When my friend first told me about the SCM medical mission to help the Syrian refugees in Jordan, I thought to myself that this is going to be an easy task, something I’m ready for after working in medical missions before, but after 3 missions I came to the conclusion that I couldn’t be more wrong!
Visiting camps for a whole week at a time, working with devastated people, kids, old ladies, young men who lost every hope in life, makes you rethink every single thing you knew about the Syrian revolution.
Being Palestinian, being a professional refugee gives you a different perspective about the refugee life, the stories I heard from my father about camps, all came back to life, this time with different characters, yet same agony.
To be honest, before these missions, I used to sympathies with the Syrian regime, thinking that it was under huge conspiracy driven by media, but living with Syrians for 3 weeks changed my whole perspective.
The stories I heard, the horrors those people came across, the agony, the blood, death and torture made me feel guilty about my opinions
I worked in the ophthalmic clinic, fitting patients for glasses, I came across horrible stories, unbelievable tales of war.
I once had an elderly lady in her late 70s, once she saw me she couldn’t hold her tears, she started crying loudly, apparently I reminded her of the son she lost in the war, among other four sons, she lost while running from Aleppo, she told me that parents should never outlive their sons, she told me that all she needed is to see clearly, so that she can read Quran for their souls in the afterlife, she had cataract, a condition we can’t treat with our limited resources, I never felt this helpless in my entire life.
In Al-Zaatri camp I had this patient, a young man limping; he came hoping to get his vision back, he told me his history, he was fleeing the country with his wife and two daughters, when a bomb went off beneath their feet, his wife and daughters died, he lost his foot, and sharpens hit his two eyes, he had severe corneal damage, needed a bilateral corneal transplant, something we couldn’t help with, he left the clinic in tears, I never felt this helpless in my life.
We visited Al-Malki Syrian kids center, a place that treats PTSD in children, we played with the kids, sang and danced, I couldn’t help but notice this little kid sitting in the corner by himself, I went to him, tried to talk him into joining the other children, not a single response, not a single word and no eye contact.
I was never good with kids so I called my fellow volunteers Hisham and Rami, who also tried to get him to play with us, again no response, after a while the attending psychiatrist, Dr Shafiq came along and took his hand to join the other children, he told us that he trust no one except for him, after he saw his own father murdered in front of his eyes, I never felt this helpless in my entire life.
No human being should ever be subjected to such horrors, these sort of things makes me rethink the humanity of the world we live in, how it is even possible that the headlines nowadays are about some celebrity doing some stupid stuff, or a team winning a stupid game, while those tormented souls suffer in silence.
We tried to help as much as we can, but still we all felt helpless against this terror, we treated about 3000 patients in those 3 weeks, still, there’s more than 2 million Syrians suffer with no help what so ever !
We will continue our trial to help, we will keep shouting for the human race to care, screaming for the world to gain his humanity back, hopefully some day someone will listen and end this madness.
Khaleel Kilo M.D
You can read this at Dr. Kilo’s blog here also: http://5rabeeesh.blogspot.com/2014/06/my-own-experience-with-syrian-refugees.html