When I met Joudi – The young Syrian refugee in Beirut

I am going to start this post by sharing a status I wrote on Facebook on the 6th of January, and it goes like this

06/01/2017 Where is Humanity?
Today worldwide the Orthodox community is celebrating christmas. Merry Christmas to all my fellow Armenians and Russians (etc…).
I want to take a moment to express my thoughts to what has humanity come to these last few years, especially in the Middle East, and in Lebanon in particular.
First of all I have to admit that I was never one to nurture such feelings before, but recently something in me changed, I was moved.
The Middle East is in turmoil, the Syrian war has had a lot of effect on neighboring countries yes. ISIS has spread and conducted many many horrific crimes in the name of Islam, yes. This led to a deeper schism between communities, yes.
I witnessed a lot of anger and hatred. The latter not being directed to the right source.
Educated people have been accusing one another and generalizing one’s religion to the actions of a specific community, country. I have read horrific hate comments, curses and intolerable words under statuses.
In Lebanon, I have witnessed how people behave towards refugees.
Let’s be blunt and admit that we think we are above everyone and anything that breathes. Thats the Lebanese complex.
However, by no means that permits a human being to curse, trash and make the life of a refugee a living hell.
These people are trying their best to make a living from the hell everyone is putting them through because of their race and nationality. We cannot generalize a nation. We tend to forget that vice is human and not related to a specific nation and religion.
I had a 30 min walk today and in my pockets were the change of 5000 lira. I passed by a woman with two children sitting on the ground and my heart moved, a mere 1000 lira made that small child of 2 smile. The gratitude in the mother’s eyes were enough to make me feel great. Two more refugees, an old man sick on the ground and an old woman with a child accepted the 1000 lira each and smiled back.
I want to stress on the fact that we should stop looking at people as where do they come from? What is their religion? I have heard so many things on Islam. Islam is not my religion. I do not know what it is about, honestly. All I know is that I doubt God’s message is about hatred, wars and Jihad. I am fed up from hearing such and such being said and written in the holy book. Please instead of babbling such obscenities and generalities you have picked up from a close minded older generation, show me a written statement. Because I have come to see people as they are. HUMANS! And as a human, we need to be there to one another and most importantly RESPECT one another.
A few days back I heard a conversation of a newly wed who had decided not to bring a child in this world. A world she has come to despise. Well for one, I do not agree. I SAY bring a child to the world and educate him to love everyone, give him the values that you were brought in, to embrace humanity, hoping that one day we will all unite to make the world a better place.
And stop spreading hatred. Just stop. Because in the end, that says a lot about you as a person than the message you are trying to spread.
Good Friday everyone.”

A few days back I was walking home, listening to my iPod, minding my own business when a young girl approached me. She couldn’t have been more than 13. She was wandering the streets selling Bic. I dismissed her with a sign that I am not interested in what she is selling. Rather than walk away, I asked her “Do you need anything else?”. She asked me if I could get her some water from the neighboring market. How can I say no to a child? We entered the supermarket and she chose a 1L bottle of water. I was moved. She was purchasing the bottle, her family in mind. I asked her if she wanted anything else. She is a child and I am certain that it is not everyday she has the opportunity to choose. Despite the cold weather she said she wanted ice cream. One she would share with her brother. I was moved. I reminded her of the cold breeze. Her voice was plaintive. For a split second, I felt like a mother and caved in. She went to chose from the wide selection of ice creams. When I told her to chose one of the three in the first fridge, she looked at me and said “no, these are expensive, let me get one of those” (+1$). She startled me, “None sense” I answered back and bought her the strawberry flavored one. For her age and her current situation she was aware of the price tags merely by looking at the packaging. It is only while paying that I noticed the people around me looking at us and smiling. They were smiling at this happy little girl. They were happy because this young child was happy. They were grateful. I was happy. Most of all, I was happy because an 11 year old was being her age again. I had given humanity hope. And most importantly, I had given a child hope. We walked back and took a selfie. Her name is Joudi. She is from Syria. We couldn’t talk much as she was excited to go back to her parents with the bottle of water and share the strawberry ice cream with her young brother.

What would it take for you to open your heart to a child in need? What would it take for you not to label people as terrorists because of their religion? What would it take for you to differentiate between the victims of terror & war from the governmental agencies, of those same countries, behind these wars? What would it take for you not to generalize these well brought up children because of a few badly mannered ones?

Stop being selfish and rotten. Stop living on a pedestal you ungrateful whiny adults brats and reach out to those in need.

Be HUMAN!

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Author: Patyl-Astrid

"Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the common place, the slaves of the ordinary." Cecile Beaton

2 thoughts on “When I met Joudi – The young Syrian refugee in Beirut”

    1. Hopefully people will wake up and put their differences aside in the name of humanity! 🙂

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