‘The war was my childhood left among the ruins’: Through her diary, this young girl chronicled her escape from the Syrian civil war

caption
A temporarily stranded Syrian child is seen at a refugee camp in Greece on Feb. 24, 2016.
source
Reuters/Yannis Behrakis

When Myriam Rawick was only eight years old, she started keeping a diary about the war that was unfolding in her native Syria.

As feuding forces waged battles in her hometown of Aleppo, Myriam’s family was forced to gather only what they could carry and flee their homes in search of safety.

As the war displaced more than half of Syria’s pre-war population and ravaged her home city in the coming years, Myriam continued to track her experiences growing up among air strikes, chemical attacks, militant coups, and food and water shortages.

Today, Myriam is 13, and her diary has been translated from Arabaic and published in France. Read the excerpts of a heartbreaking journal from a child forced to come of age in the Syrian civil war:


“I woke up one morning to the sound of things breaking, people shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’,” the phrase for “God is greatest” in Arabic, Myriam wrote in her diary at the start of the war.

caption
Children gesture during a march against Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad through the streets after Friday prayers in of Homs on December 30, 2011.
source
REUTERS/Handout

Source: AFP


“I was so afraid I wanted to throw up. I hugged my doll tight, saying ‘Don’t be afraid, don’t be afraid, I’m here with you.'”

caption
Members of the Civil Defense rescue children after what activists said was an air strike by forces loyal to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad in al-Shaar neighborhood of Aleppo, Syria June 2, 2014.
source
Sultan Kitaz/Reuters

Source: AFP


“Aleppo was a paradise, it was our paradise,” Myriam wrote about the city that has become the center of battles between government forces, rebel groups, and jihadist fighters since 2012.

caption
The sun rises over Aleppo, Syria on March 7, 2006, before the war started.
source
REUTERS/ Khaled al-Hariri

Source: Business Insider


In March 2013, jihadist fighters stormed Myriam’s home and forced her family to leave. “I rushed to put my books in my backpack. I love books, I can’t do without them,” she wrote. “I put on two anoraks, one on top of the other, to protect myself from stray bullets.”

caption
Children push containers in strollers as they flee deeper into the remaining rebel-held areas of Aleppo, Syria December 12, 2016
source
Abdalrhman Ismail/Reuters

Source: AFP


“In the street I saw a man with a bushy beard wearing a black djellaba [robe], a gun in his hand. I was very afraid. We walked a long time to get to a safer area.”

caption
Men ride a tricycle as they flee deeper into the remaining rebel-held areas of Aleppo, Syria December 7, 2016.
source
REUTERS/Abdalrhman Ismail

Source: AFP


“The missiles frightened me the most. One evening, I was going to bed when the sky turned red with a deafening noise. A missile had fallen in the street next to ours,” Myriam wrote. At the time, her parents had fled to another part of the city.

Source: AFP


“My parents gave us sugar, saying it would help us be less afraid … but I found it didn’t change anything for me!”

caption
Boys eat bread as they wait to be evacuated from a rebel-held sector of eastern Aleppo, Syria December 16, 2016.
source
REUTERS/Abdalrhman Ismail

Source: AFP


Before Myriam’s 10th birthday, everything started coming all at once: strikes, food and water shortages, blockades. “I can’t fall asleep,” she wrote in 2012. “I counted: Since I went to bed, there were 10 bombs.”

caption
A man with a baby rides a bus to be evacuated from a rebel-held sector of eastern Aleppo.
source
REUTERS/Abdalrhman Ismail

Source: TV5Monde


“I no longer recognize Aleppo when I walk down the street,” Myriam wrote in March 2015. “We pass roadblocks, people with arms.”

caption
Residents walk near damaged buildings in the rebel held area of Old Aleppo, Syria May 5, 2016.
source
REUTERS/Abdalrhman Ismail

Source: France 24


“It’s there for the first time that I understood what war meant. The war was my childhood left among the ruins.”

Source: TV5Monde


By December 2016, jihadist fighters surrendered Aleppo and Myriam’s family had just started to rebuild their lives before fighting renewed and they were forced to flee again.

caption
Migrants wait to cross the Greek-Macedonian border, at a makeshift camp near the village of Idomeni, Greece on March 8, 2016.
source
Reuters

Now temporarily in France, Myriam dreams of returning to Aleppo as a peaceful city. “It’s nice, because I’m living again, but I don’t want to forget,” she told the AFP. “I even fell asleep last night over my notebook.”

caption
A boy gestures as he sits with others on a pick-up truck in the rebel held Douma neighborhood of Damascus.
source
Reuters

Source: AFP


“We’re no longer afraid of bombs falling on our heads,” Myriam said in an interview with AFP in June. “I’m getting my childhood back, starting to play again with the neighbors’ children.”

caption
Aleppo, Syria, ravaged by war.
source
© AFP/File JOSEPH EID

Her book, “Myriam’s Diary,” is only available in French at the moment, but one day may be translated into English.

source
Amazon

Source: Amazon