My Tuesday started out rough. After barely sleeping the previous night, feeling sad to leave my Rabat friends and internship, and giving up my Embassy-issued phone, I spent an hour at the train station waiting for No. 117 to Fes.
Once it arrives, I cram my two suitcases and a backpack full of pantry food into a six-person compartment.
A map from The Guardian shows Syrian refugee populations abroad.
Since the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011, Lebanon has been the main destination for Syrians fleeing violence in their home country. According to The Guardian, Lebanon took in 844,021 refugees – the highest number compared to other host countries – as of January 2014. Due to its strong Sunni community, the northern city of Tripoli has attracted many Syrians.
For a Deutsche Rundschau article last year, I spoke to college student and Tripolitan Lulu Annous about changes in her town brought by the Syrian civil war. In a previous blog post, Annous shared insights regarding poverty, an increased military presence and her own experience with gunfire in the streets.
This post was originally published as an article in the German-language newspaper Deutsche Rundschau.
Lulu Annous and I met our junior year of high school, after my father’s job brought our family to northern Lebanon for the 2010-2011 academic year. Due to our shared love of journalism and quirky sense of humor, we clicked immediately and became close friends. After my family left Lebanon, we remained in contact, sharing stories about graduation and college on different sides of the world. While my life has been comfortable and stable, though, the effects of the Syrian civil war, which began shortly after I left Lebanon, have changed Lulu’s life. In a recent Skype conversation, Lulu, a 19-year-old college Sunni student from Tripoli, Lebanon, described to me the distressing changes in her hometown since the start of the turmoil in Syria.