To be a teacher and father under shelling

By February 6, 2020 August 24th, 2020 Stories From Idlib

I suddenly left my house, not knowing where to go, who is going to help me out or how my life is going to be like! What was more essential was to run away from the danger and death… my main concern was to protect myself, my wife and children from losing our lives… I have never imagined, ever in my life, that I will go through such circumstances, neither have I thought that it could ever happen! Meanwhile the world remains watching how people are dying! Sometimes, we were able to spot over than seven warplanes in the city’s sky doing a rotation bombing the city districts.

When we were displaced from our house, I was marking my students’ exams papers… My connection to my students is like being their father and they are my children… The schooling stopped, and we got displaced all of a sudden… I wonder what happened to them, are they well? I have no clue! May God protect them. Unfortunately, I could not finish marking their test papers. When we were displaced, I only gathered my valuable belonging quickly and left.! The test papers remained at home and left behind, I still hope that if I go back to my house and it is in good shape and the papers are still there, I will finish marking them and give the students their results. Perhaps, If the time could go back when I was at home, I could have done them quicker than usual or took the papers out from the house with me.

In spite of having the bombing sometimes away from me; whenever I hear a rocket or a barrel bomb’s sounds falling from the sky, I feel frightened to death, my heart starts to shake and beat up rapidly, I always feels it so close to me.

One of the most harrowing experiences I have ever lived in my life was while I was giving a daily class to my students, when an airstrike took place nearby our school. We immediately evacuated the students from the class to the school’s corridors where it was relatively safer, not entirely! While that was happening, I had deep inside excruciating feelings, as I was surrounded by children crying out and screaming to me, “For goodness’ sake, oh teacher, we are terrified that we are going to die.” Hearing them saying that felt like an enormous burden on my shoulders to carry, their lives were relying on me, and any decision that I was meant to take at that very moment, would have affected their lives! I was utterly petrified, probably more than the students themselves, yet I had to act otherwise! I had to pretend and try to calm them down, especially that there was no safe place or shelter in the school to escape to, which made me feel even more responsible. The same thing used to happen with my children at home, where I had to tell them some jokes and try to cheer them up, so they forget and get distracted from the airstrikes’ sounds.

When the bombardment campaign began, as a teacher, I was in agony when the decision was made to shutdown educational facilities; nonetheless, even if we did not, parents were not sending their children back to school anyway. These were the most challenging issues that, as a father, mother, teacher, we were trying to figure out over the past years. Whether choosing to send our children to learn at school, yet there will be relative likeliness of them losing their lives… or make them stay at home, where it is relatively safer, with zero-education? For me, as a father, I have been trying to adjust or act parallelly between both very hard choices.

Most children here were displaced with their families heading north towards the Syrian-Turkish borders. The problem is that the camps cannot accept additional numbers of people because houses or tents are overcrowded and no longer available, consequently families had to stay in nowhere under olive-trees, can you imagine how bad it is like?? Families, men, women and children are staying in the middle of nowhere with nothing to keep them alive… and in the hardship of winter.

During my displacement to the north, I passed through multiple camps and villages, where life circumstances of the residents in the camps are very desperate. Thousands of children without education. This had become dominant widespread phenomenal across Idlib in both its southern and northern countryside. Perhaps States across the world and so with the United Nations are not capable of ceasing airstrikes and bombing, I do not know, I am sure, however, that they are able to support education and improve people’s dire situation in both camps and who are sheltering under olive-trees.