WOMEN SURVIVORS OF WAR
War does not discriminate. It causes destruction and mayhem, leaving behind it scorched lands, broken families, and wounded hearts.
Thousands of lives have been lost in Iraqi and Syrian crisis; not just men fighting on the frontline, but women and children too. Airstrikes targeting hospitals, markets, and schools have destroyed communities, families, and homes.
FORGIVENESS IS NOT EASY
With tears in her eyes, Rajamy Khalil says,
“I can’t forgive as I am in so much pain. I wish I could see the person who killed my daughter and have revenge. How can I forgive the man who intentionally murdered my daughter?”
Rajamy, a woman from Iraq, lost her daughter at the beginning of 2003. She then moved to Syria with her family for refuge, after receiving death threats at home. A few years after settling in Syria, war broke out.
“My sons always say they want revenge for their sister, but I keep telling them that she is with Jesus. He chose her; we don’t know why but He knows,” Khalil says.
Dalal Hannah and her Syrian family were held at gunpoint while returning to home. Militias wanted to kidnap them and steal their car. They were saved when some friends intervened, negotiating with the terrorists to let the family go and take the vehicle instead.
“Some things we can forgive, like daily trespasses, but those intended on destroying our lives are hard to forgive. They intentionally destroyed a life we have been building for years,” Hannah says.
Amid all the horror, SAT-7 is restoring hope to women war survivors and other viewers who have been affected by conflict. SAT-7’s Women and Wars program interviews women who were directly affected by warfare. Rather than brooding over their tragedies, the program instead highlights these women’s triumphs over their daily struggles with the weapons of resilience and faith.
Hoda Bitar and her family were forced to flee their home in Harasta, Syria, to escape terrorism. They returned after ten days: although Hoda and her family survived, they came back to find their house demolished. Despite their dire living circumstances, Hoda finds peace and has faith in God:
“I forgive because Jesus taught us to forgive others. We don’t have hatred. May God forgive those who destroyed our house.”
SHARING AND ENCOURAGEMENT
Karen Elia, Presenter of Women and Wars and an expert in counselling, explains the core purpose of the program.
“We made this program not only to tell the suffering of the women we interviewed but also to encourage other women who have experienced anguish. We want to tell them that they aren’t alone and that other women, who have seen horrific events, have survived. I hope this can help them deal with their tribulations.”
Though material possessions lost in war can be compensated, Elia worries about the restoration of survivors’ physical and psychological health. However, she says that the women she interviewed confided in her because she showed them compassion and empathy. They expressed that sharing their experiences helped them get closer to God, and they voiced their needs to commit more to prayer.
“We show God not just through our words, but with our presence and compassion. We are here to help carry their burdens, so their spiritual lives are not affected.”
The second season of Women and Wars will expand, featuring more interviews in countries outside the Arab region. The program aims to create awareness of how many women struggle through rape, slavery, kidnapping, killing, torture, and forced migration because of war. Similarly, Women and War wants to encourage survivors and other viewers about the restorative hope of God’s love in their lives.