War is not a matter of choice

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.

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the hospital of Deir Atieh burning in an attempt of the rebels to have control on it

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.

angry birds is NOT funny in Damascus

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Art work by Tammam Azzam

Today; the weather is cloudy with the chance of mortar rain… the temperature is much much higher than its average in this time of the year. It’s hot that your car might melt down in the street.

Every day the sky of Damascus throws tens of mortar shells randomly in the city. Sometimes it feels there’s someone playing angry birds… well.. REAL angry birds. it’s weird how the game becomes so brutal when it gets out of the screen.. When someone plays it for real and thinks if he kills all the birds and destroys all the stones he will go to heaven then. This is a surreal scene for how Damascus looks like in the day light. What’s more surreal? When you hear those who are shelling the mortars say they are doing this for the sake of the revolution and to emit this dictatorship then you see them shelling a kindergarten school bus.. Five little kids and their teacher are the dictatorship in my country. Another ironic picture is when you see the time of the shelling is exactly the same time when employers generally get out to their homes.. Really! Are those poor employers really a dictatorship?!  I am saying they are poor because most of the richies are now out of the country. Is this your idea about a revolution!

How much more do I have to worry about my fourteen year old sister because they might bomb the schools?

How much more do I have to run all my way to the hospital staring at the sky not at the road to see if anything is falling over my head?If this is your idea about revolutions!

Then really may you rest in peace Gandhi. May you rest in peace mother Teresa, may you all rest in peace great peace seekers lucky you didn’t have the chance to see those freedom fighters.

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a mortar shell on an elementary school in Damascus

A little prayer for today

How can I lose faith in the justice of life, when the dreams of those who sleep upon feathers are not more beautiful than the dreams of those who sleep upon the earth?

Gibran Khalil Gibran.

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now I am in an area that all the world news channels are busy talking about it’s big battles (Qalamoun) .. while I’m really inside and all I see is this great piece of art.. today I could smell the aroma of God after the rain fell on this deserted land. I could play a game with the sun rays. the dreams of you people are not more beautiful than my dreams..

may the eyes of ours always see the greatness of the world that lies behind the ugliness of it… Amen

Who can claim they see the reality!

What is the reality of what we see?

This is a question I’ve always asked to myself and it’s still unsolved.

What if other people see this blanket differently? What if that yellow color doesn’t look like I see it to everybody else? Now what if they hear my voice not the same way I hear it?

I studied in hand drawing lectures a long time ago about perspective; things don’t look the way they really are, our eyes use a trick in seeing  lines, areas, and also colors that makes it able to include the world in that small pupil we have in our eyes.

–          Things look smaller than they are when they are further.

–          Paralleled lines (which are impossible to meet in reality) actually meet in one point. This point is as high as your eye’s height.

–          The view of any object differs due to where you stand.

These laws and many other that explain the perspective made me always wonder, WHAT IS THE REALITY!?perspective

The few past weeks made me ask myself that question again. Changing my “eyes location” made me see things differently. Some big things looked smaller to me when I got further, and other small things looked bigger. Some bright things looked much darker from a different point of view.

In this time I worked in a private university “Qalamoun University” as an assistant in architecture department. That area is mostly in the hands of the government but people there are relatively supporting the FSA (free Syrian army). I used to think these people as “Islamist monsters” who want me dead just because I’m not wearing Hijab (veil). Anyway I decided to go there and work despite the image I had and despite the danger around where the only people you find 25 meters out of the university are armed fighters and thieves.

First day there, I sat on a desk in the university looking at the deserted mountains. They look amazing like the dress of a

Qalamoun mountains

dancer changing colors and shades with every move under the big blue sky. But inside; I knew they have their own dark side, they are full of armors who wear black and shout “ Allahu Akbar”  (God is great) when they behead another human being.

I-myself- suffered a lot because of those fighters; I lost my job, my fiancé, my secure life and many friends. I can count many more. All I could hear before is my voice; my suffering looked the biggest in the world that anyone on the other side looked like a devil to me for a while.

I found that people there are just like me and my family, they have the same fears, the same hopes and worries. We are so much the same on a different side.

When this whole cradle started in Syria they didn’t fear those voices calling for an Islamic government as they are Muslims and an Islamic government will not change their life routine, this is what a woman there told me, so they supported the revolution physically and emotionally. Then they saw how foreign countries intervene in this war and pay money to strengthen a side on another, they saw how those radicals grew stronger everyday with the help of foreign fighters who don’t even speak Arabic and don’t accept anything or anyone that doesn’t kneel in front of them or in front of their black flag. That is the moment when they were the biggest losers; they are in the middle of this war with no one to protect them. At first they fought the government and now there are those foreign black flagged fighters in their land, the big battle between the government forces and fighting brigades will be on their own land.

I heard many and many stories about people who were kidnapped by rebels and then arrested by government forces for suspecting them in something they didn’t do.

I couldn’t ensure I’ll be safe if they know about my religious views or political views but when they thought I’m really one of them they were open to me. But.. I’m really one of them.. we think we’re different sides because we’re not open to each other . I suffered too, I cried too for people I love just like them. I was insecure and I was discriminated against also for religious reasons. But… if they knew who I am or who my family is, they will surely not believe me when I say I understand how they feel , I understand every feeling they had once and I know how they wanted their hearts to stop beating and how the only wish they had sometimes is a descent death.

I wish there’s a way people can switch their parts sometimes and move to another side, move up or down to see differently. Move the whole way around the box to see it all and know that the only truth they knew is not a truth.

Then WHAT IS THE REALITY!??

I really don’t know. I’m so limited to know, but I know I am and There must be a way to remind people in the world of the laws of perspective. they must remember they shouldn’t be afraid of their reflection in the mirror.