First-year student pens stories of children in Syria

Blue Box
The Blue Box by Emma Abdullah

Syria’s civil war has taken a devastating toll on children.

Stanford freshman EMMA ABDULLAH puts a young, human face on that tragedy with her book, The Blue Box, which details the plight of Syrian children during the country’s six-year civil war. Published in 2014, the work is a collection of short stories and poems, and all proceeds go to charity. Abdullah estimates she’s raised $80,000. Abdullah, who was raised in Kuwait, has relatives and friends from her father’s side of the family in Syria who have died or gone missing.

As many as 470,000 people and 10,000 children have been killed in the war, according to published accounts and the United Nations.

“My goal is to raise awareness about what these children are going through,” said Abdullah, who spoke at a recent meeting at Stanford’s Center for International Security and Cooperation. “It’s important for me to bring this situation to light.”

She’s found her classmates to be receptive, though many of them were not aware of the scope of horror in Syria.

“Other students have been good, and people are willing to listen once you talk to them about it,” she said. “It’s been very positive at Stanford, and there is a lot to do on campus.”

Her 86-page book features a child who writes stories about people in Syria.

“She feeds the box with her thoughts; she puts in everything she has. She doesn’t know it but her box becomes powerful. It takes up every word, every smile and every heartbeat and slowly, quietly, it grows. It grows into something so much bigger and more profound than she is. She’s just a child. She’s just a child who promised she’d save another but who doesn’t know how. But one day, she looks at her box and she understands,” writes Abdullah, who will major in political science.

Read more on the website of the Center for International Security and Corporation.