By Maya Hariz
The ongoing civil war in Syria has had many social and economic impacts. For the last six years, the civil war was estimated to have taken more than 400,000 lives, and over half of the initial population has left their homes. On average, 538,000 jobs were destroyed annually during the first four years of the conflict and as a result, young people are now facing an unemployment rate of 78% and have few options for survival.
From 2011 until the end of 2016, the cumulative losses in gross domestic product (GDP) have been estimated at $226 billion; about four times less than the Syrian GDP in 2010. Thousands of families have been torn apart and forced to seek refuge in Europe and other neighboring countries. Syria has found themselves twisted in a terrible civil war claiming victims on the daily, but for the more well-off people, it’s business as usual, apart from a few things.
I conducted an interview with a friend of mine living in Syria to find out how her family lives its life. For the safety of the individual, her identity and location will remain anonymous. This individual will be referred to by her gender. She tells me that her family is not significantly affected by the war. Fortunately, she resides far away from the war; however, she still hears the bombing every now and then.
Schooling is difficult to keep up with since there aren’t many teachers available. Social life is important too; she goes out regularly with her friends. Hanging out with friends and going to pool parties and the gym is on her regular day to day agenda. There isn’t much freedom to walk on the streets, but going to bars and clubs is a regular thing.
For transportation needs, they usually have personal drivers to get them where they need to go. Since they are in their teenage years, they love to go shopping and have the same interests and hobbies as girls in other countries. Because of the war, all of the malls have been destroyed and all of the stores are closed and abandoned.
To make up for what they don’t have access to in Syria, most of the wealthy teenagers, including herself, have more than one passport that they use to travel without any difficulties. She and her friends visit Europe quite frequently to shop for clothing, makeup, shoes etc. To conclude, despite the conditions, teenagers like herself make the best of their situation.