I stopped by your house in Syria today, but no one was home

Chris Reardon
Apr 11 · 6 min read
A man rides a bicycle through the Juret al-Shayah section of Homs in March 2019. ©UNHCR/Christopher Reardon

Eight years into the war in Syria, I paid a visit to the house where my friend Hani Al Moulia grew up. Like vast parts of his hometown, it was in a state of ruin.

That night, I wrote Hani a letter:

This is UNHCR’s first piece about Hani. We published it in March 2014, as the war turned three years old.
Zahra Mackaoui made this award-winning documentary about Hani with support from UNHCR. It chronicles the family’s time in Lebanon and resettlement to Canada. Earlier versions aired on Channel 4 and Al Jazeera.
The street where Hani lived (left). Hani’s house (center). Hani’s front doorway (right). ©UNHCR/Christopher Reardon
My boss spoke about the importance Hani places on education in this TED Talk, which has 1.2 million views.
Hani and his brother Ashraf horse around outside their shelter in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley in March 2014.

Hani speaks with host Anna Maria Tremonti in the CBC studio in Toronto. Chris joined by phone from Geneva.

We The Peoples

Voices from around the United Nations, with updates on digital diplomacy, peace, security, human rights and sustainable development.

Chris Reardon

Written by

Chief of Multimedia Content at UNHCR, the UN @Refugees Agency. Hooked on human rights, journalism and @TeamRefugees.

We The Peoples

Voices from around the United Nations, with updates on digital diplomacy, peace, security, human rights and sustainable development.