Harleen Kaur| Senior Correspondent
On a sunny morning in the midst of August, Amir woke up to the sound of a loud explosion outside his house. He lived with his mother, Razia and a younger sister Sahiba in a small town called Terjano in Syria, while his father Rashid was away working in the capital, Damascus, to make a living for the family. Amir held onto his scared sister when his mother went outside to see what had happened. Smoke filled the entire room when his mother opened the door. To their worst fear, the rumors of bomb attacks had came to be true at last. The Americans had dropped the bomb and their village was in ruins in a matter of seconds. Many innocent people lay dead on the ground, burnt to their core. His mother panicked but reality hit her soon; Razia had to save her children by any means. Her husband’s face flashed before her eyes, but she knew she couldn’t wait for him as doing so could cost her their children’s lives.
The Imam (Islamic equivalent of a priest) somehow managed to go about the village and inform the survivors that a group is fleeing the country via the sea route. This journey across the two continents was not an easy one. The sea route from the Middle East to Europe was rough and infamous for unfortunate events. But at this point, the survivors had no choice but to leave the land that had nothing to offer but death.
A scared Amir with his little sister in his arms sat inside, perplexed and unaware about the wave of ordeals that surrounded them. Razia hurriedly came inside and told Amir that they’ve to leave. ‘But Ammi, what about Abbu? We can’t leave without him!’, said a concerned Amir. She had no answer to this, so she chose to lie. Amir believed his mother that his Abbu was already waiting for him in a distant but safe country. A hopeful Amir started helping his mother in packing their valuables. Soon, they were ready to leave.
But, would they be able to make it to the safer land?
After a short but terrifying journey, they reached the shore. A group of about 20-25 survivors had already gathered there. Razia took a sigh of relief knowing that they had made it in time. She saw before her a small inflatable boat and to her it was her last ray of hope. The boat had a capacity of about 15 people but all everybody cared about was to save their life at any cost. In a little while, the group went aboard the small boat and with faith in their hearts and Allah in their minds, they prayed for a safe journey. But alas, the ocean had different plans.
A couple of hours into their journey, to everyone’s dismay, a violent storm began. The unforgiving waves thrashed the boat like the fierce shots of a canon gun. The boat capsized and all the passengers were washed overboard. Razia held on to her children for as long as she could but the waves broke their bond. In a matter of seconds, Amir and Sahiba drifted away from their mother. As they took their last breaths, Amir looked at her mother and in his way, bid her goodbye.
A few days later, Amir’s dead corpse washed ashore. Nobody knows where Razia, Sahiba or the other group members ended up; if anyone was still out in the sea adrift or if all of them faced the same fate as poor Amir. The news of Amir’s death and his lost daughter and wife shattered Rashid’s heart like a broken mirror. Perhaps, just like Razia wished, Amir did reach a safer, better place…