Monthly Archives: January 2018

Q. Write an interview of Harriet Jacob’s of her time in hiding in the crawl space at her grandmother’s house with a local newspaper journalist. You should include: 1. What was her hiding place like? 2. How she spent her days and nights; 3. How did Dr Flint and his family try to find her whereabouts? 4. Her freedom By Zahra Kazmi

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Good evening ladies and gentlemen! I am your very own and friendly journalist, Zarah Kazmi representing the most updated newspaper of North Carolina, The Express Tribune, and today we are here with a special guest. She is an epitome of valor, patience, and tolerance. Serving good 27 years of her life in slavery, she is a true inspiration for everyone. She is none other than Harriet Brent Jacobs. Thank you Harriet for being here and serving me this honor of interviewing you.

Harriet: the pleasure is all mine. Today I feel like I am ready to let go and tell the whole world about the chapters of my sad life. It has been ages since I have harbored this pain and burden in my heart. I think time has come that I let go off this burden. Thank you for providing me with the opportunity to do so.

Interviewer: you are a true inspiration Harriet. We shall proceed on with the purpose of this interview that is to inform everyone about your life. So, would you like to tell us something about the hiding place that you chose to live in?

Harriet: (coarse voiced) it all started when my first mistress, the nice old lady, passed away. I never yearned for freedom, trust me, until I have handed over Dr James Norcom whose family and he, himself treated me a little better than an animal. To be honest, I think animals are treated with more respect and dignity. These circumstances led to my escape to my freed grandmother’s house where I was forced to hide in a crawl place where even breathing seemed near impossible… (Sobs) it was a small shed… (Sobs more).

Interviewer: Harriet dear, it is okay. You can let it all out. So, what was that shed like?

Harriet: a small shed in my grandfather’s house that was added few years ago. The roof reminded of a small garret inhibited by rats and mice. Some boards were placed on the top and a shingles covered pent roof was located there. When I say crawl place, I am not even exaggerating. The highest part was 3 feet high which sloped down instantly making it nearly impossible to change sides while sleeping.

Interviewer: (shocked) that surely sounds tough. I don’t have words to explain my emotions right now. Alright, so what was the atmosphere of the shed like?

Harriet: like I said before, no air circulation was present which made breathing really hard sometimes and to top it off, the piazza was totally covered in darkness. Darkness which reminded me of my past

and ultimate future. Everything seemed in shortage in that shed except my tears which were present in abundance. Heat was intense which became more stifling because of the lack of air and light.

Interviewer: truly heart wretching! In such situation how did you manage to spend your days and nights?

Harriet: days and nights were same for me. My food was provided to me through trapdoor my uncle had created. My family always seeked opportunities to have a little conversation with me during night time. Fortunately I discovered a gimlet which helped me see my children. I succeeded in making some more holes which led the provision of air in my small den.

Interviewer: (eyes widened) wow! Did you have any activities besides sighting your children?

Harriet: surprisingly I did! From a young age I had a knack for reading, sewing and working and that is exactly what I did. It was a great relief to the monotony of my life. The sad part was that in my den the summers were intensely hot and winters were extremely cold which led to me getting frostbites now and then. My grandmother was a kind lady but she could not do anything to control the changing weather.

Interviewer: I could never imagine living such a life and I strongly believe that everyone should praise you for your courage. So, during this time did Dr Flint try to find you in anyway?

Harriet: they made every effort to search for my whereabouts but were unsuccessful in the end. My aunt used to tell me that he wrote a letter to a lady in New York about me and offered her reward if she could find out anything about me.

Interviewer: New York?! Why did he suspect New York to be your escape place?

Harriet: when you compare my little shed to those Free states, your first guess would always be those southern cities where slavery was abolished. He even went to New York himself and returned empty hand. I would see him passing by through my little hole coaxing people. He even tried to coax and convince my children by providing them favors and some silver but he didn’t realize that they were my children! (Proud).

