Melky, the Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Director and ADA Coordinator at Western Kentucky University, and a native of Damascus, began the presentation with the preface that she always likes “to focus on the positives.”
“I lived there, I worked there, I studied there…it’s my country,” Melky said.
Melky painted the picture of her homeland, saying that it is a beautiful country with beautiful people, but those people are suppressed. She explained that around two and a half years ago, the revolt against the government began with the young people on social media. They saw that people were free to do what they please without threats of violence in other countries, and they wanted that democracy, too.
Now, 160 different groups are fighting on behalf of opposition to the Syrian President Bashar al-Alssad, according to Melky, and the country is in turmoil. Millions of homes have been destroyed causing people to live on the streets, and bathe and drink from communal fountains. Neighboring countries’ refugee camps are filling up quickly, and those that are not full are seeing the same disastrous conditions as Syria. Melky says that most people in Damascus are highly education and are not used to the conditions that they are facing.
“They’ve never seen anything like this,” Melky said. “You cannot find a safe place.”
The people of Damascus see kidnapping, killings, and rapes every day with seemingly zero help from the United Nations, according to Melky. The area is even attracting extremist terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda, making it an even more dangerous environment.
Melky’s immediate family is still living in Damascus. She speaks to them every day and says they do not care who is in power, “they just want to be safe”. Melky has one cousin who has been killed, and one family member kidnapped, with no word on their whereabouts.
Americans see the disastrous effects the revolution has had on the people of Syria on television everyday, and even Melky catches up on television, too.
“What I see on TV is very hard for me to take,” Melky said.
Melky and her family have had to rely on the consistency of their beliefs during the tremendous turmoil of the Syrian nation.
“I cannot tell you where this is going, (or) when it’s going to end, all we have is faith and hope,” Melky said.
Melky shared her testimony about Syria during a presentation she gave Monday evening on the Owensboro Community and Technical College campus.
Photo provided by Taylor Riley
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