Playing Hide-and-Seek in a War Zone

Don’t look! She starts counting, the children all scatter, looking for a place to hide.

Look down. The mud cakes and climbs up around the soles of my shoes.

Look up. Something screams across the sky. Someone points to plumes of smoke from the rocketfire. A friend asks, “Are those fireworks?” No. At least, not the kind to celebrate.

“Look out,” a man says. “Can you see the big house, the green one? That’s our house.” He can see the home he had to leave behind, but it may as well be a thousand miles away with a war going on nearby.


Look closely. She finishes counting and starts her search: “Where aaaaare youuu?”

Look away. One of the mothers is crying softly behind a tent flap. It wasn’t supposed to be this way.

Look behind. Giggling children snatch the video camera from my bag and sprint behind the sheep pen. These beautiful, sweet descendants of shepherds. Of course they would use the camera stand to herd sheep!

Look around. This isn’t how things will always be. They live in tents in a muddy, trash-ridden field now, but someday the fighting will stop, ISIS will be gone, and children will go back home, start school, and begin life again, God-willing.

Look at them. You are with them while they wait, your ears are open and your hearts are full, you’re making sure they are loved and cared-for.

Thank you for standing with unseen, hard-to-reach refugees in conflict zones.

About Matthew Willingham

Matt Willingham is Preemptive Love's Senior Field Editor and writes primarily on politics, history, general updates and visual peacemaking through photography and film.

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Playing Hide-and-Seek in a War Zone
Playing Hide-and-Seek in a War Zone
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