Fatima al-Ali: When a mother and her four children vanished

The Daily Star

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Enforced Disappearance

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This is the 10th of a series of articles that are published by The Daily Star every Wednesday as part of a campaign launched by the Act for the Disappeared NGO and other civil society organizations. The initiative aims to shed light on the individual stories of a few of the thousands of Lebanese who went missing during the Civil War and to keep their cause alive in the collective memory of the Lebanese. The Act for the Disappeared encourages other families of the missing to share the story of their loved ones on Fushat ‘Amal Source Link or call the organization at 01-443-104.

My name is Fatima, and I am the proud mother of four children. Even though the conditions of the war impacted our lives, I worked hard to shoulder the responsibility and burden to give my children happy childhoods and good education.

Adnan, my 8-year-old son, was the oldest of my children. He did very well in school and loved when people came over to visit; he’d always greet them with excitement. My son Ismat was only 6 years old, but he seemed so wise for his age. Fadia was my only daughter, she was 4. Fadia was sweet and loved to play with her toys. My youngest boy, Fadi, was only 2. He was a calm boy and was never difficult.

Even though I tried my best, my children were robbed of their childhood, of their futures. We lived in the Tal al-Zaatar camp, and in 1976, after days of being under siege, we thought we could escape safely. But we did not. We were never seen again.

My children were so young, and should have had more time.

My husband was in Germany at the time, and lost us all at once. My mother refused to live her life comfortably afterward; she slept on the floor as she felt too much sorrow and guilt. My sister continued to look for me tirelessly. She often came close to losing hope, but never has and continues to fight for answers about what happened to my children and I.

My name is Fatima al-Ali. My children are Adnan, Ismat, Fadia and Fadi. Do not let our story end here.

To know more about the story of Fatima and her children and the other persons who disappeared during the war visit Fushat ‘Amal Source Link

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