From the backseat of their family car while her father drove, 4-year old Zena watched as a shower of bullets rained over them from the machine gun of a nearby sniper. The cowards have struck again, tragically transforming the fate of yet another family in their attempt to break the spirit of life. As multiple bullets penetrated the body of Zena’s father, he lost his battle with consciousness and his car veered off the road over a dirt hill and into a ditch. The father died on site, the mother sustained critical injuries and later died, thankfully Zena and her two sisters suffered minor injuries. Three young girls, all under the age of 5 were orphaned in the blink of an eye. Despite all this darkness, there was still light to be seen, that which came in the form of an extended loving family. The girls were taken in by their uncle who was determined to do all he could to provide for them.
Despite his efforts to bring them happiness, the girls still had to cope with what they had endured, that was a struggle, but not an impossibility. Living amongst their cousins for a couple of years began to give them a sense of normalcy. Children don’t need much to be happy. The girls lived in a small house, shared toys, beds and food with their cousins and, they were content with all of that. Their uncle was their new-found father figure, they saw their security and protection in him, and they could breathe easy again.
Nonetheless, just when we think that maybe things have turned around, life still manages to surprise us. So was the case for Zena and her sisters in 2009, ISIS terrorist struck again by raiding her uncle’s stores, and executing him. The body was carried by neighbors back to the house, the wife and children were home to receive him, and so began another chapter, this time a lot more people were touched by this tragedy.
Regardless, this family continues to move on and one can’t help but wonder, what is this human spirit that refuses to be broken despite so much heartache and so much tragedy? Sure, these children have been terribly impacted, they have all sorts of struggles, monetary, emotional and mental but they are not broken. Zena especially, exhibits signs of severe depression and uncontrollable rage. When we look at what has transpired in her life thus far, we can easily understand her condition. These are symptoms children of war and or acts of violence are unfortunately all too familiar with, classically identified as post-traumatic stress disorder. Despite that, hope for recovery exists, it starts with identifying a need, a child’s cry for help and a point in which healing must begin.
Al-Ayn registered Zena and her 2 sisters in 2013, all 3 girls have been sponsored and Zena has been rendered to our psychological rehabilitation center for treatment. Just as hope was restored once before, it can be restored again.