Interviewer: (smiling) sure they are Harriet… your children seem smart and brave just like you! Your story truly restores my faith in humanity and makes me elated when I think that there are still people out there fighting for their right and equality. So after all these years, how did you attain your freedom?

Harriet: my children were fortunately freed while I was in hiding and after some years a kind gentleman in New York City, where I successfully eloped, bought me out of slavery. This event took place in 1852 and in 1865 legalized slavery came to an ultimate end in Untied States.

Interviewer: applause for you Harriet! Your life story is one of its kind and we hope that there are more women out there who are standing up for their rights and making every effort to abolish gender discrimination and racism in all kinds. Thank you for being here and providing us with the opportunity to

talk to you and open the chapters of your life. Thank you very much. We look forward to seeing you in the future.

‘Ray of Light’ by Shehryar Mir

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The dark painted the sky in a stark palate, covering the entire canvas in somber, melancholy hues of purple, black, and blue. The juxtaposition of the delicate pink lining marveled in the sky. The moon was bringing light onto the horizon; Its silver lining was lightly masked with the same desolate mist that covered the rest of the sky.

The moon beamed with pride throughout the night. Faded red hues burned the horizon, tainting it in warmer tones. The stars, as if hand-sown sequences on a black cloth, sparkled across the brilliantly demonic sky. Through the surrounding sadness, the stars managed to find solace between themselves, connecting with one another, creating networks of constellations woven across the sky.

The darkness masked the meadow and swathed the earth in all of its glory. It looked grey under the influence of the night and there was no silver lining to be found. It was dead, sad, and without a doubt—frozen.

The greenery looked drained and stripped of its coloured, living beauty that once exuberantly burned in the light. The sound of the crickets and other such insects were in sync, after time intervals of nearly a millisecond.

Zephyr blew across the sky with a light, soothing sound. It moved the leaves of the dead plants and gave them some life. The leaves vibrated aimlessly in unison, bringing one another in their path, much like the path of life.

The shards of the sharp-bladed leaves glistened under the moonlight, yearning for its light. The gorgeous flowers that adorned this meadow had their colours fade away into oblivion.

Through the devious and morbid clouds; through the networks of constellations that shone across the sky; and through the dead, frozen plains of the meadow emerged a ray of light.

In that moment I recalled the saying, “we go back to the light we come from.”

 

In moments, the sun bathed the sky and the horizon in its cherished light, and brought back life in the universe. In seconds, what was once frozen, melted.

Just like that, to my surprise, my tears of mourning dried beneath the sun.

Q) Write the text of a speech to give to your class about the importance of education and how it helps individuals grow. You must include: · Importance of education/school · Measures taken for the improvement of schools/ resources · Role of the parents/ teachers to ensure good learning/ safety of the students Think carefully about the purpose of the speech and the audience for whom it is intended. By Mahum Mujtaba

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“We have seen the situation of our country. More than half of our young children wander aimlessly around the roads, wearing rags and are deprived of basic needs. And many of us ponder on why these small children are working on the streets. The answer to this question is quite simple. It is the need of education …

Good morning fellow students and respected teacher. My name is Mahum and today I will inform you all about the importance of education, as well as what is being done to improve our schools. Education is powerful and many may not know that it is in fact, a necessity of life.

Education is vital and necessary for all of us. People like you and me can reach out for their true potential. Education is like the stepping stones to our talents, which are the stars shining high up in the sky. Education gives us the power of the pen and the joys of reading. Likewise, it also gives us skills that can only be obtained through education, like coding and algebra. And perhaps the most important part of education is the fact that it gives every single person a chance to learn … to learn about life … and how to overcome problems faced in our daily lives. Education is the most powerful weapon anyone can give us and we must use it to overcome the world.

