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Jun 24, 2021

"Can anyone teach me

how to make a homeland?" -- Amineh Abou Kerech

Lament for Syria: A Young Poet Looks Back

"I wrote about all my memories: how I woke up in the morning to my grandmother drinking coffee next to the jasmine tree listening to the music of the Lebanese singer Fairuz. I wrote about how my siblings and I walked to school with our neighbors and how we saw a boy smoking and then hiding the cigarette from his older brother.

I didn't want Syria to be known just for its war. I wanted to communicate the colors, smells and complexion of my country and our customs. All of this stuck in my memory, and I realized how suddenly my life had been turned upside down and inside out since I left Syria. My message is simple; I want love and peace to prevail in my country and it to be free of war." Amineh Abou Kerech's poem 'Lament for Syria' was awarded United Kingdoms Betjeman Poetry Prize in 2017 when she was just thirteen. In February this year she shared the poem at a United Nations event focused on the trauma inflicted on children in times of conflict. Read her poignant poem, and learn more about her journey here.


What childhood memories do you carry of your own homeland? Take a moment to capture them on paper in stream of consciousness mode. Try not to overthink it and see what emerges.