The following letter is fictional — written by Elena from Greece to express her thoughts             surrounding the recent tragedies that have occurred around the world.

Date:  Saturday, November 21, 2015

Address: Unknown

Dear Naima,

Hi. I’m Elena. I was the one to find your letter. It just ended up in my hands somehow. Everything you described in it was so moving that it made me want to respond. I don’t know if I will have the courage to send this response or if you will ever get it in case I really decide to do so. But even if my letter remains locked in a cupboard of mine or not, I’ll write it, as I need that sort of imaginary communication between the two of us, I really do. Desperately. Your letter was an experience we never get the chance to have, one of the stories we never have the chance to learn. Reading about your life and all the ordeals you have been through in Syria was just…I don’t know how to describe it without sounding insensible and crass, shocking and heartbreaking maybe. I know quite well that my compassion is the last thing you need and you will ever need. But, well, I feel we have an abundance of things in common, and I want to talk with you about them all. And the thing is, I’ll never have the chance to.

I am from Greece by the way. I don’t want to start with the cliché question “Are you well?” cause I bet you are not. This much I understood from the letter. I have been thinking of you so much during these past  seven days since the day I found the letter. I received your story on the 13th of November, the day when almost two hundred people were killed in Paris from the jihadists. What a coincidence, huh? The hatred towards them grew even bigger ever since that day, and when a part of the western world could really see the truth behind the incident and the situation in your homeland, Syria, the greatest part of it just wished for more bombs to fall and for the fanatics to be killed. Not unreasonably, of course. The people who torture you, too. Unfortunately, what they didn’t get is that innocent citizens of the country, tortured, painful souls will be the ones to really pay for it. Inculpable people like us will be the ones to die and be administered  justice. To people who have done no wrong. Please do not accuse them. This is what they are made to believe. They misinform and control us. Cause we are all victims. Not of the jihadists but of the ones who give them the guns — of the ones on high positions who bombard you — victims of the people who manipulate us all.

I could feel your pain hanging in the air while I was reading your story. It was hovering over me, making the air suffocating. How can you handle all of that sadness? Three of your brothers were taken in the army to fight at the civil war, and one of them was killed. The fourth one, the apple of your eye, who fortunately — at first — was not recruited  in the army, became a jihadist and, always being a fanatic Muslim, started killing for what he thought was a higher purpose, for Allah, for heaven. You told  me that you know him, that he can’t be like the others, that he became part of all this insanity as a reaction to the situation, the deaths, the bombs, the western leaders and states with our fake civilization and culture, which, when supposed to create art and work for peace, it creates guns and works for war. I believe you. I really do. I am sure he is not the same as the others. I know that the attack in Paris, though totally unfair and cruel and painful, is a reaction of the kind “if you kill us with your bombs then we will kill you with ours too.” Maybe all this would come to an end if the European and American leaders stopped bombing Syria. But that’s the worst part of it. We do not have the right to choose if we want to live or die. If we want to be killed or live in peace. If we want our country to participate in a war and get bombed or not. If we wish to stay in our country or run away,  dreadful for the future. We have no voice on such matters. Other people do.

The ministers of national security and the presidents and the ones who led my country in corruption value crisis and financial destruction. And the ones who kill you with their choices. But they are not the ones to get shot while being at the concert of their favorite band or eating at their favorite restaurant. They are not the ones to see their homes being destroyed by bombs. They are not the ones to learn that their brother is dead or that he turned into a jihadist and is going to become a suicidal bomber. They are not the ones to stay uneducated, run away, be chased, or lose every hope. I have seen not one of them getting on a boat to save themselves and “unluckily” get drowned or become a victim of racism and discrimination. They haven’t forgotten how it feels to be alive, as you told me you have.

You said that it is thanks to your brother that you are still alive. Even though he became a fanatic, ready to kill and be killed for his faith, he came home crying and warned you. He told you to leave — that there is no way you could survive what would come next. That there are no targets. That you are the unfortunate collateral loss in the name of justice for what the terrorists — a part of whom he is now — did to Europe.

I feel as if we are one, Naima. I feel as if we are together in this, and I am afraid and outraged too. We are all victims, all in some sort of pain, toys used and then thrown away like garbage. I truly feel that all of the world, Syrians and Europeans and Americans and Asians and Africans are one, but they are trying to divide  us and make us hate each other, as if there was not enough hatred in the world already. I know you would hate me for saying these things if you could see me writing right now. I know it’s offensive and crass and outrageous, and you would probably chuckle and then cry while telling me that I’m blessed and cherished, fortunate. Because it is true. I am not torn apart. How do I even dare to compare? How do I dare to create that unity in my mind when no one really cares about anyone and what really happens? When the only thing we do is watch it through our TVs and read it in our social media and then act as if it is too far for us to care, a different constellation, another galaxy. The tragedy only mattered when  it came close, when it was in France. Not when it happened in Ankara, Turkey, about a month ago. Not when it happens to those we consider foreigners. Not then. How can I say that the situation makes me feel outraged when I can choose if I want to study in a university or not and live in a different country and express my opinion freely? How can I say something like that when no member of my family is tortured or killed in a war?  I know it is irritating and that it might upset you, and you have every right to feel that way. And I really mean it when I tell you that it makes me sad and I lose every hope for humanity.

Did you leave your home as you said that you would soon do? Did you run away with your parents? I wonder if the address I want to write on the file still exists. I really want you to read my letter. I want to know more. I can’t do it though, not even that. Why don’t they stop? Why do they need power so much? Is it so important for them to control us? Cause this is what they want: petroleum and our conscience, our ability to judge them,  and fight for our rights and freedom and equality and our ability to think and rebel and cause changes. They want to transform us into fearful little existences with no will, focused on the enemies we think we have. And so they make guns. They bomb and bomb and bomb, and they won’t stop before the petroleum runs out or before we are transformed into muppets.

I am scared, Naima. I am petrified with the idea of losing the people I love, worried about what the future might bring me, what it will bring to us all. I am afraid of everything that could possibly happen. And I know we don’t know each other, but I think about you, and I hope you are still alive and well.

I don’t know if I should send the letter. Will you read it? Has your home been destroyed while I am writing?  Are you still in Syria or somewhere in between Europe and Asia? Are you still on Earth or somewhere in between life and death?

Maybe you are closer than I think. Maybe you are in Leros or Lesvos, or in any other Greek island and about to pass in Europe. Maybe you are in some boat in the Aegean trying not to get drowned. Or maybe you are in heaven. And if you are not in the living hell Earth is, I know that God has taken you close to him somewhere. And I know this place is peaceful .

Whether here or there, I pray for you. Not only for Paris as most people do. I also pray for the future. I pray for Syria, for peace, for happiness, for humanity, for wholeness. I pray for the world.

With compassion,

Elena, a great believer of the creation of wonders





_20151114_192829Elena Christidis is a 16-year-old high school student from Greece who loves reading, drawing, dancing, and, most of all, writing. Though English is not her mother tongue, writing in English comes naturally for her, something she attributes to her father who made her love English by firmly believing that she should be speaking English like a native speaker. Poetry is her favorite both in writing and reading. In the future she wants to study psychology in a Greek university and then go abroad to attend a creative writing course.

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