The one place where all of us go to learn is school. But what exactly is being done to improve our schools? What can we do to help us learn more? … Firstly, our government can give schools more money. This would help them create new buildings and facilities that can enhance our learning. For instance, we can install laboratories in those schools that have none. This makes lessons more lively and exciting. Furthermore, we could also use the money to train good teachers and staff. Better teachers means better learning, and better learning means a better chance in life. Moreover, certain programs, like dropout prevention programs, will make sure that students will learn all that they can in order to succeed. These will ensure that students have the best chance possible in their future years.

All of us know how tasty the school lunches are. Though the food may appeal to our tastebuds, they are in fact, not healthy for us. These foods don’t make us as strong and healthy as we are meant to be. Of course, we all may not like healthy food in school, but it is necessary for us as it gives us a balanced diet. We could, for example, serve more fruits and vegetables in schools to provide us with a healthy diet. These are some of the changes that we should commence in our schools.

The role of teachers in schools is vital to learning. Though there are some teachers who all of us may not like, they still are very important in our lives. They have a huge responsibility on their shoulders. They are responsible for teaching our country’s children. For if they fail to teach us properly, they fail to teach their country, as quoted by Nelson Mandela. In each lesson, the teacher has to teach the student something new. In the same way, they need to prepare interesting, lively and exciting lessons that engage the students in every class. In short, teachers must keep the highest standards in mind while preparing lessons.

Parents are the most important figures to all children’s ability to do well in school. Parents are the child’s first teachers, thus children look up to them in difficult times. Parents ensure that children do their homework, that is necessary. Furthermore, parents also need to make sure that children set high standards. This motivates students to work harder to achieve their goal. Just like me, who gets upset if I lose five marks in a test! Parents also need to get in touch with teachers for improvements in our studies, which is the cause of our tantrums when we find out that we need tuitions.

Teachers and parents should also train children to solve issues without using violence. This ensures that students study in a safe environment. Children should also be taught not to vandalize the school as well. Drugs should also not be allowed. These make sure that the students are safe in school and can focus on their studies.

In conclusion, education is very important to youths as it prepares us for future challenges. We must educate all our children as it gives them the opportunity to learn and grow in a safe environment.

Thank you all for your time.”

‘Peace’ by Roha Khan

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Peace, for me, is waking up to a bright morning because I had a good night’s sleep: not because I hear angry voices coming from my parents’ room. It takes away the feeling that you have, when you wake up to a new day− the feeling that today will be better than yesterday. It eventually gets extremely exhausting: hiding your head under the covers, closing your eyes tightly, with your hands clamped on your ears; you tell yourself that everything will be all right but something deep inside tells you that this is how life is.

Peace, for me, is making through one day, without actually quarrelling with my brothers. We are all hot tempered, and a witty remark, a hint of sarcasm in the voice will send us flying in an argument. We will all flush and my mother’s heart rate will accelerate drastically.

Peace means that I can actually walk into the school I have been going to for the last fourteen years without first having to go through metal detectors, or have my bag checked for explosives or drugs. I mean why I would want to destroy my own school− that has literally seen all phases of my life− why would I want to kill my own friends who have stood by me throw thick and thin. Nevertheless, these days, it seems that no one can be trusted, as conditions have not been that peaceful lately.

Peace, for me, is stopping at a traffic signal without having innocent, little, children knocking on the windows, begging for money. Peace is not when children have to sell pens and books: it is when they can pick up their pens and write with them. The children’s place is not on the streets in rags− it is dressed up in a proper uniform, with a bag on their shoulder and attending school.

Peace is parents educating their daughters just as they educate their sons. It is when girls get their basic rights like consent in marriage, right of inheriting property, and the right to get a pay equal to their male counter parts. Peace is women not only hoping for a better future but also, can actually go out and work to make all their dreams come true. Peace is seeing daughters as a blessing and not a burden.

Peace is actually, when I have a sense of security: when I do not fear or doubt a stranger. It is when I can trust another human being: that he will not attempt to end my life; that he will not steal what I hold dearest. It is looking at an abandoned bag, at an isolated corner, and not fear that it will blow me to pieces.

