A damaged room at the Dar al-Aytam al-Islamiya in Bir Hasan, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014. (The Daily Star/Stringer)
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The orphanage looks and feels like a haunted house, suddenly robbed of life. Rocks and shards of concrete mark the entrance, the rooms inside darkening in the failing sunlight, and smiling, paperweight snowmen stare down from the ceiling, a faint shadow of the mirth that once filled these halls. The damage to the 85-year-old Hallaq's home looks apocalyptic.The kindly, gentle smile still comes easy to Hallaq, even as he surveys his broken home.As Hallaq and his family endure with courage,Youssef al-Atat stands defiant in front of his antique shop.Most of Atat's family lives here. One of his employees died in a bombing last November targeting the nearby Iranian Embassy. Atat saw smoke rising from his shop on TV, and rushed to the scene.Atat says he cannot comprehend why someone would attack civilians, let alone in such a mixed neighborhood.Atat stands defiant, saying the aim of the terrorists was to sow the seeds of civil strife between Sunnis and Shiites.
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