Why Me? Why Us?

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July 13th 2017  |  2  |  Category: Suspense , Thriller  |  Author: Habiba  |  193 views

“Hey! How did it go?” Amna asked her friend, Maria about the exam they just stepped out of.
“It was just okay, not very good. What about you?” Maria inquired Amna in return.
“Same.” Amna replied sadly.
“Yeah it was tough! Well, I am so hungry. Do you want to eat something?” Maria was feeling tired and hungry.
“Yeah of course! Let’s go to café.” Amna said and they moved towards café.
They were the biology students currently studying in grade 9 and were preparing to proceed to grade 10.
_ _ _

“Do you have any news about the exam postponement?” Maria asked Amna while they were having club-sandwiches.
“Yeah I have heard. But I hope nothing will happen. We are so used to such situations.” Amna replied apathetically.
“Hmm, but my dad was telling me that there are already shutter down strikes going on in many cities and the condition is getting worse. That is why it’s hearsay that it’s very much likely that the situation will get critical here too.” Maria wasn’t satisfied with Amna’s response.
“Let’s see buddy. And hope for the best. Just prepare for the next paper.” Amna again responded carelessly. They finished their meal and prepared to leave for home. It had been a tiring day for both of them.

* * *

“Assalam-o-alaikum ammi.”Amna greeted her mother as soon as she got home.
“Walaikumassalam. How was your exam?” She asked in return.
“It was okay. Where is Ahsan?” Amna quickly changed the topic. She wasn’t in the mood of talking about exams. It was upsetting her. She was a perfectionist and her performance that day was imperfect.
“He’s out with his friends.” Her mother told her.
“Alright. I am going to sleep.” She went to her room and rested. She had to study whole night for the next paper.

* * *

It was 1am and she was tired of studying. She had been studying since straight five hours. Everyone in the house was sleeping and she wanted to sleep was well but she didn’t. She wanted the highest score in exams. She was working so hard to get admission in one of the best medical colleges in the city and for that she had to work hard, she couldn’t sleep.

“Go to bed beta. You have one more day to prepare.” Her mother said while entering into her room. She just came out to drink some water and entered Amna’s room when she saw the lights on.
“Yes ammi! I’ll sleep in a bit.” Amna smiled at her mother.
“I heard news that your exams might postpone. Conditions aren’t so good in the country.” Her mother was informing her of the current situation. She didn’t pay attention like before.
“Yes, but it’s very common now ammi. We are so used to it.” Amna replied while her eyes were stuck on her notes.
“Anyway, sleep soon.” She patted Amna gently and left her room. Amna studied for four more hours and then slept.

* * *

“Go Assad Go, We don’t want you.”
“Go Assad Go, We don’t want you.”
“Free this state from Alwaitis”
“Go Assad Go.”
Amna got up from a deep sleep at 7 am when she heard such violent protest outside her home. She got up and peeked outside the window. The rally was passing through the streets and protestors were raising slogans in blaring voices. There was so much chaos outside. She loathed it as she was very tired and wanted to sleep.

“Oh Allah, Why is there so much noise outside!!” Amna exclaimed frustratingly and move towards the bathroom. She had been burning midnight oil due to her exams and waking up so early made her aggravated.

“A public protest which was started with an anti-regime graffiti by some children has turned out to be a country wide protest now. It seems a threatening situation throughout the country and people are raising massive slogans against President Bashar al-Asad.” Amna stopped while coming out of bathroom when she heard this news on a channel that her father was watching. They were telecasting protest coverage from different cities. It made her furious and curious at the same time. She switched to the next news channel.

“A country-wide protest has been observed throughout Syria since few weeks. Today, this protest has intensified and public is demanding government to punish the perpetrators. People throughout the country are extremely angry and aggressive.” Another news channel reported. The situation had gotten critical in her city as well. The rumors that she had been listening to since few weeks had come true.

“My Allah! What’s going on?” I have my exam tomorrow.

“All the examinations have been postponed throughout the country due to the critical situation in the country. New dates will be announced later.” The news channel was then broadcasting breaking news. Amna should’ve been happy to hear this news because she wanted more time to prepare but she was afraid and aghast. She had been hearing such conflicting news since a few weeks, but she thought it is just for the time being and will soon end. But this chaos was converting into a country-wide havoc.