Peace is a day passing without disturbing images on the television, saying PG, and showing worrying terrorist attack sites, poor, weak and innocent people beaten into a pulp, and such distressing aspects of our society.

Peace means no news on the television that tells the story of a wife mercilessly assaulted by her pitiless husband; a ruthless wife maliciously murdering her husband; ungrateful children sending their elderly parents to old-age homes; penniless parents leaving their starving infants near dustbins. It leaves me with a lump in my throat and I soon become depressed.

Peace, for me, is when the politicians of my country will actually stop pointing fingers at each other but find the fault in themselves and then work on eradicating it. It is easy to see the error in other people’s ways, but it is extremely challenging to stand in front of the mirror after wronging an innocent and looking at your reflection−, I honestly do not understand how they manage it.

Peace, for me, is when someone will not judge me for anyone else’s wrong doing− just because a Pakistani robbed someone in the middle of the pacific does not mean that I am a burglar; a bearded man causing a bomb blast somewhere does not make me a terrorist. You can hold me responsible for my own wrongdoing, but blaming me for something that is far from my control is not what I call justice: and without justice, you can never hope for peace.

Peace means dropping your weapons, dropping your guard; it means standing in a ring holding hands, exchanging flowers and hugs and trusting everyone. This actually sounds like an ideal life. However, can we actually do it? Can we drop our weapons and hope no one will attack us? Can our country trust the neighboring country that if the forces patrolling the border are removed, they will not actually grab at the opportunity of expanding territory?

Peace, for me, will be as soon as everyone will accept, respect and value another person’s believes and not actually enforce the teachings of their own religion on them; there has to be a worldwide liberty of religion or we will not even enjoy inner peace. Religious discrimination is a thorn in the heart and how can we celebrate our own festivals and practice our own religion while we know that some people out there are deprived of their religious requirements.

Starting from the most basic−, can you actually give up your side of the argument so that peace prevails? Can you accept someone else’s response even though you are completely aware that you are right? You have to start from the smallest thing in order to achieve higher goals. So the question is; can you?

Google says peace is “freedom from disturbance; tranquility,” or, “a state or period in which there is no war or a war has ended.”

What sort of disturbances do we experience? Do is it refer to me disturbing my older brothers or is it applicable on my younger cousins annoying me? Our lives can never be free from worries or problems. How often do we experience the “calm” or “tranquility”? Do we not have memories of the past bugging us? Many of us have some unfinished business, thoughts of which keep our eyes wide open at night.

As far as war is concerned, according to The National Interest, there are five places today where World War III could start. Now, to mention the areas divided into categories based on the number of death: four countries with 10,000+ deaths; ten with 1,000 to 9,999 deaths; twenty-nine conflicts have resulted in 100-999 deaths; while fourteen countries have suffered from 1to 99 violent deaths (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia).

We often find ourselves saying we just want a day of peace and quiet: what is in it that we only ask for one day and not a lifetime of peace? Just imagine a life of peace and quiet. We may think that everyone would want it but the truth is that not everything that we desire is good for us. For instance, imagine a day of silence, not a single word. We long for peace, right?

A day of utter calm. No one is around you. First, the silence seems alien, welcoming; you start getting used to it− resting in the garden, sipping coffee. Soon you desire to hear a familiar voice, you call out but there is no one there, so you sigh deeply and continue with this awkward day.

Then it starts. A ringing in your ear, not something that you notice at first but soon it starts to overwhelm you. You realize that this stillness has its own shrill sound: more piercing than any alarm, intense than any crying baby. Now you want to beg to hear someone else’s voice: even if it is a complete stranger’s − you yourself want to shatter the peace.

We call out for peace but the truth is that we cannot stand it. We want to argue, to debate, to make sure are we are heard and respected. We fight and say it is for peace. It is in the nature of humans to demand things we cannot have; for we are all spoiled children. It is just that we have a great deal of hope within us and we hope, desire and

crave for the impossible. I hope for peace, you hope for peace, and we hope that, one day, everyone finds peace.

