion and the phone went dead. I thought: this is it, my whole family is dead. At that moment I was pregnant again, in my 6th month. Because of the emotional shock, I started to bleed. For 15 days I had no news from them. Fortunately they survived, but I was in a serious situation physically. Even the doctor asked me how I was coping with all this pain. All I could think of was how to keep my baby alive. The baby was born 2 months later, but he was already dead…

A few months later my brother was killed and my husband died in a car accident. I found myself alone in Lebanon. No family, no one. It was misery. My husband and I were so much in love. It’s so rare for a couple to get along so well. I was so sad. So I went back to Syria. The village was still surrounded and every day I was there, someone was killed. After 4 months I couldn’t stand it anymore. I couldn’t sleep and I had lost 30 kg. So I went back to Lebanon. I had nothing left. I had nothing. But when I arrived, I said to myself: this time I’m starting my life again from scratch.

I started by working at a daycare and I gave Arabic lessons. At the same time, I was taking classes at a beauty institute. I graduated first in my class, and UNICEF bought me all the equipment to open a beauty salon. Before that, I was depressed, I spent all my time crying. But when I opened the salon, everything changed. There were about ten girls working for me and I trained them. I was very good and the clients liked my work very much. I got a lot of support, and I made a lot of friendships. And most importantly, I was so busy that I could not think about all my sadness.

Then Lebanon passed a law that every Syrian has to pay 12’000 dollars to have a shop. So I decided to close the shop and I told the UN people that I wanted to leave. I had no plans, I just wanted to leave. I had suffered too much here and I had nothing left to lose. Then when they told me I would go to Switzerland, it was like a dream! At first I thought I would be safe. Then I looked on the internet and thought: ah I’m going to have to milk cows (laughs)! At the airport they put a stamp that I was banned from Lebanon for 5 years. I said: “Please, put 20 years in case I am stupid enough to come back!”

When I came here, I started over again.  I only came for two things: to be safe and to start a family. I have already remarried but my husband is in Turkey and he can be deported to Syria at any time. If that happens, that’s it, he will be killed. And I am too tired to start all over again. I am trying to bring him here, but the laws are very difficult. The people here are lovely and I feel safe. There are all the comforts too. It’s a good country to live in. But not alone. And I’ve been alone in a small room for 14 months thinking about my husband and I’m even more depressed than in Lebanon.

My heart is too full of pain. When I think of all that I have been through, I cry… If the wounds were only on the skin, they could be healed. But my wounds are too deep. But I still have a lot of hope in me and I’m ready to make the effort to find a way out, to get my husband and to start a family. I am a very active person. If I succeed, then I would like to open a beauty salon here, and train women who have suffered violence and help them. One day, Inchallah, I will forget all my sufferings and I will only think about happy moments.”

Published as part of the mini-series “Of frontiers and women”, produced in partnership with APDH. | Translated from Arabic

Toutes les histoires

“When I was little, I preferred to spend my time with the boys because they agreed to do everything I said! I wanted to be the boss everywhere (laughs)! Even with my older brothers and sisters, I decided everything. And people listened to me because what I said was right. Then one day the war started. We lived in a village in the Daraa region, where it all began. One day during a demonstration, I was at the hospital to visit my grandmother, and I saw the wounded people arriving. There were so many that you had to step over them to get through. When I went home that day, everything had changed. Our quiet village had become very agitated.

The military had surrounded the village with barricades. There were snipers and mines all around us. I was very scared. Then they started to enter the village. They were looting and setting fire to shops, houses, cars. And they were checking identities. If your name was on their list, they took you and you disappeared. After a few months, young people from other villages attacked the military. This made them angry and they started shooting everywhere for hours every day. They didn’t care if there were children or women. Things calmed down a bit afterwards, but the village was still surrounded.

One day, when I was pregnant, they started shooting everywhere in front of my house. At the same time, I started to feel contractions. To escape the shooting, I started to run across the fields. Several times I tripped over stones and when I fell I felt something come loose in my belly. The next day I gave birth to a baby boy and 3 days later he died. I can’t describe how I felt. I was so excited to see him… Shortly after, 6 people in my family were killed, and I was shot in the leg. 22 stitches. I told my husband: Syria stop. And we both fled to Lebanon.

The situation there was very bad, we managed as best we could. One day I was talking on the phone with my sister and I heard a big explosion and the phone went dead. I thought: this is it, my whole family is dead. At that moment I was pregnant again, in my 6th month. Because of the emotional shock, I started to bleed. For 15 days I had no news from them. Fortunately they survived, but I was in a serious situation physically. Even the doctor asked me how I was coping with all this pain. All I could think of was how to keep my baby alive. The baby was born 2 months later, but he was already dead…

A few months later my brother was killed and my husband died in a car accident. I found myself alone in Lebanon. No family, no one. It was misery. My husband and I were so much in love. It’s so rare for a couple to get along so well. I was so sad. So I went back to Syria. The village was still surrounded and every day I was there, someone was killed. After 4 months I couldn’t stand it anymore. I couldn’t sleep and I had lost 30 kg. So I went back to Lebanon. I had nothing left. I had nothing. But when I arrived, I said to myself: this time I’m starting my life again from scratch.

I started by working at a daycare and I gave Arabic lessons. At the same time, I was taking classes at a beauty institute. I graduated first in my class, and UNICEF bought me all the equipment to open a beauty salon. Before that, I was depressed, I spent all my time crying. But when I opened the salon, everything changed. There were about ten girls working for me and I trained them. I was very good and the clients liked my work very much. I got a lot of support, and I made a lot of friendships. And most importantly, I was so busy that I could not think about all my sadness.

Then Lebanon passed a law that every Syrian has to pay 12’000 dollars to have a shop. So I decided to close the shop and I told the UN people that I wanted to leave. I had no plans, I just wanted to leave. I had suffered too much here and I had nothing left to lose. Then when they told me I would go to Switzerland, it was like a dream! At first I thought I would be safe. Then I looked on the internet and thought: ah I’m going to have to milk cows (laughs)! At the airport they put a stamp that I was banned from Lebanon for 5 years. I said: “Please, put 20 years in case I am stupid enough to come back!”

When I came here, I started over again.  I only came for two things: to be safe and to start a family. I have already remarried but my husband is in Turkey and he can be deported to Syria at any time. If that happens, that’s it, he will be killed. And I am too tired to start all over again. I am trying to bring him here, but the laws are very difficult. The people here are lovely and I feel safe. There are all the comforts too. It’s a good country to live in. But not alone. And I’ve been alone in a small room for 14 months thinking about my husband and I’m even more depressed than in Lebanon.

My heart is too full of pain. When I think of all that I have been through, I cry… If the wounds were only on the skin, they could be healed. But my wounds are too deep. But I still have a lot of hope in me and I’m ready to make the effort to find a way out, to get my husband and to start a family. I am a very active person. If I succeed, then I would like to open a beauty salon here, and train women who have suffered violence and help them. One day, Inchallah, I will forget all my sufferings and I will only think about happy moments.”

Published as part of the mini-series “Of frontiers and women”, produced in partnership with APDH. | Translated from Arabic

Toutes les histoires
Published On: 21 October 2022