Two weeks ago, for a change, I turned on the television. CNN News was broadcasting from Syria. What caught my attention was a large number of people walking in the middle of the dirt road going in the same direction. The men carried bundles on their backs and the women held the hand of small children or carried babies.
A British journalist was reporting on the refugees fleeing Syria. A young girl, who appeared to be around 7 years old, wearing clothes too big for her small frame, was standing alone in the mix of adults who passed her by. The journalist approaches the girl and asks what her name is. She half smiles and looks at the reporter’s face before shrugging her shoulders to suggest she can’t remember. The reporter next asks the girl where her father is. She answers that he is dead. As hard as she tries to keep her eyes fixed on his face, she looks to the ground and back up and again to the ground, just for a moment. She’s struggling to keep the friendly smile on her face as the reporter asks where her father had died? The girl doesn’t answer, and the question is repeated, she mumbles the name of a city. In her brown eyes, I could see a hint of pain that she didn’t want to show. I could sense her mind was filtering images of her father. The girl continues her stare at the reporter’s face when he asks, “have you eaten anything today, anything for breakfast or lunch?” The girl breaks her stare and looks to the ground one more time before her smile disappears before she brings her hands up to her face and silently begins to weep. The reporter turns from the child to look into the camera and says, “This child is in shock, she can’t even remember her name.”
I had many questions when CNN cut to a commercial break. Though, I haven’t seen her face again on any related footage. I figure out her name, child victim, the war orphan, unwanted refugee or collateral damage. I think of her often, her brown eyes and the brave facade she held in place just like a frightened soldier.