Abdullah Mohammed and his adorable three-year-old daughter Salwa can finally laugh at normal things.
A few weeks ago, this father-daughter duo went viral for the most heartbreaking reason ever. Abdullah Mohammed, the proud father of three-year-old Salwa, shared a video of his daughter laughing - to the sound of bombs exploding. He had taught her to laugh at the explosions as a coping mechanism to deal with the violence in Syria, a country embroiled in an ongoing civil war and humanitarian crisis, where they are both citizens. The video, luckily, has brought about some good. Thanks to the clip, both father and daughter have made it to safety in the neighboring country of Turkey, The Guardian reports.
Remember Salwa? The little Syrian girl taught by her dad to laugh during bombings has now found shelter in Turkey. pic.twitter.com/nnrGKa4mJn— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) March 1, 2020
The family reached safety last week. Now, for the first time in her life, little Salwa doesn't have to listen to the sound of bombing or violence. Mohammed, 32, is overjoyed with relief. "Now we don’t have to be afraid anymore," he affirmed. "Salwa has a completely different future." His family is one of the lucky few that Turkey has opened its borders to. The government invited the family as a kind gesture. Therefore, unlike many other families, they didn't have to pay smugglers thousands of dollars to reach Turkey, where they would have had to dodge border patrol guards. At present, there are three million people who continued to be entrapped by a three-month-old campaign by Syrian president Bashar al-Assad and his Russian allies. The campaign was initiated as a means to recapture the north-western Idlib province, the last opposition stronghold in the country, where Mohammed and his daughter previously lived in Syria.
Though this is a happy ending for Salwa and her father, he does admit that he feels a little guilty about the opportunity he was granted. Thousands of Syrians continue to languish in their home country, dreaming of a better future like the one they have been able to secure. Nonetheless, the dedicated father is happy to give Salwa the life and childhood she deserves. He explained, "I feel bad to leave my siblings and Salwa’s cousins and grandfather behind. At the same time though, it is not too much to ask for a life where you are treated like a human being. I can take Salwa to the park every day. She is so much happier already."
In a photo uploaded to Twitter by The Guardian journalist Bethan McKernan, Salwa can be seen laughing in her father's arms while wearing a pink dress. McKernan wrote, "I am happy to report that 3-year-old Salwa and her parents have made it safely out of Idlib to Turkey. The family made headlines for a game where dad Abdullah got Salwa to laugh at falling bombs to protect her from trauma. For the first time ever, she can laugh at normal things." Now, Mohammed doesn't have to use the memory of setting off fireworks during Eid-al-Adha to make little Salwa laugh at the sound of falling bombs.
The father-daughter duo went viral when Amnesty International posted their heartwrenching on their social media pages. In the video, Mohammed asks, "Is that a plane or a bomb?" Before the bomb explodes in the background, the adorable toddler responds, "It's a bomb... We're going to laugh when it comes." The two then burst into laughter. Without a doubt, the video managed to touch the lives of thousands of users across the internet. Now, if only more neighboring countries could open up their borders for the remaining one million displaced Syrians who are still looking for homes, futures, and most importantly, safety.