I never felt that way. Maybe back in the day. But in my days, we never felt a difference. We felt we were all equal and we treated each other as human beings, brothers and sisters, regardless of our religious differences.
What are your best and worst memories from Syria?
My best memories were every second I spent in Syria growing up until I moved to the States. I would say my worst memory was having to attend friends’ funerals at a time when I thought I would be attending their graduations and weddings.
Tell me about Aleppo when it was under siege.
I consider myself one of the lucky ones. There were obviously people who lived under better conditions during this horrible time because they were rich, and my dad owned his own business, so we were considered upper middle class. However, days passed when we would not have water or electricity. Still, we were fortunate to at least have had a roof over our heads. Close to my home, al-Assad School opened up for the people whose homes had been destroyed in the clashes. So, one really gets a perspective.
A lot of young girls and boys helped their parents to buy or bring gallons of water or fuel to their homes. I would help my dad fill up huge bottles with water so we would always have some when needed. We also filled up our bathtub as soon as water was available. We had three buckets: one for clean water, one with the soap for when we would wash our hands, and one for when we rinse our hands. The latter one was later reused as water to flush in the toilet.
We never really knew which groups were fighting, or where, unless we saw it on the news. We just heard the bombs and the shootings. There would also be snipers on buildings that would shoot as soon as someone would pass by. Once, a sniper shot at our car, but it wasn’t critical, so we just continued driving.
I was also lucky because I didn’t lose any loved ones in the war. I had a fellow peer in the church scouts who was killed by a bomb. That was really emotional because it was the first time my scout played at a funeral and not a wedding of a person belonging to the scouts. Another scout lost his mother.
If there were to be peace in Syria tomorrow would you move back?
As much as it hurts me to say this, I wouldn’t go back. I will go to visit but not live there anymore. It’s just impossible for our young generation to go and build everything all over. And to be honest, what’s left for us to even go back to? Even if I want to what would I do with my degree?