As a poet, rapper and university student, Hany saw opportunity everywhere. But the conflict in Syria has put his future in doubt.
“If I am not a student, I am nothing.” Hany’s home is a wooden frame and plastic sheets. Thick carpets line the floor and long cushions serve as sofas. A wood stove offers warmth. A TV connected to satellite brings news from Syria.
He speaks smooth English, mastered from music videos and Dan Brown novels. He is 20 years old, and a refugee. Lost, in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley. “I am wasting time here.”
Hany is missing out on his dreams. Knowing this is worse than learning his house was looted and burned, after he fled for his life. It’s worse than knowing his country is bleeding and scarred. He has lost his sense of future.
Before the war, Hany’s was a life taken for granted, lived in the moment. In a quiet district of Homs, in the house his dad built, he would stare at the tree outside his bedroom and write poems.
Hany was a rapper. He performed in a band at school with his friends, and dreamed of university. His future was bright.
Ashraf, his brother, was born on the day Syria’s conflict began. March 15, 2011. His family felt blessed. A new life, in a comfortable home, in a community full of friendship. 20 days later, the violence reached their neighborhood. The bombs fell, and their windows shook.
“For a year and a half we locked ourselves in,” Hany’s mother tells me. “We would squeeze into one room and sleep there, eat there.” When the shelling stopped, they ran, to see the doctor or buy supplies.