Dear Readers, you may notice the dates of the Blog do not match the Flash Post dates which are in real time. The blog was written in 2009 and saw the light of day 6 months back when my younger daughter discovered it and decided to bring it to you here.
A Sad Game | Flash Post 394

A Sad Game | Flash Post 394

Button, the clip that did the rounds on social and print media and television of a beautiful three-year old Syrian child ensconced on her father’s lap laughing out loud and clapping her hands in joy caught my attention but the real story was far from it.

I too saw the clip.

Childhood is perhaps the happiest phase in ones life. There is joy and celebration in the family when a child is born. The family members fret when she doesn’t eat, sing lullabies to her at bedtime, talk in hushed whispers when she sleeps, get all worked up when she cries, stay awake night after night to watch over her. During her growing-up years too, she’s  pampered and made to feel like a goddess. She is the epicentre of everything the family does so she can have the best time of her life.


When Salwa was a year old, she’d cry every time she heard firecrackers. Her father, Abdullah, would tell her she had nothing to fear because it was just children in the locality bursting firecrackers on the occasion of Eid. In war-torn Syria, amidst the deafening sound of shelling, bombing and utter chaos, her father who is helpless smiles and tells her again that she needn’t fear because the sound she is hearing is of children bursting firecrackers in their locality on the occasion of Eid. ”Salwa, he asks, “what did we do when the plane flew at us?” And Salwa cracks up, claps her hands and tells him “they flew at us and we laughed a lot. They make us laugh all the time. And you told me that the sounds we hear all the time is the sound of children bursting firecrackers in the locality because of Eid.” Abdullah heart skips a beat because he knows that Salwa will know the real story some day only if she survives. Will she hold him responsible for not telling her the truth or will she be pleased with the good times they shared as long as it lasted?

Why are the Syrians fighting?

Briefly, the war that’s being fought there is a civil war.

What’s a civil war?

Its war that is fought between organised groups in the same state or country. This war is being fought between soldiers who support the Syrian President Bashar-al- Assad, the rebels who want to oust him and a third independent group that calls itself Islamic State or IS in short.

Are there other countries fighting a civil war?

Well, there’s been internal conflict in Myanmar since 1948, the Philippines since 1969, the war in Afghanistan has been going on since 1978 but the situation here is complicated because other super powers have got involved. Assad’s government is backed by Russia and Iran while the rebels are supported by US, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. On the other hand UK, France and other western countries have been providing varying support to what they call “moderate” rebels.

I guess it’s civilians who pay the highest price?

True. Lakhs have fled what they once called home. There are reports of shortage of basic requirements like water, food and electricity. If the situation does not improve, another 450,000 could be forced to move.

Where will these displaced people go leaving behind everything they had? What story will Abdullah tell Salwa when they have to leave their home?

Life can be very cruel sometimes, Button. And futures sometimes even more so.

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