The family stays at Idlib province, Syria, where bombs explode on a daily basis. Al-Mohammed devised this game for his daughter to "psychologically survive" the ongoing horror.
Somewhere in war-torn Syria, a beautiful father-daughter duo is breaking the hearts of people online with a new game. While kids usually cry when they are scared or startled by a loud noise, it's a cue for little Salwa to laugh as hard as she can at the top of her voice. But don't be fooled by the way she enjoys herself doing so, as the conditions under which she's living are unbelievably tragic. Hoping to take her mind off the ongoing tragedy, Al-Mohammed has taught her daughter to play a game where she breaks into laughter whenever the sound of bombs echoes in the background.
The helpless father filmed this heartbreaking video in their Idlib home before uploading it on social media. Their temporary home is located in the northwestern part of Syria, which has been devasted due to some of the worst bombing in recent days due to the ongoing power struggle between the government and opposition forces. For Salwa's father, it is a coping mechanism to keep her beloved daughter from being scared and to keep their high spirits during the crisis. In the 20-second clip, the father is seen seated with a camera pointed at his daughter and himself.
A Syrian refugee in the midst of warfare has turned his horrific circumstances into a game to protect his young child from trauma. https://t.co/qb3A6cxbyP— Sky News (@SkyNews) February 17, 2020
Completely ignorant of her surroundings, an innocent Salwa can be seen wearing a broad and endearing smile on her face as she stands beside her father. Following the faint sound of an explosion in the background, the girl immediately lets out a loud laugh and is joined by her father. Since emerging, the video of this game played by the father-daughter duo has been shared widely on the internet by several people, including Ali Mustafa, reports News18. Mustafa, a local journalist, shared the travesty of the family on Monday and it has since been viewed over a million times.
Oh god... this is so sad and heartbreaking 😢 God, please help this cute little baby, her family and all the other oppressed people in the world.— Adil Aman (@Adilaman2007) February 17, 2020
Posting the video on Twitter, Mustafa wrote: what a sad world, To distract 4-year old Salva, her father Abdullah has made up a game. Each time a bomb drops in Idlib #Syria, they laugh, so she doesn’t get scared. Twitter user @rubiaabar expressed: Oh my God !!! How terrible is it that children have to play such games to manage genuine appropriate emotion. What kind of a world are we giving them !? Another, Johanne DeMartin chimed in: We all try to make the best of the situations we find ourselves in, but this is knocking it out of the park.
So heartbreaking and so beautiful! Truly it takes courage to create laughter out of pain. God bless you!— Calmpanthi (@jomama_india) February 17, 2020
While user Tiwari commented: God this is so sadly beautiful. It literally makes my chest feel heavy. There were many reactions that drew similarities between the video and the Oscar-winning movie Life Is Beautiful where a father is seen playing a similar game with his son in Nazi Germany. According to Sky News, the family is originally from Saraqib near the east of Idlib. Due to the intensive fighting occurring there, they had to flee their home. Currently, Al-Mohammed, his wife and daughter are staying at a friend's place located in a town called Sarmada.
This brought tears to my eyes. A shitty world full of beautiful people.— Ilyas Khan (@ilyaskhan99) February 17, 2020
Speaking to the outlet, Salwa's father said, "She is a child who does not understand war. I decided to teach Salwa this game to prevent her psychological state from collapsing. So as to not be affected by diseases relating to fear." Furthermore, he credited his wife and revealed that the game wasn't just his idea but was also his wife's who wanted to make their daughter's life a bit better. By turning the devastating sounds into "a source of happiness" Salwa's parents hope that their daughter would be able to "psychologically survive" the ongoing attacks.
For the past seven years, Syria has been engaged in a civil war between Russian backed forces of Al-Asad and opposition fighters. It has displaced millions of residents and claimed the lives of thousands. About 465,000 Syrians have been murdered as of April 2018, reports Al-Jazeera. Almost a million residents were injured and more than 12 million, nearly half of the country's population, were left homeless. The viral video merely highlighted the bombing in Idlib, which is one of the strongholds of the rebels in Syria. The government has spared nothing to uproot them and snatch the power.