My name is Maya, I am 16 years old and I come, from a country which is regarded as the ‘Worlds most dangerous country’, I am from Syria . My country was not always so dangerous , Syria was once full of diverse ethnic and religious groups with Greeks , Armenians , Kurds , Turks , Mandeans and many more ; we had a lot of flora and fauna due to our fertile land, mountains and deserts . In Syria all the groups lived happily, like brothers and sisters ; but now our country is full of animosity . Any where we look we can only see people crying , dead bodies falling and we can only hear the sound of the trigger of the gun . Why god ? why did you curse my country so badly that once a country full of joy and happiness is now in complete suffering , what sins did we poor Syrians did that due to the actions of some foolish people we all have to suffer ?
17th July 1998 , the date I can never forget , the memory that will never leave my subconscious no matter how hard I try . I was 13 years old returning from the park in the evening suddenly a black car coming with full speed stopped just one centimetre away from my foot ; I was scared , it was like my heart missed a beat . Suddenly the car door opened a person came out with his face covered with black cloth carrying a big riffle in hand wearing bullets on his shoulder , I soon realised who the man was , he was a ‘TERRORIST’ . The other day only, dad described how they looked and told me to stay away from them . I started running but he was able to catch me I was tied up my head was covered and I was shoved into the car .
They took me somewhere outside the city because the roads were not properly built, it was a bumpy ride . After a lot of time the car stopped I was taken out, rushed into the building and then dumped into a cell my legs were untied , the cloth was removed from my head and when I opened my eyes there were a lot of children there. There were around thirty and they were around my age or younger than me. The man left me there and went without saying a word , I was scared because I didn’t know if I could ever see my mom and dad again . I started crying , then one young girl around the age of 10 or 12 came and asked me ‘What my name was’ I told her my name and asked her why we were brought here ? . She told that here we are taught : how to fight , how to kill a person , how much suffering the other countries are putting us into and how to take revenge for that . I knew after hearing her that I was in a great trouble, I was in a terrorist school where terrorism is taught . The night was the darkest night of my life and the morning the saddest one . In the morning one lady marched up to me , she handed me a uniform and with anger running in her eyes and smoke coming out of her ears she told me to change or else she would beat me to death. Being a child I was horrified I ran inside the dirty washroom and changed .
After half an hour we were given breakfast , I was happy because I was hungry . But my hunger died after seeing the food and utensils we were given food in a metal plate used in jails to give food to prisoners and we were given the most ugliest , tasteless food to eat and it was a compulsion that we had to eat what was on our plate . After breakfast we were taken to watch a clip , in the clip there were two people brutally killing a person ; the speaker then explained that the person being killed is a Syrian and the people killing him were American . Anger started running through my veins but then I remembered my mothers teaching that ‘What you don’t see by your own two eyes never belive at it’ suddenly then the person said ‘We have to take revenge’ and ordered us to say the same . We were told to repeat this a hundred times each time making it louder each time we say it . After the intensive mind training we were taught how to use a riffle and how to fight . It was a very hard day I got many injuries and I was not even given medicine. In the night when we returned a little boy came to me and tied a cloth around the wound which was bleeding , we all went to sleep after that because we were tired .
Next morning they woke us at 3 in the morning it was dark and quiet . They took us for a 3 mile run and when we returned we were tiered and hungry but we weren’t given breakfast we were taken for our bomb training , there we were taught about different types of bombs and how to make one too , it was the first time I ever saw a bomb . They told us one day if we are lucky we will have the opportunity to give up our life by being a suicide bomber and make our country proud . At the back of my mind I thought are they out of their senses how can anyone be lucky when he has to give up his life.
Every day went the same , every day the teaching was getting tough. Many children were brain washed but my mind was not , every night I remembered my mother and her teachings. I never left hope I knew one day I would see my mother and father again.
My worst memory of this jail was when one day I got up in the night to have water , while I was walking down the empty corridor someone grabbed my hand and pulled me inside a dark room it was so dark that I could not even see my own hands . Suddenly I was dropped on the floor my hands and legs were tied to something made of metal ; soon I could sense someone’s presence near me and suddenly within a flash of second my clothes were ripped off my body , I was shouting , I was shouting my hearts out but nobody came and helped me . I could hear peoples footsteps near the door and saying something I am not quite sure of because I was in complete pain at that time but it was probably “ Mohammad has got a new bait” that night I was raped . In the morning the person untied my hands and legs and went , I didn’t stop crying I grabbed my clothes and I ran to my room that day I didn’t step out of my room that day , in the night when the trauma was a little adapted by my mind , I decided I would leave this place and will never ever bring up this memory again.
After almost 6 months in this jail I made a plan, I noticed that every Thursday a truck comes in and the gates get opened and while the security guard and the truck driver are talking to each other there is time for me to get inside the truck and leave this horrifying place . I knew I was taking a big risk because if I am caught I am dead and like seriously I will be beaten to death .
I had planned everything and the day had come to execute my plan ; like always the truck came in the night and while the guards were taking out things from the truck I hid behind the ferns and watched them . Suddenly the opportunity came I ran like a cheetah and hid inside the truck . The truck started moving and I knew everything was now going to be okay , I fell asleep I don’t know when but with the first ray of sun I woke up I looked outside and I knew the area . I jumped out of the truck without any fear I just wanted to meet my parents.
I ran to my house as fast as I could . I rang the bell and when the door opened I jumped in to hug my mother . My mother was pleased and full of joy and I felt that I am in the safest place in the world where those people cannot harm me . My mother ran to the phone rang up my father and said ‘Maya is alive , she’s back’ my father was shocked, but he calmed himself down and told my mother to pack everything and meet him with me at the airport ; we were leaving this country.
The time went very fast the next morning sun I saw in a whole new country . There my father had already rented an apartment via phone . I was happy to leave the horrifying place and settle in a new country.
Today it has been three years since that incident but that memory still haunts me I see it in my dreams and whenever I see a black car I hold my mothers hand tightly because I am scared that they might have come back. To delete this memory from my mind my mother and father tries a lot they give me everything a teenager can dream about ; But I am not able to let go this memory because “Memories can be made in seconds but it takes a whole life to forget...”