Growing Up In Syria’s Civil War

Syria Deeply is publishing the diary of a teenage girl living in Syria. A moving passage from the first entry:

I remember well the day cattle food, or fodder, was smuggled into the city. We milled the animal feed to make dough.

It didn’t take us long to get used to the bad taste and weird texture of our new “bread.” It brought us a semblance of happiness with the little olives, juice or yogurt – Syrian food staples – that we had. Our only concern was to eat. One can never get used to sleeping on an empty stomach.

Our collective will to eat meant we started getting creative with the cattle feed. We cooked it as if we were cooking rice or wheat. We became so accustomed to it that we almost forgot what chicken, meat and fruit looked like.

One of the hardest days was when we heard that a car carrying fruit and candy had entered the city. At first, we were beyond thrilled, but our happiness was fleeting. The exorbitant prices for the items on display meant no one could actually afford them.

That day, a young boy with holes in his shoes squeezed his mother’s hand as they passed by the fruit car. He begged her for an apple. Holding back her tears, she promised to make him “fodder cake” when they got home. Similarly, a father ignored the car carrying the goods and picked up the pace as he dragged his daughter, who was demanding a banana or an orange. Who would believe that the availability of fruit would be worse than the lack of it? Is it not a child’s right to have an apple, a banana or a small piece of candy?

In this world, we have been stripped of our rights, starting with food.