Forsaken Under the Earthquakes .. Testimonies of Women in the Stricken Syrian Regions
In one of the stricken areas of Syria, Hayat (a pseudonym – 30 years old) took refuge with her two young children.
An infant who barely exceeded his first year, and a four-year-old girl, with whom she fled from their building, which was destroyed over the heads of many of its residents.
In the corner of the shop, there is a medical bed on which Heba (a pseudonym – 26 years old) lies.
A crippled young woman with asthma and heart problems, she is now in Hayat’s care, after her family left her to her fate on the night of the earthquake.
Heba was calling the numbers of those who volunteered to provide aid, asking for milk for the infant, the son of the woman she was caring for after her family left her, and diapers of a small size for him and a large size for her.
Is Surviving Earthquakes and Remaining Alive Really Surviving?
In an interview with “Sharika Walaken,” Heba said, “It is not the first time that they have left me alone in danger, hoping that I would die and they would get rid of me.”
She added, “I don’t know why I haven’t died so far, so I can survive my death? Who said that remaining alive is really surviving?
Heba does not fight back her tears, on the contrary, she expresses her happiness in the midst of all this devastation.
The reason is that she was finally able to cry again! After many years, during which her eyes had dried up, as a result of getting used to pain, oppression, humiliation and neglect.
That night, the neighbors heard Heba crying, after her family fled to save themselves, and they could not carry her with them, in moments of terror that captured minds and hearts.
So, two young men from the neighborhood volunteered, and risked their lives without hesitation to bring her and her bed down, despite her pleas to be left so that she would “die and rest.”
Heba has been paralyzed since childhood, as a result of her family’s neglect of her, when one day her temperature rose during a fever.
So they thought that it was accidental, and “the heat is dangerous for boys only, but for girls they have 7 lives, and a fleeting heat will not harm them!” Heba said.
She noted that she was not “welcome in the family to begin with, as she was born after half a dozen girls, while awaiting the birth of a boy.”
3 boys came after her, and with every birth of a male in her family, their neglect of her increased.
She was left to suffer from a fever for several days, until she almost died, but her stubborn spirit refused to leave her body.
“Am I not the embodiment of the wrath of God, as my parents and brothers, who used to bully me, would say, and that my smell will kill the grim reaper before he takes me to hell?” Heba asked in her interview with our platform.
What Happened at the Moment of the Earthquake?
Heba could not get over her stupor at the moment of the earthquake at dawn.
She couldn’t sleep; She needed to change her diaper, and there was nothing she could do.
Her aging mother was too tired and she went to sleep without helping her, and her father and her brothers refused to approach her, even if she was drowning in filth.
I am “a curse, they do not know how to get rid of,” she recalled, adding: “I did not die of fever, nor when I went for days without food. I did not die throughout my illness, despite all the prayers they made so I would die. Even when the earthquake happened and my family left me, I did not die.”
Then she whispered absentmindedly: “We dream against our will, even if we are drowning in filth. I used to dream of being healed one day, and loving a handsome young man. During the earthquake, while awaiting my death, two beautiful young men, whom I thought were the angels of death, entered upon me, and the last thing I wanted was for them to carry me away from my filth-stained bed.”
Hayat wipes Heba’s tears, whom she barely knows, and helps her clean herself up.
Nada, one of the brave volunteers who answered the call, tells Heba’s story.
Hayat herself was abandoned by her husband months ago, and she doesn’t know why. He simply left and never came back!
She asked around about him but it was in vain, and she kept looking after her two children in a dilapidated room that had become rubble.
She wasn’t in a better condition than the abandoned shop, which was opened by one of the residents of the neighborhood for them to take shelter in, and to share it with Heba, whose neighbors did not know where to go, after her family disappeared, and did not care about her.
Hayat volunteered to take care of her, even though she and her children needed someone to take care of them.
She looked at Heba, and placed her little baby in her lap, who was laughing despite the misery, and said to her: “He loves you.”
In an interview with “Sharika Walaken,” Nada said, “The disaster shook the whole place, but women’s oppression and pain is a continuation of historical pains that have not ended since their birth until now.”
“God, in His Glory, is Angry With Women.”
In one of the shelters that was opened hastily, a seventy-year-old woman retired alone, wallowing over her only child, who disappeared years ago, in the midst of the noise.
The place is crowded with women, children, and girls, waiting for food and aid to arrive, as they need everything.
After the earthquake destroyed her house, the seventy-year-old woman will stop sitting and waiting for her absent son in front of the door, because she no longer has a home to wait for him in.
The old woman asks one of the center’s volunteers how she can get her diabetes and blood pressure medications.
Then she concluded her speech by saying: “Oh my dear, what is my life? If it’s all misfortune … God, in His Glory, is angry with women.”
Perhaps the old lady’s phrase intensifies the condition of women in a society based on violence and gender discrimination against them, from birth to death.
A society that makes their lives a series of rebukes and blame, and flogs them with standards of “shame and stigma” even from their own bodies.
Neglecting Women’s Needs, Especially Menstruation
At first, the aid providers did not notice the needs of women and girls, including sanitary napkins and other feminine necessities, and many women were ashamed to reveal this need.
But the menstrual blood, which the tattered clothes could not hide, exposed the need, and announced it clearly, after the whisper was the master of the situation.
Fortunately, it is starting to feel ‘normal’, and these needs are clearly stated.
But, on the other hand, it is hardly met, as the number of female and male volunteers is small compared to the huge needs of those affected.
As for the aid that was released from the grip of the monopolizers, it is much less than the number of volunteers, while the largest aid is presented in Black markets for sale without the slightest shame.
Before the earthquake hit the region, earthquakes of another kind devastated Syria.
Since the eruption of the volcano of blood, the grief has never stopped. It conquers the poor, and the innocent who are not willing to turn into human wolves.
While each team gloats at their “enemies”, even though they have all been mired in the same quagmire of misery for years.
They point their fingers with accusations of treachery in the face of their ilk, while those in charge sit in their palaces and hotels, pocketing the price for the pain of their supporters, under international sponsorship for this political prostitution festival.
The scale of the catastrophe is growing, and the cameras do not stop monitoring the destruction, groaning and tears, and in secret are thousands of stories that no one reveals, so that faith does not waver, or that the enemies don’t get a chance to gloat!