Unis Middle School
The hardship of knowing you have family overseas in a warring country is almost unbearable for Unis Middle School student Maryam Alrefaai. She is one of many young people in Dearborn, known as the capital of Arab America, who are personally affected by the war in Syria.
Maryam, who is Syrian American, said she is fed up with her family being pushed around by the Syrian government. Her family in Syria comes from her mother’s side. Here in Dearborn, Maryam and her parents are constantly worrying about their family in Syria, making calls and sending video requests weekly. Sometimes they are denied contact because the Internet is controlled and only available at certain times.
After the tragic loss of her 6-year-old cousin Majed, who was shot in the stomach on the roof of their Syrian home after hearing noises outside, safety is now the main priority.
Maryam says that all the chaos is because of deception by Syria’s president, Bashar Hafez al-Assad. “Even though I am not as close with my family, they are still blood and they are just as important to me,” Maryam said. Maryam agrees with millions when she says, “Take Bashar al-Assad down!”
Another student who has a strong opinions on the subject is Sumaiya Abbas. A seventh-grader at Crescent Academy International in Canton, Sumaiya fears for her family in Syria in many ways. Death is not her only fear. There are many more such as kidnapping, torture and even public beatings. The city, Homs, was destroyed the same day Sumaiya’s uncle, aunt and cousins fled the doomed city. Bombs went off, and as the flames grew, Sumaiya and her family sat on the edges of their chairs waiting for word that their family was still walking and breathing.
“America is very powerful and needs to take action and get this problem under control.”
—Sumaiya Abbas, seventh-grader
Sixth-grader Hussein Zaarour has a different opinion. Hussein, who is Lebanese, said the problem needs to be dealt with in the country where it started: Syria. Even though Hussein is not on the inside, he still has a knot in his stomach and fears deeply for those trapped in Syria.
Hussein said, “Imprison those who support the war and treat the wounded.” He said he is sad and even worried for those trapped in the war-bound country.
Across Dearborn and around the world, Syria is a touchy subject. Millions of strangers discuss the fate of people there. Has the problem grown or stayed the same? What is the solution? At Unis, students don’t have answers, but they have a lot of strong feelings on the subject.