“There’s no communication with his father. He never answers me. The Saudi embassy says that if he doesn’t want to show me the boy, then I have no rights to him. They took advantage of me being Syrian,” she says softly. “I don’t know how these issues will be resolved, if the blame is on my community or my family or anyone else. But when I think about my son, I feel that everyone was wrong. In the end, he was destroyed, too, not only me.”
As a refugee, fighting to get Hamza back has become another one of life’s daily battles. Battles, Mira says, she must fight alone.
“I have to work, to be independent, to show everyone so that they can no longer say that I’m just a weak girl,” Mira says. “I am not weak. I can work, I can build, and I’m capable of getting my son back.”
And while the war in Syria has disrupted many of the things that brought Mira joy, it has also disrupted many of the things that held her back. In Turkey, she says, she has found a new path for herself.
“My life was at the mercy of my father, and he didn’t uphold this trust. In the end, he married me off while I was very young. Even your family does not have a right to control your life,” Mira says. “As a woman, I can’t imagine anyone knowing what is best for you as much as you do. Even if you can’t do anything, you should at least live however you want.”
Filmmaker Tarek Turkey contributed reporting from Gazientep, Turkey. This story draws on interviews conducted in person in Turkey and on the phone from New York.