Dead to Red Race: I Run for my Mother's Soul


I will never forget the 11th of December 2012. It was the day when the life that I knew ceased to exist. It was the day my mother was killed by a sniper, my sister lost her baby and my brother-in-law was arrested. 
We were on our way to the hospital in Damascus because my little sister was going into labour. I don’t know where the bullets came from, it all went very fast. There was blood everywhere and there was nothing we could do to rescue my mother. 15 minutes later she died. We rushed my sister to the hospital so that at least the little life inside her womb could be saved. But my sister was in such shock that the little baby’s heart stopped beating when it saw the light of the day. Not a world it wanted to be part of, I thought to myself. 

I had a normal, happy life and had been a regular university student before the Syria Crisis started. I am a law graduate from Damascus University and was doing my Masters in International Business. Within seconds, my whole life was turned upside-down. I was devastated and I cried for days. I thought that I would never feel joy or hope ever again in my life. But something changed on the day my mother was buried. Hundreds of people came to our house to pay her their last respects. My mother was a very special woman. She taught poor people in our neighbourhood math and helped them to get back on their feet in difficult times. She helped everyone as much as she could. When I saw how many people’s hearts she has touched in her life cut too short, when I saw how all these people were saluting her, I stopped being sad. I decided to be happy again and grateful that I am the son of such a powerful woman. I decided to stop crying and carry on her legacy of kindness and support for others. 

For the past few months, I have therefore volunteered in CARE’s urban refugee centre in Amman. I meet other Syrian refugees every day and I am doing my best to ease their pain. I start working at eight in the morning and I leave our centre at 4 o’clock. From six at night to 3 o’clock in the morning, I work in a fast food restaurant to earn money. I am staying here in Jordan with two of my brothers. We share an apartment with four other young men who are here in Jordan all by themselves, without their families. We are our own small family now, doing our best to get through these difficult times together. My father is still in Syria with my older sister. Her husband is still detained and we do not know where he is and if he is still alive. They do not want to leave the country without him. After having lost her first baby, my younger sister gave birth to a baby girl about a month ago. Her name is Delal like my mother. 

When I run from the Dead Sea to the Red Sea on the three year anniversary of the Syria Crisis, I will not take a single step without thinking about my mother. I will run for her and for all of the people who lost a loved one in this cruel war. I will run asking them to turn their pain into strength to help their fellow Syrians. I am running so we can feel hope once again, because without hope no one can live. 

Written by Omran Almish