Victims of war and the atrocities of war take many forms in the Middle East. We see news footage of bombed-out buildings and lines of refugees fleeing across the countryside but these images don’t begin to describe the horror. The human toll, particularly on women and children, is catastrophic. And, as the war spreads, so do the crimes of kidnapping, rape, slavery, torture, and killing. Those who are fortunate enough not to witness the violence often have to deal with the agony of not knowing where family members are, whether they are alive or dead, or if they will ever see them again.
Women and Wars, a discussion program on SAT-7 ARABIC, addresses the stark truths of war—yet, at the same time, brings back hope not just for women survivors of war but for all SAT-7 viewers who have been affected by it, even indirectly. The program highlights the weapons of faith and resilience that women survivors of wars continue to use in waging their battles.
Program presenter Karen Elia says, “We made this program not only to tell the suffering of the women we interviewed but also to encourage other women who experience tribulations—to tell them that they aren’t alone and that there are other women who have seen [what they have seen and even worse] and survived. I hope this can help them tolerate their tribulations.”
Karen believes the women interviewees confided in her because she showed them compassion and empathy. This encouraged them to open up and share their stories. Many of them said that sharing their experiences helped them get closer to God and made them want to pray even more.
Testimonies of women survivors of war include Hoda Bitar and her family who fled Harasta, Syria, from terrorists. When she returned after ten days, the house was knocked down. Despite their current dire living circumstances, she has faith in God and attends church regularly. “I forgive because Jesus taught us to forgive others. We don’t have hatred. May God forgive those who knocked down our house.”
Another woman named Banja, who survived the Iraq war, declares her forgiveness of terrorists. “I forgive because I am a Christian and Christ forgave. Terrorists don’t know Jesus but one day they’ll know Him.”
Some women find it more difficult to forgive. Dalal Hannah from Syria was held at gunpoint while returning to her home with her family. Militias wanted to kidnap them and steal their car but they were saved when friends came along and convinced the terrorists to let them go and take the car instead. “Some things we can forgive like daily trespasses but those intent on destroying our lives are hard to forgive. They intentionally destroyed a life we have been building for years,” Hannah says.
While losing a house or a car is a terrible experience, Karen Elia points out that material things can be replaced or compensated for. She is most concerned about survivors’ physical and psychological health and the reuniting of families. She says, “I pray that the women reunite with their children and come out of these ordeals with minimal loses.”
As Women for Middle East HOPE, we pray along with Karen for healing, resiliency, and HOPE for the women survivors of war. And we contribute to their health and well being by supporting programs like Women and Wars on SAT-7! Send your gift TODAY!