April 22, 2016
Janine di Giovanni wrote for the New York Times about wartime in Syria:
Five years is a long time to be frozen in the grip of war. Five years is a primary-school education. Five years is hundreds of thousands of memories in a single human life.
“I have not seen or eaten a tomato in a year,” Ahmed Mujahid, 23, recently told me by Skype. His home in Darayya, Syria, has been bombed several times; now he stays with friends, or wherever he can. “I think it was last summer when I last tasted a tomato, and that was uneatable, because it was green. There are children who have been born in these five years who don’t know the taste of fruit.”
Syria has now endured five years of war. We know the figures that illustrate that time passing: as many as 470,000 dead; nearly five million refugees; some six million displaced inside the battered country. The opposition walked out of peace talks in Geneva last week. No one seemed surprised. Those in Syria have little hope. When you live through war for that long, you become accustomed to the misery, the drudgery, to not having water, electricity or medical care.
After a while, you forget the book you were reading when the war started, or the love affair you had just ended. Your life is put on hold. With a terrible nonchalance, you get used to the sound of bombs falling.