The Key

‘The temperature in the tents in Zaatari refugeecamp is rising above 45 °C in summertime. Umm Fawziah asks her children to completely open the windows from in and outside, to allow more air in. The little girl is helping her brother to open the inside windows. A package of cigarettes and a key fall out and she picks it up. Surprised I ask, ‘A key?’ Why do you need a key in a tent? Everyone is laughing. Until it turns out it is the only thing that is left of their house in Palmyra. Their home was lying in the middle of battle zone between the army of the Syrian government on one side and the Free Syrian Army on the other. Their home, their life is completely destroyed. A story that miljons of Syrians share. Our tears are falling freely. Water in the desert. We share our sorrow, embrace each other, hold hands. It is the key…’

Esseline van de Sande