Syria's Generation in Waiting

“If I continue my studies, I can find a way to help rebuild my country,” she says. “That’s why I stay up late ... to practice my writing, to practice anything.”

But since fleeing to Lebanon, she’s barely been able to stay in school. For the past five months she’s been enrolled in a UNHCR-funded school, but she fears the education won’t be enough to get her back to where she was: “able to think normally, to dream normally.”

For a recent homework assignment, her teacher asked her to write about a favorite film or friend. She says she wrote instead about the only thing she really knows—her home on a hill back in Syria, surrounded by white flowers and tall trees.

“Our home in Syria is an abandoned castle,” she says in a near whisper, reciting lines from memory. “We lived in it like kings. Now we’re abandoned and humiliated. We have no crowns, but our hearts still wear them.”

This reporting was made possible in part through support from UNHCR.

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Lauren E. Bohn

Lauren Bohn is a multimedia journalist based in Istanbul and a columnist for Foreign Policy. She's the co-founder of Foreign Policy Interrupted and a contributing editor at The Cairo Review of Global Affairs.

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