'They Told Me They Were Going to Melt Me in Acid If I Continue the Work I Was Doing'

01/16/2015
Map of Syria

When the Syrian Revolution began back in 2011, Lubna Shaheen became an activist working with the opposition.

As the war wore on, and as more and more Syrians became displaced, Shaheen, who didn’t want to be identified by her real name, felt there was a more urgent need. She began delivering humanitarian aid.

“I had to stop what I was doing as an activist,” she says, “and help the internal displaced people. They needed help.”

Shaheen delivered food and medications to the displaced. She also began working with children in refugee camps—including a little girl who had lost both her parents and the sight in one of her eyes.

“She called me mother out of nowhere,” Shaheen recalls. To calm her down, she asked her to make something from the Play-Doh.

The girl came back with a Syrian flag that had five stars on it. The official Syrian flag has two stars on it and the opposition uses a flag that has three stars.

“She told me ‘If they are fighting so much about this flag, then here’s a new one,’” Shaheen says. It was these kinds of encounters that motivated Shaheen to continue what she was doing.

But Syria became more dangerous by the day. Some of Shaheen’s friends were arrested, tortured and even killed. Shaheen had her own encounter with authority.

She was stopped as she was delivering medical supplies from Damascus to Homs. The men looked into her suitcase and found the medications. They immediately arrested her and took her to a detention center.

The full article continues at http://www.pri.org/stories/2015-01-16/they-told-me-they-were-going-melt-me-acid-if-i-continue-work-i-was-doing on PRI’s The World.