Abdul Basit, BA International Relations and Economics
Ahmed Youssef, 40, is a Syrian national. He had a family of five, including three children. He had a life in Aleppo, Syria until the civil war began. Aleppo became one of the hotspots of violence and war. Shelling had destroyed his once-thriving city. He watched his city disintegrate in front of his own eyes. The beautiful mosques, the lavish gardens, all reduced to rubble. Food became scarce as the war stretched. His children stopped going to school, commerce had been asphyxiated. The city had become a war zone. His family was constantly under threat. He was no stranger to the fact that, more often than not, civilians had come in the line of fire. This is when he decided to take the risk. He arranged the voyage and his family started packing. They were going to cross the Mediterranean on an overcrowded ship. He knew that most of the boats didn’t make it. However, he decided that he had to do something. So, out of desperation, or maybe out of hope, he embarked on this perilous journey
He is one of the vast multitudes of refugees who cross the Mediterranean each year. Most of these boats are filled – to the brim – with men, women, and children. Many never make it. Ahmed Youssef was one of them. His boat sank about 45 nautical miles from the Italian coast. He and his family perished. Now, many would wonder why he took such a risk. An endeavour which frequently fails? The following is an attempt to discover Ahmed Youssef’s motives. If he had died in Aleppo he would have died as a misery-stricken man. However, he died on his way to safety, he died a hopeful person. He had hope, and dying a hopeful man is better than dying a defeated death.
These are the people who have been sitting in the darkness for way too long to give away any glimpse of hope they see. These people are flowers in the garden of hope. Hope is a most fundamental of emotions among human beings. It gives us the strength to drive out the predicaments of our lives. It is something that is never taught to us, yet we always bear an instinctive knowledge of it. It is truly the defining quality of humanity. We have countless examples of hope all around us, ranging from young soccer players to aspiring actors. However, we must never take its inevitable arrival for granted, for its existence is conditional upon continued and ecstatic belief. Even then it can only be conceived, never manufactured.
The hope that the dark clouds will disperse, and the heavenly light will shine upon us eventually, the hope that the darkness will eventually fade away is what drove Ahmed Youssef and many others. May this be an ode to all those who show hope every day and keep this emotion alive.
When the world says give up. Hope whispers; try one more time.