· Vatican City ·

From Syria

Anna Jabbour

24 March 2023

I am Anna, I come from Aleppo. I am a Christian. I think about my city very often. It was beautiful. My husband, Subhi, and I did not want to leave. We resisted until 2016. We had a peaceful life there: family, work, friends, the parish, our dreams were there. We hoped that the war would end, but it only worsened each day. We would leave the house not knowing if we would return. We watched neighbours and friends die. In the last period, bombs fell like rain, all the people were screaming — sirens, the dead, the wounded, destruction everywhere. It was a nightmare. Our little Pamela had just been born, she was a month old, and to save her we decided to leave everything and go.

We went toward Lebanon, but the situation was deteriorating there too. Then there was the port explosion on 4 August 2020. Half of Beirut was destroyed. We too were left without a home again. We could no longer live even in Lebanon.

We started looking. We heard about Humanitarian Corridors. It seemed like a dream: the opportunity to live in peace, serenity, to work and be involved in society, the possibility for Pamela to lead a “normal” life.

When we had the first interview, we finally saw a bit of light. Hope had been rekindled.

We arrived in Italy a few days before Christmas 2020. For us it was truly Christmas, a rebirth for us. Four years had already gone by...

Everything was different: from the time of our arrival. People smiled, they welcomed us with flowers, they were worried about us.

In the following months we started to discover Rome and Italy, to learn the language. My daughter immediately started school. We never felt alone. Friends of the Community took us by the hand and taught us to walk. They do the most beautiful thing in the world: they give you hope, an essential thing for those who have lived in the darkness of war.

Today we are at peace. My husband works for a cleaning company and I work with an elderly woman. We live near her. Pamela is happy to study and have friends at school. We thought of returning the gift we have received and so we committed to giving back.

One month ago, the earthquake that struck Syria and Turkey threw us back into anguish. I thought of the people of Aleppo who had already suffered so much. We wonder why. Why all this evil? Some of my friends have lost relatives, so many people live on the streets and have lost what little they had. I pray and would like to help give them hope.

Your Holiness, I thank you because you love migrants, you pray and work for peace. In Syria we all know that you have not forgotten us and that you love us.