Sunday, December 11, 2016

KHAWAJA UMER FAROOQ

Life and death in Aleppo, a city under siege

For the past month I haven’t needed to set a morning alarm – the regime jets do that job for me. Every single day we have been woken at 7am by a missile or by a barrel bomb. I can’t tell if there are mortars, because I am so used to the sound of their explosions that they no longer disturb my sleep.
I miss the luxury of waking up slowly, starting the day looking at a picture of my wife and daughter, which I have taped up on the wall. I miss my Zara, who is only six months old, more than anything else, but for now I have to jump out of bed and race to the latest attack site to help with rescue work.

I have become an expert in pulling people out from wreckage, in distinguishing how deeply buried under rubble the screaming victims are, how to spot them in the chaos – they look very much like statues covered in dust. Those tight, shocked hugs that I get from the kids I carry out of the ruins of their homes won’t ever be erased from my memory. Nor can I clean their blood from my T-shirts.
My wife wonders why I buy 10 T-shirts on every trip I make to Turkey. I tell her “I lost the old ones”, so she won’t be frightened. Especially because since she gave birth to Zara my wife has become so sensitive about children.











KHAWAJA UMER FAROOQ

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Daily Gems: Stand for right, even if you stand alone.

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