My heart trembled as the sound waves carried it up and down . it was like the sound of the end of the world when all the people will be called to the judgment day. I was sleeping; I opened my eyes like if I wanted to see what’s happening beyond the walls of my room. It was obviously an explosion, then another one, followed by sounds of Dushka, mortar and other weapons. It’s normal after three years of war that any average girl (I’m not saying average boy) could identify each weapon’s sound and could name missiles’ names, and many other weird things other than fashion brands and perfume names maybe. Just when I opened my eyes I knew it was the moment the battle will start. I hurried up to my closet and grabbed something to wear quickly while I was recalling in my head the past night when I was drinking (sahlab) with the girls in the University dorm. It’s hard for you to enjoy in the time of war without having a prick in your heart that something bad is going to happen after a pleasant time. happiness is not a good friend in such times, its betrayal is hard because it takes you high and then lets you fall down hard.
I got dressed quickly and went out to see what happened. All the girls were gathered in the corridor scared. No one knew exactly what was going on. All we knew that Qalamoun battle has started.
this phrase meant a lot. Meant that I might have lost my job and I must get back home because this place will be … nothing more than some stones that was a university once up on a time. it also meant my friends who live in this place may lose their homes and some of their families. Meant that I may have to face some men with weapons who would enjoy killing me and showing off my decapitated head on youtube just because my long hair which loves the sun makes them fear the eternal fire of God… the possibilities were open, and my imagination was too alive to stop.
Few minutes later we were called to stay in an underground shelter and wait.. and wait… for what! For peace? For Geneva 2 ? For radicals to stop thinking we should die so they can go to heaven? What are we waiting for?
I sang to break the silence-mortar chain… it had a frequency which made me want to cry. I sang while the hospital near was burning, and while 5 doctors were killed for no reason after the rebels occupied the hospital. I could do nothing but to sing a chant. I was singing of melancholy not of happiness..
after three hours the sounds were tired. They decided to pause for sometime. I had my chance to run away to Damascus again where my family is. I found out the fear multiplies many times when I’m away. I never was afraid of death with my family. All I had back with me was my laptop, I left my clothes and lately I found out I forgot my important papers like my university certificate which I’m worried about the most.
At the way back there were the army check points. I looked at the soldiers’ tired faces. You hardly catch the trace of fear on their fronts or eyebrows. Neither the hope. They know there’s a hard time waiting for them but yet they are ready to fight. The guys checked the IDs and smiled and said “God be with you” … it was an ironic moment, we in a comfortable bus knowing we will be home in 50 minutes, we think we are the center of the universe and we suffered a lot after 3 hours in a safe shelter. I stared at the soldier’s face… oh God , what’s waiting for this guy in the next few hours? Today in the morning the rebels bombed two check points to reach the hospital… those soldiers on that check point surely have mothers and lovers who are waiting for them, have dreams, they must wanted to build a family. I was still staring at his green eyes that can’t give any impression and to his hand that strongly holds his Kalashnikov, While the “enemies” are few Kilometers far. I thought; why is our lives more valuable than his? why does he have to die when we can get back to work after they secure the international road? why does his mother have to cry while I can get back safe to my mother? . No one would ever choose to be there.
After I reached home at Damascus I heard the rebels took the international road and it’s closed completely. I could be back home at the last moments…
then in few days we knew the Syrian army has put its hand on the road and it will be open soon but… some of my friends who lost a friend in that battle wrote on his facebook page :
“Everytime you travel through the international road between Deir Atieh and Al-Nabk
Close your eyes and think of the martyrs who gave away their lives to open this road again
Pray for each blood drop they gave
Pray for the dreams that have been stolen from their eyes
Pray for the people who kept their doors open for them to get back
And when you pass that road, find another story to think of
Because those who are gone away, have gone away… away …”
I will pray for that man of the green eyes, for his mother who never wanted her son to be there, cold, insecure, and lonely, and for his lover whose window is always open to the wind of the south to bring good news.
I will pray for everyone who really knows War is not a matter of choice.