Hana, 12 & Noor, 22 – Baghdad, Iraq
Hana: “That day, my parents decided to take us to the market. I got into the car with my parents and my older sister. I remember wanting to sit on my mother’s lap during the ride. I didn’t know it would be the last time I would ever do that. On the way to the market, we reached a checkpoint. We had to stop our car for a few minutes. All of a sudden, our car was being attacked. I remember seeing a group of men opening the doors of our car. I started hearing gun shots. I was sitting on my mother’s lap when all of a sudden, a man took out a knife and stabbed my mother in the throat so many times. And he kept stabbing and stabbing. I saw another man coming from the other side who took out his gun and started shooting at my father. That same man who shot my father came to the other side of the car and started shooting my mother after she had been stabbed to death. They even shot my older sister who was only thirteen years old at the time. She survived the gunshots but became paralyzed right after. I think they wanted to shoot me too, but they were stopped by their other team members because they saw that I was very little.
“They ran away after they did what they did. I remember getting out of the car and waiting on the street. I was in total shock and didn’t know what was happening. After some time, I heard the ambulances and police sirens come from all sides. They took my parents away and managed to get me to my grandmother. I stayed in a state of shock for a very, very long time after that. I only cried. Every day, I cried. That was the only thing I knew how to do at the time after what had happened. I couldn’t talk. I couldn’t speak. I didn’t know what to feel. I just cried. I still hear the screams of my parents in the car. I still hear the gunshots. I was only three, but I remember everything. I even remember the face of the man who stabbed my mother.
“I miss two things the most. When I was younger, my father used to hold my hand and take me out every afternoon and buy me whatever I asked for. When I came back home, my mother used to be so happy to see me. I really miss the warmth of her lap.
“When my parents were alive, we used to live in a house. Now we don’t have a house. We live in this room made out of mud. We have no money. Maybe if we had money, we’d be living in a better place. I can’t even go and live in an orphanage. They might not accept me because I’m older than most of the children who have been orphaned. I don’t know what will happen to me when my grandmother dies. My grandmother is scared that when she dies, we’ll be left on the street without anyone to take care of us. I want a safe place to stay so that I won’t end up doing bad things to make some money and live. I just really wish I had a proper house to live in. A place that makes me feel at home. Because I still feel like I’m running away.
“My education is the most valuable thing to me. I wish to work hard and become very successful one day. I want to become a lawyer so I can bring the men who took my parents away from me and who handicapped my sister to justice. But this is going to be challenging. The hardest part of my day is when I want to study. If you look around, you will see that there is no space for me to sit comfortably and study. I don’t know how I will do it.
“This is my sister Noor. The terrorists shot her two times. One gun shot went into her back, and the other went into her leg. She was just like any other girl. Smart and beautiful. She has been paralyzed since the incident. She can’t walk anymore. She can’t move. She can’t talk. She only uses sign language if she needs to tell us something. She has to take lots of medication every single day. If she doesn’t, she suffers from seizures. This medicine is really expensive. It costs about $120 a month. Most of the time, we don’t have any money to buy it for her.
“I want the world to know one thing. These terrorists stole my childhood. I feel like the incident made me age too quickly. I was only three. But I felt like I was much older than that. Life is very difficult, and people cannot be trusted to help you with anything.”
The above represents one of many orphan stories by victims in war-torn regions. Your support can make a difference for orphans like Hana and Noor. Make a contribution today by clicking here.