“You do not always win your battles, but it is good to know you fought.”− Lauren Bacall

‘Lost’ By Roha Khan

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“Okay class! You only have thirty minutes to complete your essays.”

I looked up at the clock, exasperated. How could I possibly write a good essay in thirty minutes? Everyone groaned and mumbled; I felt under pressure.

I could not possibly think while everyone continued to complain. They kept on asking weird questions with obvious answers: it was so annoying. I was lost in the whirlpool of mumbles and complain. I could not force my mind to think− inspiration does not come even when you ask nicely.

The white board should tell us everything that we were supposed to make sure was present in the essay entitled “Lost”. It looked all confusing and jumbled up and the words wanted to swallow me whole.

How could I possibly be more lost that I already was? I started to think about writing a narration on getting lost in the desert; the sun burning my back. Everything was hazy in the heat of the sand and the air was stifling. I felt myself actually sparkle as the sun rays glistened off the beads of sweat covering me.

Now at this point I really lost myself. I was sitting near the window and at this precise moment, I looked out of the window and saw a man scaling the roof of the adjacent house. The roof, painted bright red, sloped steeply downwards.

Completely forgetting about my essay, I started to observe him. He was tall and muscular with strong hands to wield tools. But he shocked me with his uncleanliness; his hair was oily and needed cutting. His clothes, covered in grease had patches all over them, and his shoes had holes.

He walked with a slight limp and suddenly I was afraid for him. He moved towards the water tank and started to check it for something. I looked on as he limped around it, bending down or testing with his hands. I could not possibly look away. Something caught his attention and he took out his phone and made a call. Then he started to move back towards the ladder. It gave me the shivers to watch him move down the steep slope with his limp….

I was jolted out of my reverie by someone saying, “Miss? Done!”

I looked up to see the time: twenty-nine minutes had passed. Someone even asked the teacher how much time was left.

“Five minutes,” then she glanced back at the clock. “Oh no, zero.”

I was shocked.

Luckily for me everyone started to complain and the teacher gave us time till 3o’clock. So I picked up my assignment sheet and went to the library to complete my work.

AO2: What’s money? By Maryam Baig

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How does the writer describe the thoughts and feelings of the characters? Support your answer with close reference to the passage including brief quotations.

The following extract “what’s money” is taken from the novel “Dombey and son” by the famous author Charles Dickens. In this extract Mr. Dombey has a conversation with his son, Paul, about money. He is a very wealthy and proud man but his son is weak and sickly. Paul’s mother passed away shortly after giving birth to Paul and he is an anxious lonely child.

The intended audience of this passage would be special interest groups such as people who enjoy Charles Dickens most likely young adults. For instance: “He would like to give him some explanation involving the terms circulation, currency, depreciation.” Here Paul asks his father to explain to him what money actually is or what is the purpose of it? Mr. Dombey was tempted to answer him with technical terms such as depreciation, circulation and so forth but instead replies with: “gold and silver and copper.” To dodge the question. This gains the readers’ attention and evokes strong emotional responses.

The tone of this extract semi-formal and conversational as it was written and published in the eighteen hundreds. For example: “presumptuous atom that propounded such an inquiry.” Here Mr. Dombey describes his son as tiny and stubborn. Another example could be “why didn’t money save me my momma?” Here Paul is asking his father if money can do anything why didn’t it help his mother escape death. The use of formal language gives the impression of authority and research which impresses the reader with information on the other hand the second example is not as formal as the first and does not include heavy words which is why it is accessible and familiar to the reader.

The author of this passage is “Charles Dickens” he is well known all around the world which is one of the reasons why the reader enjoys and is intrigued by his work.

The vocabulary used in this extract is heavy and unique. For instance: “the abrupt question had such immediate reference to the subject of Mr. Dombey’s thoughts, that Mr. Dombey was quite disconcerted.” Mr. Dombey was a rich man and the question ‘what is money?’ made him feel slightly uncomfortable. As a result the reader feels intrigued to read further and can be highly persuasive.

