Extinguishing the flames of rage
Armed with experience and wisdoms, we as adults, still struggle in coping with what saddens us, and what enrages us. Children on the other hand, aren’t properly armed to face life’s turmoil, so how can we expect them to cope and how do we guide them?
Now, close your eyes and imagine having to watch a video broadcast of your father’s execution – how would it impact you? At 11 years old, that’s what Malik had to experience. The gruesome execution of his father at the hands of ISIS was videotaped and broadcasted for all to see. They mocked and gloated as they tied his wounded body to a vehicle and dragged him through the streets. That was the moment in which Time stopped for Malik. Consumed by sadness and rage, all he could do was constantly play back the video, reliving that terrible moment over and over again. This, coupled with the inescapable circulation of the event amongst family and neighbors sent Malik forced Malik to retreat into isolation in which he lost himself to unguided thoughts and feelings.
Consequently, this state of isolation and the fact that it initially went unnoticed allowed for feelings of anger to continue to fester within him. Shortly after, these feelings began to manifest in his behavior. With no chance to properly grieve, in the midst of a war that tore a nation and impacted so many children, a streak of violence would soon become his response to dealing with the day-to-day issues he faced.
Malik became obsessed with the idea of revenge. At just 11 years old, he wanted to fight, he wanted justice for his father, and this idea became his sole reason for existence. When he would speak to people, which in itself was on rare occasions, vengeance was his only topic. Soon enough, the things he spoke of and the behavior he exhibited began sending warning signals to his mother.
Despite the family’s circumstance and the stress of rebuilding after so much terror, Malik’s mother knew help was needed if she ever wanted to save her son. Malik was registered with Al-Ayn Social Care Foundation and, based on initial assessment from child therapists, the need to intervene was immediately recognized. A strict therapy program was prescribed to help manage his temper, cope with his feelings, and guide his thinking away from revenge and to look towards a hopeful future. Malik is still undergoing therapy, he has finally been given the change to grieve, to understand, to cope and to look to a brighter tomorrow.