Ezabil Arabian: Straight Out Of Syria


Ezabil Arabian

Lara Bookholt, Staff Writer

Knowing the mayhem that has been occurring in Syria for the past few years, one can only imagine that growing up there must be rather difficult. Hawthorne’s own, Ezabil Arabian is a girl who grew up in Syria. Some may know her, some may not, however, her struggles are rather notable. Her further understanding of the world is quite impressive.

Clarion Reporter: What is your background?

Ezabil Arabian: I’m Armenian, born and raised in Syria.

Clarion Reporter: How many years did you spend in Syria?

Arabian:  I spent 12 years in Aleppo.

Clarion Reporter: How did the riots affect you and your new life?

Arabian: Moving out of Syria was a challenge by itself. I still remember the day I landed in JFK airport,  thinking, ‘I’m definitely going back to Syria’. Little did I know, my whole life would change quite rapidly. The war was not on an official level yet, so my parents had high hopes of returning, since the money was running out and no one wants to hire non-English speakers for any job. It was hard adapting to a new country; I had no friends, I was unable to focus in school and I was severely bullied for being a ‘terrorist’. One of the hardest parts was that I couldn’t talk to anyone about what I was going through.

Clarion Reporter: Did you have family still in Syria? If so, how were they affected?

Arabian: Not only was I suffering, but my parents were suffering as well. So I swallowed the pain. Things were not going well for my family and I at all, we had heard about the American Dream, but quite quickly the American Dream was turning into the American Nightmare. Suddenly we got a phone call from my aunt, and she announced that our home in Syria had been bombed and my cousin who was taking care of the house had been killed. It felt like a dream and I told myself that this could not be happening. I was in shock for the longest time. I felt disgusted, telling myself,  ‘That could have been me, it’s not fair that I’m here…why is everyone else stuck there?’ But at the same time, I didn’t want to be here, I was being treated horribly. ,”Would you rather be dead in Syria? Stop complaining ” my brother would tell me, but I couldn’t help it, I was a mere thirteen years old. Everyday we would receive a phone call that made us sick to our stomachs ,” Your cousin has been captured by ISIS “,”Your aunt has been killed” , “Your friend has been kidnaped ” “Your church has been bombed.” I began to avoid the phone.

Clarion Reporter: Would you say growing up as a Syrian immigrant in the U.S. gave you a certain drive?

Arabian:  Upon moving to America, my whole family fell into a depression, money ran out, and my mother cried everyday. I could not bare it, every single day I found out someone had died or had been kidnapped. Then I had to go to school and pretend everything is perfectly fine, and try and do my work and focus and actually participate. In order to alleviate the pain, I started going home less, avoiding the news, avoiding my family, avoiding everything that has to do with the Syrian Civil War, but that only made my mind wander off more. I had so much guilt and hatred I built up towards myself, I felt privileged, why did I make it and everyone else is dying? I couldn’t bare that idea. A year later, it has not stopped, the war is still going on. I’ve never seen my parents so thin and sleep deprived, it broke my heart to pieces.

This was supposed to be a better life, a new beginning, but it was more like a never-ending cycle of pain. I still remember the day I realized that this pain was not going to be over anytime soon. I slowly began to piece myself together, I got closer to my family because I knew they needed me. I started planning my future and what was my part in everything, I asked myself ‘what am I destined to do?’ It took me a while to figure out, but when I did, I felt accomplished. If you know me as a student you would never have guessed I was in so much pain; I’m the loudest one in class, cracking jokes laughing always smiling, it’s almost a survival mechanism, so I don’t have to explain what’s wrong. But if you know me as a person, you would know how much pain, regret, and guilt I have built up inside. I may have experienced rough times, but I can assure you, that I am going to make something out of myself. With a world full of hate and disrespect against my people, I have a lot to prove.

Clarion Reporter: Would you change where you grew up?

Arabian:  Absolutely not! Syria is what made me a stronger person, not just mentally, but physically as well. My childhood in Syria may have been abnormal according to anyone I know, but every second of it only benefited me in the long run. The pain was worth my while.


After getting to further know Ezabil Arabian, we have a far better understanding of the pain and difficulties she has faced in her life.