Six years of lost childhood
“Taiz has changed and is no longer the same as before,” Ammar told me, with his eyes on the ground, hoping that things will return to the way they were before. “I was afraid of the sounds of the bombs,” Ammar added. This is what I heard and remembered during my conversation with Ammar during a media coverage for UNICEF support in Al Salam camp for the internal displaced people in Ibb governorate. This fear no longer exists now, and I can be certain of this, because I met Ammar after 6 years of war in Yemen, and he is still in the same place, still displaced. The features have changed; the smiles and childhood are lost in the gap of displacement and escape from death. Here is Ammar again, and in another way, we can see the harsh days and circumstances that shaped Ammar’s face.
I can assure you that Ammar and his family are fine at least physically, but they have lost everything. They lost their home, their friends, loved ones, their sense of safety for seven years.
Not only Ammar
We do not want this childhood to be taken by force from Ammar like Yusuf who is right now 20 years old and completely lost his childhood in the same displacement camp for 7 years.
And yes, Ammar and Yusuf are not the only children. Similar stories exist almost every part of Yemen. Ammar has been waiting for the war to end for really too long in a camp, and he has no objection to staying in this state because he has lost the most important thing to everyone of us – hope. He does not even want to go buy the candy that was on his entire mind seven years ago. My last meeting with Ammar was shocking to me, and I could not even answer his question about when the war in Yemen would end.
We are sorry, Ammar, that you lost your childhood in this place and you definitely deserve enjoying what remains of your childhood just like any normal child. Fate will play its game one day, you and all other children who are facing the circumstances will fly home, and your story; the story of this little brave kid will be told everywhere. It is story of patience, strength, and suffer.