HALA DAYE - 9 YEARS OLD

No Image!

It was the night preceding the first day of feast.
Such nights have always been known of their crowds, lights and delight in Aleppo city. That night was exceptional. I would look out of my window into a city dipped in darkness, where the lights of mortars and missals had replaced the sky's shooting stars.
Under my balcony walked little kids in the dark, carrying water containers and talking about water, electricity, displacement and weapons. Feast preparations was not one of the subjects they tackled.
The sounds of explosions started to get louder and heavier, moments before the sound and lights of ambulance filled the streets.
I knew that a disaster had happened, and the news are not going to be good in the morning. After the sun had raised, I decided to go to the university hospital again to share the stories of Syrian children spending feast during wartime and get a closer look at the results of mortar shelling in Aleppo city.

There in the hospital I found the lost feast's crowds. In the lobby laid four small body-bags of    children who haven't survived to see the sunrise of that day .
I started by the room of intensive care where as many as 7 other children might lose sight to never see the sunrise again.
The sound of monitors counting what might be their last breath becomes the background of your hearing as it was the one overwhelming in the crowded room.

I moved to the fifth story which is specialized to receive war injured people who survived their injuries ,and had surgeries in different parts of their bodies to remove shrapnel.
The door of the lift opens to a horrible view. It was like walking into a kindergarten, but one full of children crying of pain instead of playing and laughing.


I stood among people and heard them taking about mortar shelling in Salah Al-Din, Mashariqa and Jabria areas.
The story was full of neighbors of the same targeted areas. Some families have members in different sections of the hospital. Starting from the section of dead bodies, reaching up to the injuries section.

People relayed news about a heart-breaking story of a 9 years old girl. They were whispering to each other with tears on their s while taking me to her room.

Her name is Hala. It means "Beautiful" in Arabic, and she was remarkably beautiful.
Beside her bed sat her grandmother moena rabie of 60 years old with tears running down through a wrinkled desperate face.

I took her away and asked her to tell me her story.

" this is my 9 years old granddaughter Hala whom father was kidnapped while travelling to Hamaa city six months ago"
"He was not a solder. He was just a simple paint. His kidnappers called the next day asking for 2000.000 SYP. But we don't even have half of that amount of money"
"The last time we heard news about him was the day after he was kidnapped."
Some people told us he was killed 3 days after he was kidnapped, but we are not certain of the news"

Hala kept asking her mother about her father. She wanted him back home before feast comes, so she kept crying.
"My daughter took her to a nearby accessories shop in Al-Masharqa area at 10 pm. In the evening to buy her earrings for feast. She thought she could make her stop crying"

"Our feast turned into a
funeral when a mortar hit the street and killed Hala's mother."
Moena couldn't continue speaking because she burst into tears.


Hala's uncle brought her some water and continued the story saying:
" The man who brought Hala and her mother here to the hospital said that he found her wounded while walking through shatters and haze crying with blood and dust covering her body, after she had witnessed the death of her own mother".
"She was screaming with all what's left of her strength "HELP MY MOTHER" while trying to stop cars and taxies."

He held her in his arms when she spelled her last words before she fainted "I'm Hala Daye PLEASE HELP MY MOTHER"

"A dead disfigured body was lying on the sidewalk. That was Hala's mother whom she was trying to rescue."
The man says she had two major injuries one in the head, and another in her abdomen. "Her entrails were outside her body, as well as a part of her brain." He adds.

After I was done talking to her uncle I decided to talk to the girl, but he told me that she doesn't know her mother is dead yet.
She still think she's somewhere in the hospital.

I sat beside her bed and asked her about her name. when she said Hala I commented on her remarkable beauty.

She answered: "you should see my mother, I'm beautiful just like her."
"We have the exact same eyes" she adds.


I asked her if she's in pain and her answer was surprisingly "NO"
She continued: " I'm taking my medicines and following the doctor's orders so I can be able to walk down stairs to see my mom"
She still thinks that she had rescued her mother, and all she wanted to believe was is that she's still somewhere in the hospital.

Two spouts were attached to her body. One to the chest and another to her flank.
Her doctor told me that she survived because she was relieved quickly.
Hala had 3 injuries, the fist is in her liver, second in her intestines 3 c.ms away from Treitz ligament and the third is in her right lung (liquid around the lung).

As I was talking to her doctor, she asked me to get closer. She whispered to me saying: "can you help me to wash my face? My mom used to wash it for me every day, but she's sick now"

She has a small pretty face that wouldn't exceed the size of my palm.
I permeated my fingers gently into her hair. Her head was full of bruises. I could feel no less than 6 curves under my fingers.
2 heavy scars were running down on her soft skin where they removed shrapnel from her body. 

Today is a feast day Hala . What is your wish for feast? I asked her.
"My wish for feast is to go back to yesterday and hold my mother's hand for a moment, and tell daddy that I miss him very much" she answers.
"I would also like to go back home and try the new dress I bought for feast" she adds.

Hala has one 8 years old sister named Hanin. Her uncle Abdullah doesn't even know if he can raise her and her sister with his displaced family of 8 children living in a vacated under-construction building in Al-Hamdania area.
 Although 2 of his children Abdou of 14 and Ahmad of 13 kept holding her hand, and seemed to be really funded of her, their father who works as a joiner doesn't seem to be able to afford taking care of these two girls.
Hala and thousands of other Syrian children are suffering from similar conditions. Their Feast will be an ever fixed memory of horrible moments when they lost a pretty smile, a soft skin, a mother, father or an entire family, with no hope for war to be ended anytime soon.