“Ammi! Do you know where dad and Ahsan are? The situation outside is very critical. Did you see the news?” Amna was asking her mother who was cooking in the kitchen. She was aware of the news, but she didn’t know how intensified it had got till then.

“Yes beta I have seen. People are protesting.” Her mom replied to her while stirring the curry she was preparing.

“No ammi it’s not just a protest. Government has taken action against the protestors and they are planning to make a Free Syrian Army (FSA)” Amna was almost shouting to aware her mother. She kept cooking, without paying serious attention.

“Come see ammi! Come!” Amna was calling her, alarming her of the growing tension. She came in and saw the news and got tensed. After a few hours her father and brother were back from work too.

Amna and her family members were so used to protests, security issues and minor critical situations but it was growing with the passage of time. Amna was worried about her exams earlier but the country-wide menace made her more furious. She started watching television on the daily basis. The number of deaths, injuries and missing people was increasing day by day. Her father and brother were home since a few days.

* * *

“I don’t know when all this is going to end? I have no idea about my exams!” Amna was talking to her father on dinner. They were following a cycle of routine by waking up, watching television, hearing news, and going back to sleep.

“Everything will be alright beta! It’s just because of the hatred among different sects. Hope for the best and it will end soon.” She knew he was hiding the reality from her. He was lying to her. Deep down in his heart he felt like cheating on her, but he had no other option. Sometimes you just can’t speak the truth! Not because you are a liar but because you don’t want to face the reality as it is harsh and unfair. Days were passing and they were getting worse.

Bashar Al-Assad was the President of Syria and Amna was a civilian of Damascus. The chaos which started from city of Derra just as a protest against the president had spread throughout the country within three months. This is what happens when the culture of sects starts prevailing. Assad was an Alwaite Muslim and the opposing population started protesting against him just on the basis of cast and sects, and the deterioration started right from that point and it grew rapidly. Amna wasn’t aware of her future. She had always dreamed of becoming a doctor. How would she prepare herself to leave all the dreams behind! How would she know that she was going to face the most miserable reality that anyone in the world would never have experienced! She was just an innocent kid with tons of dreams in her heart and a bundle of enthusiasm in her mind. The protest has now turned into a civil war and the victims were none other than the innocent civilians.

“There’s nothing to eat anymore.” Amna’s mom was telling her father.
“Please check! There might be something. We have stalked four month’s food. It’s been three months only.” Her dad replied worriedly.
“No there isn’t any. We stalked for only two months that we used three whole months. There isn’t anything at all.” Her mother was almost crying then.

It was then when they heard a loud bomb blast. It wasn’t from far away, it was from somewhere near. Panic and fear rose among them. All of a sudden, people came out of their houses to see what had happened. Amna felt tremor in her hands. She felt trepidation in going outside. She protested on going out of her father and Ahsan as well. She had never felt such a huge noise before. They were only deciding from where that sound had come that they heard another loud explosion, more intense, less distant. That time Amna felt earthquake beneath her leg. It had shaken her completely.

“It’s not a bomb blast. Something is coming towards us.” Ahsan informed them.

“Baba please, don’t go outside! Please don’t go!” Amna started begging her father who was running outside, but he didn’t stop. She kept protesting louder and louder.

Amna had no idea what life was going to show her next. She didn’t know what was coming but whatever it was, it wasn’t good. She was pretty sure about that. She didn’t want to face all that she had been watching on the news channels. All this was very new to her. She was the dearest child of her family. Her father had kept her like a doll, her mother had treated her like a princess, and brother had loved her like a new born baby. They all had babied her. How could she protect herself from what was coming to her next?

