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Fear of Hunger: it’s the Case with the “Mastourin” Today

Lina Dayoub revisits the deteriorating living conditions of the middle class in Syria, in an article for Snack Syrian.
Poverty Syria
Fear of Hunger: it’s the Case with the “Mastourin” Today

“Only today do I understand the meaning of the phrase fear of hunger contained in the Qur’an. Because I live the fear that the day will come when my husband’s work stops as a university professor,” says a woman who preferred not to be named. She added, “I am today on unpaid maternity leave, and although my husband worked in more than one place, his income no longer covers the expenses of the house after we had a second child. With successive waves of increased prices, a feeling of fear dominates me when I can not find enough food in my kitchen for the next day, because I think about what would happen if my husband’s contract ends and I am still on vacation, and what if they don’t let me get back to work.”

This relatively young mother is not the only one living in fear. A first-class employee, a mother of two young men at the university, whose husband works in translation, told me that she could not believe that she would wake up one day and not find one Syrian pound in her home –with no savings to resort to– or that the house would be free of supplies and food. She said to Snack Syrian that she only has to wait for her brother who lives abroad, for her to receive money and save her home, or to revive her husband’s work again. Once, at the exchange office, the amount she withdrew did not even last until she got home. She bought food with the full amount of more than 400 pounds that would last for at least ten days. She expressed her concern and fear of the deterioration of living conditions as prices increase. 

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A father apologizes to his daughter, who needs to change her medical glasses because he does not have the means to, knowing that the month is not finished yet. The father, who is a retired engineer, is looking for work as he says to Snack Syrian. Both his and his wife’s salaries combined are no longer enough to support them, even though his family is comprised of only three members. He repeats what these two women have said about fear, adding: “No one is here to help us, my daughter is also looking for a job even though she has not finished her university studies yet.” 

I asked my neighbor, the vegetable seller, to explain to me what he meant by saying (May god help the Mastourin (families who are barely above the poverty line)). He replied, “The segment of employees who for years have been living a decent life to suit their educational and career level”. Today, he sees anxiety and fear in their eyes and comments on their inability to keep up with the expensive and deteriorating living conditions, to the point where they lose their peace of mind thinking about securing their daily needs. 

The Syrian pound’s value is further depreciating with the continuing high prices. The value of the income of most segments of workers is declining, with the majority of families entering the cycle of fear and hunger.

Lina Dayoub is a Syrian journalist.

This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.

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