This story of a young girl named Malak whose father and mother had died tragically is indeed has been an eye-opener on the plight of innocent refugee children in the many war zones around the world. The situation around the world is now even more precarious with the COVID19 pandemic which also saw the reduction of travel and aid. Image source: Preemptive Love
The video was made by Ihsan Ibraheem who is an Iraqi and works as a Program Documentarian with Preemptive Love.
Her name is Malak, meaning “angel” in Arabic. Seeing that heavenly little face immediately took me back to the day we first met, the day she escaped a war zone.
People ask how it felt standing in the desert outside Fallujah, as the war against ISIS raged, meeting children who had suffered so much. But I can hardly describe it. Two-year-old children with nothing to wear, no family, no home.
Then came Malak.
I tried asking her questions like the other children, but she was barely holding back the floodgates. I put my camera down as she dissolved into tears. How could someone so young, who had endured so much—a siege, starvation, ISIS, the death of her parents—hold it in for so long?
Most people noticed her for her tears, but I remember her because of her smile. I’ll never forget her courage in the face of unbelievable suffering. She is more than just a victim to be pitied. She’s our Hero Angel to be celebrated, loved, and cheered.
Malak’s parents married young, and they died together. As Iraqi forces fought to liberate Fallujah and the surrounding countryside, a stray rocket or mortar hit her parents’ car, killing them both. “It took us 15 days to identify the bodies,” her grandmother told me.
When I asked what they hope most for Malak, grandma didn’t miss a beat: “Malak lost her parents. She doesn’t have older siblings to look after her. I won’t be around forever, after all. She’ll grow up someday. I hope to see her future secure.”
Despite Malak still had a family member (her grandmother) to look after her and things have improved since she was first interviewed, I still could not bear to see such a lovely innocent child cry on her huge loss.
It is indeed good that NGOs like Preemptive Love is stepping in proactively to assist those in need in war and conflict zones. And one of their core values says it all:-
We don’t wait for people to flee conflict, walking miles through the desert to the confines of a refugee camp. What about those too sick or frail to flee? What about those who don’t want to give up their sovereignty and subject their families to perpetual displacement?
We go into the conflict zone to reach them, as close to the frontlines as possible. We take food, water, and medicine to those who need it most, while the bombs are still falling.
It is one thing if you are caught in a war zone in a battle that has nothing directly to do with you but it is another if you are young and had just lost both parents in the said war. Malak has indeed reminded me of my own kids and I fear for her future as much as I often fear for my own children’s future.
Certainly, the world needs to know her story and the story of the many other children caught in the same situation.