“Life is bound to go on”…this is what Alaa’, 17 years old, responded when the Voice team asked her and her groom, Ahmad, about the reason of their insistence on marriage despite the fact that they are still refugees living in Zaatari Camp. The new couple, whom are cousins, were engaged to one another ever since they were young children. However, they never imagined that they would end up getting married as refugees far from their homeland. Ahmad, 20 years old said, “We had to come to the camp prior to five months due to heavy shelling that was and still is deadly and near our village in Deraa. Our village is exposed to this on a daily basis, so no one can stay in the village now especially young men such as myself because we are being permanently targeted and either killed or tortured.
The marriage ceremony was held almost without any presence or indication of its occurrence. This is because the majority of the groom’s family is absent and the father of the groom is sick and receiving treatment in a hospital outside of the camp while the bride’s father remained in Syria. Ahmad said, “All the preparations for the wedding were smooth and we were eagerly awaiting it, everyone wants to be happy and distance themselves just a little from the memories of refuge and the pain of exile and displacement. However, we were not lucky, because the night before the wedding, we received news of the killing of seven members of our family in Syria…and despite this we were forced to go on with the wedding and move forward, we cannot let our lives stop now.” Ahmad and Alaa’ could not register their marriage, so they got married by custom and habit as do most Syrian refugees in a contract signed by the couple and the Sheikh (religious leader). However, they intend on registering the marriage officially in order to have children. They intend on having children even if they were to stay in the camp. They do not know if they will remain in the camp for a short period of time or a long period of time, or even if it extended to years.
The new couple does not have many demands; they understand that they are going through a crisis as are hundreds of thousands of people perhaps even millions of Syrians everywhere now. However, since they are starting their lives from scratch they will improve their lives even if it is extremely slow. They are living in their cousin’s caravan who gave it to them temporarily until they move to their own personal caravan. Ahmad says, “Marriage is neither forbidden nor wrong despite the circumstances, but on the contrary it is a feeling of stability especially for the young man. In my case, when I got married my interests changed, I now feel the responsibility in a much larger manner and I feel that I am no longer a young reckless man as I was before, rather I am a responsible man for my wife and I. Therefore all we are asking now is for a Caravan so my we can live in dignity until the end of the crisis and go back to our homeland…go back to Syria.”