By Malak AT, Libya
When we think of the term war, we immediately connect it to loss, grief, and sadness. It is part of the world’s history; it is both gain and loss. One party will win while another will lose and the loss in itself can be in many different forms: emotional, physical, as well as social damage/loss. There isn’t a war out there that was forgotten. What we learn from them is plenty and shall always be remembered.
The idea of war to me was too vague and it was always connected with the past. It was what I read in history books or what I heard from my father and grandfather. I always considered it as a faraway idea. Even when it sounded real I couldn’t comprehend it as it felt surreal. The idea of death and combat to prove a point was ridiculous. I never in a million years thought that I would witness it myself and hear the sound of missiles and bombing over my head. That death was around the corner and I didn’t know if I was able to dodge bullets; however, every single time, I managed to dodge them and I got another chance to live the life I always wanted. The peaceful part of it at least.
We all lose in war whether we were involved in it or not. We lose the chance to live life and enjoy it. We lose loved ones and we lose those whom we always wished we would meet one day. We find ourselves looking for a way out. I have always wondered how we can consider those involved in losing war heroes or martyrs. The shadow of war never left Libya since 2011 and maybe it was the end of the beginning. With every war that passed, I gained fear and uncertainty of the future. I grew more worried and my fear of loss was amplified. I was 18 when it first happened and I am currently 25 and even more concerned. War changed me and made me see life from a different lens. Nothing is taken for granted anymore and everything counts. I believe war happens so we can learn the meaning of loss and learn to appreciate the life we have no matter how hard or how easy our situation is.
Even though I left Libya a year ago, I left behind an ongoing war for power and although this one is uncertain. I am more afraid of the unknown. No matter what happens, there will be loss. None of the involved parties are doing it for Libya or the protection of citizens but it is more about sustaining power and expanding the vicious circle of greed which makes me sick to my stomach as it cannot be justified. The sound of airplanes has always reminded me of the sound of military aircraft and sometimes it takes me a few seconds to realize that I am safe now. On multiple occasions, I found myself walking quickly whenever I hear an airplane thinking it is going to fire at something. No matter how protected you think you were during the war, the side effects will come to the surface later on in life. War is traumatizing in ways we cannot imagine or describe.
The question is: Will we ever find peace?