“Promise me that you are going to bring me back home so I can rebuild my country”

I invite you, the President of the White House, to attend my birthday in my white tent.

Maybe you are confused to receive an invitation from me, but please do not forget that we both are human in this life.

You can bring with you all the leaders of the world.

Excuse me if you must watch out when you enter my camp, the ground is full of dust and stones and mud. My entrance doesn’t look beautiful like your big garden.

Excuse me if you go back home without your shoes, if someone takes them from outside the tent because they seem expensive and fancy for our camp.

Excuse me if I can’t give you sweets or a barbecue.

Excuse me if I can’t light candles, or even sing at my party.

Because I am the fruit of the war. Your silence made it bigger and broke me. One word from you could bring peace and life to us and we could be like the stars in the sky.

Promise me that you are going to bring me back home so I can rebuild my country.

You and I are both human and we live equally.

Ali Harba has spent four of his nine years living as a refugee in a tent in Lebanon. His mother fled Syria with Ali and his younger brother after his father was killed by a bomb falling on their house, and they now live with Ali’s grandmother, disabled aunt and her children. Ali’s mum is the only bread-winner in the family. To start with, everything Ali wrote at the Young Journalists’ Club was dedicated to and about his mother. Only now is he beginning to talk about his father.