“Amna go inside and take your mom with you. There are people coming with tanks and riffles here.” Her father was shouting to her from outside. She was watching all the dishevelment from balcony; all of a sudden, she saw a tank coming to her street. Hundreds of people including children, her father, and brother were standing there. It was only then she saw the most disastrous thing of her life. She shouted, alarmed her father and Ahsan of the coming tank, but they were concentrating on shouting back at her and her mother and asking them to go inside. Amna pointed towards the tank and tried to alarm them once again to look behind. Then they did but it was too late. There were two tanks with armed men. A man on top of each tank had a riffle in his hand that he was pointing towards the people on road. As soon as her father and Ahsan looked behind, they opened the fire and killed each and every one on the road like a hunter hunting for houbara bustrard. People were falling down like dried leaves falling from trees in autumn. Amna protested, shouted, cried but she was helpless. She felt her heart had stopped beating and her mind had stopped working. She couldn’t think nor feel anything except an excruciating pain. A pang and throe she felt was settling in her heart. She ran towards outside without thinking about the possibility of being killed. Her mind hadn’t expected that her father and brother were dead. How could they be! They were talking to her a few minutes ago, alarming and instructing her to go inside. And now??? She kept running, but her mother stopped her. She shouted and protested but her mom pulled her towards herself and locked the door. Memories of her childhood started coming in her mind. How her father used to take her on his shoulders and walked miles! How she used to fight with her brother over little things! How they used to go out for dinners every next day! How both of them used to bring her chocolates just because it delighted her! How they used to cosset her, care for her! Memories were rushing through her mind. She came out of the reverie when she heard another massive explosion. What was it? Ahsan was no more there to alarm her. She became extremely worried for her mother now. She didn’t want to lose her too. She wanted to sacrifice her own life to save her mother. But she couldn’t help herself. No one was listening to her. No one was there for her. The explosives were being bombarded on the neighborhoods. She was calculating the distance when she had another worst experience of her life. A missile with the speed of a hundred miles was fired on her house. It had made a big hole on the wall of the lounge. She was sitting with her mother inside the room. The lock had dropped itself due to the echo and frequency of explosion and the door opened. She couldn’t believe her eyes, but she thanked she didn’t see it when it was fired. It was too much to absorb and accept what was happening then. Only a few hours had shown her what she had never even dreamed of. She was crying so hard. She had no idea whether it was going to stop or not. The worst was yet to come! She didn’t know how much more pain her little heart was going to feel!

“What is going on mom? Why are they doing all this? What do they want from us?” Amna started crying once again. Her mom showed so much courage. She had just lost her husband and son but she was being strong for her daughter. She hugged her tightly. She was crying and Amna’s question made her cry even more. Both of them hugged each other tightly and they cried together for several minutes. Amna was facing that huge hole that had just been made by the missile explosion. She saw a few military men forcefully entering into the neighborhoods. They kicked the door open and entered. The scene made the adrenaline rush through her body. It was as though she was watching a Hollywood action movie. She let herself go from her mother’s embrace.

“Mom they are coming. They are coming towards us!” Amna was pointing towards the armed men. Her mom became frightened. She had no idea what to do, where to go. They were everywhere. They could neither hide nor run. But they tried anyhow.

“Let’s hide in the next room. Come come come!” Her mom grabbed her hand and pulled her to run towards the room next to the one they were in. They hid behind the door. Amna felt like going outside and check if her father and brother were alive. How could life be so cruel to her all of a sudden that she couldn’t even see the dead bodies of her loved ones? She had never harmed anyone, then why was all this happening to her? She was unable to answer the questions. She started praying to her God in the heart.

Allah! I will pray from now on. I will help the needy. But please Allah end this all. Let me see the face of my father and brother. If they are dead, let me bury them and if they are alive let me nurse them back to life- she was crying harder than ever.

They were the next. The armed men entered their house from the hole. Amna had just started shouting and her mother gaged her suddenly.
“Sssshhhhhh! don’t shout!” she put finger on her lips and told her not to make noise. Amna was full of fear. She felt urinating. They were throwing tables and chair violently in the lounge like a tiger tears his prey when he’s hungry. They searched for someone in home and came to the room Amna and her mom left a moment ago.

“Where the hell did everybody go?” One of the men asked the other.

“May be we just killed the residents of this house outside.” mocked the other man and the rest of them laughed. Amna and her mother were sweating badly. They were just praying to their God that they could go away. They had even forgotten about their loved ones they just lost, whose dead bodies were still outside. Those monsters were still there. Prayers weren’t working.

Why us Allah? Why all this mess? We don’t deserve this! – Amna was talking to Allah in her heart and crying.

And all of a sudden, the door of their room burst open and those six armed men entered violently. It was a blood-and-guts scene. Amna couldn’t shout nor scream. She just held her mom tightly. Both of them were convulsing. Those men had blood in their eyes. Amna thought that they surely drank blood not water.

They aren’t humans! Why did you introduce us with these kinds of creatures Allah? Why such surprise? – Amna was thinking. She could feel her death very near.

“Oh so here they are fellas! Just take this lady away. We have our food for tonight.” One of them said sarcastically and all of them laughed and nodded.

