Maram (10)

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Maram is from Sinjar, the village where 5,000 men were murdered by a terrorist group in 2014. But her father survived.

‘He’s a teacher and he sits with me when I’m doing my homework. I can talk to him when I’m thinking about stuff, such as, “What happened in Sinjar? Why don’t we live there? How are our former neighbors doing?” My father tells me that people are getting help there, that we will go back one day and build a new house.’

Maram lives in a town in Iraq now that is unfamiliar to her. Her house is packed with people. A grandmother rocks a baby in her bed. Twelve children sit in a doorway. Three boys are playing on the staircase. Maram is something of a pillar of peace. She stops to pick up some pens or a bag, she carries things for you. After an hour spent observing, she puts her forearm on your knee, her head against your shoulder, and gives you the kind of disarming look that only a child could. It says, ‘I trust you.’

‘There isn’t a person in the world who loves me more than my father. Last week he bought me a green t-shirt with all these glitters, plus some blue jeans, and he said, ‘This will look really good on you.

My neighbors called out, ‘Maram, you’re so pretty!’ My dad makes me feel self-confident. But you know what’s funny? At the same time there’s no one in the world who can make me feel more sad. Missing Sinjar doesn’t make me sad. Missing my old clothes and my Barbies doesn’t make me sad. Seeing my father cry makes me sad.’

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