Syria: A teenager drew on his faith through darkest days of civil war

  • strict warning: Only variables should be passed by reference in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/captcha/captcha.inc on line 61.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 1113.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_field::query() should be compatible with views_handler::query($group_by = false) in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_field.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of content_handler_field::element_type() should be compatible with views_handler_field::element_type($none_supported = false, $default_empty = false, $inline = false) in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/cck/includes/views/handlers/content_handler_field.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_sort::options_validate() should be compatible with views_handler::options_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_sort.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_sort::options_submit() should be compatible with views_handler::options_submit($form, &$form_state) in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_sort.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_sort::query() should be compatible with views_handler::query($group_by = false) in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_sort.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_validate() should be compatible with views_handler::options_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::query() should be compatible with views_handler::query($group_by = false) in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_query::options_submit() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_submit($form, &$form_state) in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_query.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_style_default::options() should be compatible with views_object::options() in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_style_default.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_row::options_validate() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_validate(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_row.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 1113.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 1113.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_field_user::init() should be compatible with views_handler_field::init(&$view, $options) in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/views/modules/user/views_handler_field_user.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 1113.
  • strict warning: Only variables should be passed by reference in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/captcha/captcha.inc on line 61.
  • strict warning: Only variables should be passed by reference in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/captcha/captcha.inc on line 61.

Syria: A teenager drew on his faith through darkest days of civil war

By Jony Azar/ churchinneed.org

Piter Essa, 17, just graduated from High School in Aleppo, Syria. Piter, who is Syriac-Orthodox, tells Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) about some of his painful experiences during his country’s civil war:

“I’ve survived this awful war, and I live my life like I used to. My school didn’t close at all, so I was able to continue with my studies; I graduated from High School this year.

“I was separated from many friends who were forced to flee. I personally experienced violence in the forms of mortars and missiles, which did both physical and psychological damage. I tried to remain strong for my loved ones: I had their backs, and I told them that everything would be okay, but I didn’t fully believe that myself.

“I want to mention a particular incident, one of many similar incidents that happened during the war: one day, I was helping my dad with the groceries, and we were walking and chatting in peace until a huge cloud of fire appeared in front of me. It was a mortar explosion. I heard nothing but screaming babies and a sharp whistle; I saw nothing but bodies, and there was blood everywhere. My father and I ran without looking back and only stopped when we reached a safe zone.

“In that moment, I wasn’t angry or sad. I was terrified. I hadn’t seen anything like it before, except in movies. It was horrible, and it stays with me even now. Sometimes I dream about that day—the innocent people being killed for nothing, absolutely nothing.

“Our saddest moment came when we had to leave our home. There were too many mortars falling around us, and we could not continue to risk our lives. So we moved to another area.

“Prayers helped keep me going, as did my family’s support; they provided for me and allowed me to live the life of a teenager. My hobbies also distracted me from the violence: I listened to music all the time, as it offered an escape from what we were facing outside. And I wore a cross around my neck to remind me that, even when I felt lost, I was not alone.

“Today, I am feeling safe again. There’s been no mortars, missiles, explosions, or screaming, and my community is thriving. I’ve found true friends who understand and accept me as I am, and my family’s faith has endured. I love my country and its history. I feel connected to it.

“I plan to study abroad and become specialized in the area of Artificial Intelligence. I will return to Syria afterwards. For me, the internet is an important communication tool: I use it every day, and I can see how other countries are reacting to our crisis. In my opinion, there are few countries that seriously care about us; many others only pretend to. I feel that most people aren’t responding.

“But I still have faith, and that was all that we had to survive. And I dream that, one day, we will all be able to live in our country in lasting peace.”

From 2011, when the Syrian civil war began, through 2018, ACN has supported the pastoral and humanitarian mission of the various Churches in Syria with projects totaling more than $36 million.

Mon, 08/26/2019 - 11:45
Comment through the site Comment through facebook

Comments

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.