Written by Nida Ali.
Sohaila Tariq was standing in her Brooklyn home, pouring a glass of orange juice to share with her daughter in her. Her 7-year-old daughter ran around the white kitchen, around the wooden counter where her mother stood; a stuffed Pikachu in her hand. Tariq picked up her iPhone and scrolled through her Facebook newsfeed when she came across a goodbye tweet from a teacher from Aleppo. She released a cry and her daughter grabbed her navy cardigan with concern.
“His tweet made me sob,” Tariq, 32, said, “and I immediately thought of my daughter. He called for help to save his daughter. He appealed to people as a father, and I realized how blessed I am, living here, safe and sound. I would be broken if my daughter was ever in the same position, and wouldn’t the rest of the world be?”
Goodbye messages have been pouring in from Aleppo on Twitter this past week. The armed forces of the Syrian government surrounded the last remaining rebel territory in east Aleppo, broke the cease fire agreement and resumed airstrikes Monday. The 50,000 civilians that are trapped in the embattled territory took to Twitter to express their concern and post their final messages.
Here are our responses to their heartbreaking goodbyes.
Dear Mr. Alhamdo,
The whole world may ignore your calls, but we’re here. Your daughter will be safe and happy, like my daughter. She will live in a world where they will be no hate, no violence and no ignorance, but there will be happiness and peace. Your daughter is my daughter and I hold her hand like I hold my daughter’s hand. Your pain is my pain. It is our pain. One day your call will be heard. I only hope, it’s not too late. My heart weeps for you, but my hands go up for you in prayer. (Sohaila Tariq, Brooklyn, N.Y.)
I’m sorry, I am truly sorry, I have nothing left but to say sorry. We cannot forget about you either. I wish there were more we could do. I wish that there was more to humanity than what is visible. Humanity now doesn’t consider justice, but justice is what you and we all will get. Allah, who is the most just, will grant you all the justice you deserve. I am sorry for the pain that you’re inflicted with in this world, and I pray that your future life and your life in the hereafter is full of joy and the justice you are deserving of. We cannot forget you, we will never forget you, in both this world and the next. May Allah protect us all. (Farjana Akhtar, N.Y.)
Dear Monther Ataky,
I would like to thank you for bringing the realities of war and pain to the world’s attention. Thank you for being strong and resilient. Thank you for fighting injustice while we sit here and respond to words that may be your last. Thank you for standing in the face of horror and being kind to the people who do nothing for you. I have done nothing for you, I am not deserving of your thanks. Your pain has become so real for me that it has become my pain. Humanity is crying right now. (Maria Khan, T.X.)
I am disgusted. I am disgusted from not only the world but from myself. I feel heartbroken as I watch your friends and family being brutally murdered. I feel anger as I watch your home being destroyed. I feel helpless as I sit behind this screen with nothing to offer but my prayers. You are in my constant thoughts and prayers. I stop my selfish thoughts and wonder how you must feel. (Sundos Khweiss, N.Y.)
Dear Mr. Alhamdo,
I’m sorry we ignored your cries for so long & I’m sorry we couldn’t raise our voices loud enough for you. The international community failed you, humanity failed you. Aleppo didn’t fall, humanity did. Your resistance, sacrifices, and strength will never be forgotten. (Roba Alamari, N.Y.)
Dear Zouhir Al Shimale,
I am shaking at my privilege, and the only words that come to mind are “I’m sorry.” I’m just so sorry we as humanity have failed you and that the world is just standing by while this is happening. In the midst of all of this, I’m reminded of something I’m sure you already know: Allah will never forget, and He has promised justice, and never will the oppressors win. Know that we, your brothers and sisters are with you, we will do everything we can, we will not forget about you. (Tanha Tabassum Alsheikhdallah, N.Y.)