“Sure thing bro.” Another man leaned forward towards Amna’s mother and held her hand tightly. He shoved Amna away and pulled her mom towards him. He moved his fingers gently on her face. She protested, turned her face but he took her face in his hand and squashed her face.

“Don’t try to be smart OK!” he said to her. She started crying. He pulled her up and took her with him. Two others followed him.

“Please don’t take ammi! Please leave her! You can take me! Please don’t take her!” Amna was begging to them but they paid no attention to her innocent screams. How could they? They weren’t humans. Three of them left then. First time in her life, Amna wished she could die. She felt death was better than what she was going to face. She was just a little kid but she could feel what was going to happen to her mother and herself.

“Please leave me or kill me. Please!” She said to one of those human-faced monsters. But same was the case with them. They couldn’t listen to what an innocent kid was saying. They came to her, molested her, all of three of them at the same time. Amna cried and cried all over again until she felt her throat getting dry. She couldn’t hear her voice anymore. Her vocal cord was hurting now. One of the men stood up and closed the door. Those men did to her something that was worse than death. It was impossible for an innocent mind to bear all of this just in a few hours. A girl who was preparing to be a doctor in the future had been miserably treated by the monsters in the name of politics, cast, creed, and culture. What does all this had to do with Amna? Did she and her family kill anyone? Amna didn’t even know why people were protesting against President Assad. She knew nothing except his name. Then why she had to face all this? Amna felt dark. There was nothing more left in her life then.
_ _ _ _

Those men were gone and she was sitting there naked, empty minded, crying with no tears. She missed her mother, father, and brother. She was worried about her mother.

What would they have done to her? Same what they did to me? Or did they kill her? – She was trying to find an answer but she hadn’t any. She might not see her mother again. She started recalling the death of her father and brother. She stood up and moved towards the main gate and suddenly she stopped. She looked at herself and then she cried with tears.

“I am so dirty now Allah! I am very dirty!” Amna looked upwards as if she was talking to someone sitting on the roof. She went to her room and searched for some clothes. After a minute she found her pink shirt that Ahsan had gifted her on her last birthday. I wish he could come back; Amna thought and put on her clothes.

She went outside. She saw hundreds of men soaked in blood. All the houses were destroyed. All she could see was destruction everywhere.She couldn’t believe her eyes. Only a day before she walked through these streets and everything was fine. She thought for a while that she was dreaming but she was wide-awake. She searched for her father and her brother. It was so difficult for her to find them. Most of the faces were covered in blood. Many of them had been shot in the heads that changed their facial features. She tried to recall the dresses they were wearing but she couldn’t remember. She ran here and there helplessly.

“Where are you baba? I am here for you. Can you listen to me?” Amna was shouting like a kid playing hide and seek with her father.
“Bhai are you there? Can you listen to me?” She kept wandering here and there, screaming, shouting, and crying. At last, after about half an hour of searching, she found both of them lying next to each other. They had been shot multiple times in the head and chest. She could recognize their faces. They weren’t shot in faces.
“Baba!!!” She screamed as soon as she found him. She hugged him and cried harder. A ray of hope went through her mind that he might be alive. She checked his heartbeat then checked Ahsan’s.
“Baba I am right here. Can you listen to me?”
“Bhai look at me! I am here!” Amna was switching to both of them one by one. But they didn’t speak up. They had been put to sleep forever. They had been sent to the God. A last hope had gone too. She had been left truly alone in this cruel world. Where no one was there to protect, love, feed, and take care of her. She could neither love nor be loved anymore. After all that happened to her, she was unable to feel any good in herself. She cried sitting in front of the dead bodies. She had so many unanswered questions in her mind. Most wanted of those questions was: “Why me Allah? Why Us?”- She asked again.


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2 Responses to Why Me? Why Us?

  1. Avatar of Obloo01 Obloo01 says:

    Such is the pain of war and terror. You’ve captured the essence beautifully although it hurts to read this. I could experience helplessness of the victim through your words, I do not wish so much pain and sufferings for the worst of humans. Sadly, this is the reality of so many children in countries facing wars. This made me tearful.

    • Habiba says:

      Yeah, it’s so heartbreaking to learn about the war zones. I always intend to highlight the feelings of those people who live a miserable so that we may help them and be thankful to what we have.

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