The style of this passage is narrative followed by vague description and dialogues. For example: “you know what they are?” Here Mr. Dombey asks his son whether he

knows what the physical form of money is while his son was actually asking what the purpose of money is. “Folding his arms and looking at the fire” this describes the manner in which Paul was sitting. It creates a smooth flow of words for the reader to read as well as induces emotion and produces an image in the readers mind.

In conclusion it is believed that the author has portrayed the characters thoughts and emotions evidently and brilliantly. Lessons like money cannot buy happiness can be taught and learned from this passage as well as the novel which invariably appeals to relate to our values and attitudes’ reminding us that money is merely a medium of exchange and cannot buy everything.

Q. Write a story, true or imaginary, entitled ‘The Lost Key’ By Raphael Khalid

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Imagine a young thirty-something man, with dirt brown curly hair that falls to his eyes, and a nose, too small for his oval face, standing under the sultry and unrelenting heat of the sun in the middle of a deserted parking lot in the unforgiving Australian outback.

Done?

Great. Now imagine this young man, let’s call him Matthew, in the most awfully convenient position ever. He’s in the middle of nowhere, and in a parking lot, so he must obviously have lost his car key, right?

More or less…. The problem with old cars like his was that the ignition and trunk were independent of each other, and required different keys, as such. So the car was working fine, if you could call the guttural noise of decades of oil build up and the roar of rusty rotary (ideally) parts to be fine, that is.

No, the real issues at hand for Matthew were the wailing sirens, maybe a mile away, and his utter inability to get his trunk open. And so the search began.

Matthew started from the front driving seat; he popped his head under the worn-out leather seat, and realized how much (more) of a fool he was. He needed a flash light.

He reached for the glove box to grab a small flashlight, having to fish through several bills that said ‘LATE’ among other things, even harbouring a tiny speck of hope for finding the key. His bloodshot, brown eye fell on the now cool muzzle of a gun, hidden beneath the documents of disappointments and failures. His eye twitched.

“Back to it,” Matthew said, comforting and reassuring himself, as the once distant sirens grew nearer. Nearer. Nearer….

With the flashlight propped between Matthew’s yellow teeth, he explored the seedy undersides of his seats, one by one. Alas, he found nothing but stale Cheetos™, bleached cigarette butts, around a pound of dirt and an overwhelming feeling of panic and anxiety. He knew his time was inching closer and closer.

“No, no, no, no, no…,” he whispered to himself, telling himself that it was not over yet. He’d find the key, later, he’d get a copy from his home. He had wasted enough time. It was time to go before the sirens enveloped him in their calm blue and angry red auras of justice.

Why hadn’t he fled earlier?

Rather than wasting on calling himself an idiot, he hurried around the car one last time and quickly slumped his sweaty self back into the driver’s seat, and placed car key into the ignition, twisted, and slowly edged towards the direction against the hostile sirens. He had barely moved a foot when the outback broke into silence. The sirens had stopped.

He had spent too much time looking for the trunk’s key.

“Curse it. That blasted key.”

Matthew’s hand was forced to shut the engine off. You could hear the sound of his beat engine from a mile away. A mile away….

He opened his glove box, knowing full well that his every move made sound, and that they were listening. His hand moved towards the dark grey gun.

He shifted his body downwards, head on the passenger’s seat, in an attempt to shield himself from what could come. Through the corner of Matthew’s eye, he spotted a golden glint. It wasn’t what he thought, what he hoped it would be, it was instead a singular shell, a nine-millimeter casing, former bullet, call it what you will.

No sooner had he thought that, that a rapidly approaching whizz, whizzed through the windows. Soon the entire driver’s side was being barraged and riddled by bullets.

Matthew crawled out the passenger’s side. It was good cover, for now. He peeked from underneath the car, the firing had stopped, but he saw a multitude of feet making their way for him. He crawled towards the trunk’s side, and saw a ruby red sheen on the side of the trunk.

