Mustafa, 15 and Fatema, 9 – Baghdad, Iraq
Mustafa: “My father was a police officer, who worked in the city of Mosul. He usually went away during the week and came back home on the weekends. It was my sister’s birthday the last time he came home. When he arrived that day, the first thing he did was take my sister out to buy her some birthday decorations and a birthday cake, so that we can celebrate her birthday. On the way home, he got a call from his boss. His boss told him that something urgent had come up and that he has to return to work right away. He dropped my sister home, said goodbye to us, and left.
“Later that day, my mother received a call from my father’s phone number. When my mother picked up, the man on the line told her that he had kidnapped my father and needs money in order to release him. We were all very scared. My mother went to all of her relatives to try to collect a good amount of money, but no one was able to give too much. The man called back after a few hours and asked my mother if she had the money ready for him to pick up. She told him that we don’t have any money and begged him to keep my father alive. She asked the man if she can hear my father’s voice, but the man refused. Right then and there, my mother knew that my father had been killed. We hoped that he would walk in at any moment. But he never did.
“Three days after the incident, we were watching the news on TV. They were reporting the same attack my father was in. We were paying close attention to figure out what happened exactly. Then, we saw my father’s body pop up on the TV screen. Three days after that, we received his body.
“We used to be a really happy family of four. My father would always take us out and made sure to we had a good time. Those were good days. But after my father left us that day, my sister and I were all of a sudden without a father. Every day I wake up wishing it wasn’t real. We haven’t seen anything but sadness and tears since he left that day. No one really cares about us. People aren’t nice or helpful. Maybe because they can’t feel what we are feeling. My father used to take good care of us, and now he can’t. My mother can’t even work because there are no jobs. I want to find a job, but my mother is scared for me because so many bad things are happening, and she doesn’t want me to get involved with them.
“I wish I could see my father just one more time. I want to play with him one last time. All my dreams died when he was killed. I still can’t believe that he is not with us anymore. I feel like I’m dreaming. When I miss him a lot and feel lonely and sad, I go to the graveyard and sit by his grave. I cry to him. Sometimes I take my report card with me, and I tell him ‘Baba, look at my report card. I am doing well in school. You used to give me money when I did well. Now I show other people my grades, but no one cares.” I always tell him that when I grow up, I want to become an officer just like him so I can bring those who killed him to justice.”
Fatema: “When my father came home from work, he took me out to buy birthday decorations because it was my birthday. We were going to have a little birthday party. He bought me all the decorations and a birthday cake. He even bought me this green closet so I can keep all my things in it. I was so happy.
“After we came back home, he told me that he had to go back to work. Before my father left, he promised me that he won’t be long and will be back very soon. He told me that when he comes back, we will celebrate my birthday. He never ever broke his promises to me. That’s why I am still waiting for my dad to come back so we can celebrate my birthday. Everyone tells me that he’s gone, but I don’t believe it. Why would he make a promise to me if he couldn’t keep it?
“When I’m sad, I always think about the times my father used to tell me jokes to make me laugh before going to sleep. His jokes still make me laugh. Now, no one tells me jokes or makes me laugh before I sleep. I really miss him.
“Before, when I was bored, I used to l go to the amusement park. When I go now, I usually go with my neighbors. I miss my father more when I’m at the park because he was the one that always took me there. I don’t like to go anymore because my father isn’t here to take me.”
[Fatema had more to say about her father, but she started crying and was not able to continue talking.]
The above represents one of many orphan stories by victims in war-torn regions. Your support can make a difference for orphans like Mustafa and Fatema. Make a contribution today by clicking here.