If only Matthew had found the key, he wouldn’t have been in this pickle.

A pickle is an understatement.

His head moved out from the cover in an attempt to see his assailants. Assailants that were dressed in beige shirts, black ties and belted brown pants. One of them spotted Matthew’s brown hair and took a shot.

It hit.

It hit the trunk’s lock. And the trunk popped open.

“You idiot,” said Matthew the idiot.

The stench of death filled the hot, dry Australian desert air. The jig was up. Go out in a blaze of glory, or surrender? Any other day, Matthew would stand up for himself. But over a key? Over the lives of innocent men doing their job?

But for a man like Matthew, this was any other day.

My escape from Syria By: Khadija Kayani

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The unimaginable cruelty that the women and children of Syria had faced cannot be put settled into the finest words. From physical and psychological trauma to getting pleasure from inflicting pain on others. From radicalizing the minds of civil mortals with their twisted perception of the religion and extremist ideologies to merely using women as sexual commodities.

I was only seventeen years old when I had escaped from Syria. It was either have enough courage and capacity to strive for a better life or willingly submit yourself to the so called Mujahedeen who claimed themselves as veracious Islamists. As a young girl of only twelve, my fundamental right to education and political freedom of speech were taken away from me and a niqab was put on against my will. Dare I step outside without a man; I was brutally beaten till I could no longer move my fingers let alone my legs. Although I was only required to do a set number of domestic chores but I knew in my bones I sustained skills and aptitude that I assumed was yet to be explored and recognized.

On the early morning of April, 2012; barrel bombs and air strikes led by US-Led coalition trickled in the city of Aleppo like rain drops. The Syrian government under the leadership of Bashar Al Assad backed by Russia was rather much ruthless as it killed its own hundred thousand civilians. I lost two of my uncles and five cousins that day, and oh! I remember crying into my wretched pillow every night. Where was the International community? The Syrians were being internally displaced, tortured, and held hostages whilst the other countries were too preoccupied with their economic advancements. For years there had been a constant tug of war between the two dominions not being the least bothered about the collateral damage that claimed the lives of the innocent Syrians.

Later in the year, my family and I decided to visit our maternal grandparents in Northern Iraq. Little did I know about the events that proceeded. The extremist fighters had targeted the community and I was kidnapped along with thousands of other yazidi women and children when ISIS swept across Iraq in a brutal campaign. Many people imagine dungeons to be dank, dark and deep vaults below a castle, where prisoners were held- and where the unluckiest among them were tortured; however, this image doesn’t really hold true.

I was in a chronic state of physical and emotional depletion, manifested by both physical and psychological trauma. In other words, emotionally drained. I along with three other women were held in a cellar on the left to the dungeon hallway. Little or no food was given because of their belief we’d have better nutrition in paradise. I missed my Papa and Mamma.

Umme Aiemen, a twenty years old mother of three cried in desperation and the thought she may not be able to see her infant children consumed her. The dungeon smelled like sweat, sour, and urine that I could no longer withstand. Every passing second accentuated to the duration of a lifetime I had never lived nor had any desire to.

Nevertheless, I was not to surrender anytime soon. The rebellions had launched an attack on the mujahedeen safe haven and laid siege on the fort. While the guards were off duty, I managed to unlock the cellar bar using the only bobby pin strangled in my hair and tried to do the same with cellars nearby. My heartbeat increased with every passing second and I could practically feel my intestines right up my throat fearing the catastrophe that may lay in my path in case I got caught. With only one strapped shoe, I sprinted up the back exit staircase leading to a complete detached barren land. I could hear the Adhan from miles away. But I ran, even weary and exhausted, I couldn’t help myself and my entire life flashed before my eyes. The potential risk of the mujahedeen gaining supremacy over my emotions was narrow but the willpower my parents had raised me to turn to dieri situations as such, motivated me to reach for my freedom.