It always impresses me how Picasso’s “La guernica” portraits me, and almost all of my close friends who have been through the same path more or less, except we look normal from the outside, the mess is only from the inside. I recognise how fragile my balance is when I can not engage in a conversation about how difficult it is to have your mother visit you over Easter while you have too much to study… my mom can’t visit me, that nice old lady will not see the beautiful red London buses or the stunning architecture. So yeah, I have more time to study; I will not have to be her tour guide in London, I will not take her to the Thames or London Eye. She will not see my room or the garden where I read my books.
My colleague was complaining how she doesn’t have time for her mom’s visit, while all I said was “Yeah, I know it must be difficult”, I showed a fake smile of sympathy and thought to myself, is it my fault that I don’t sympathise or that I get angry at this type of problems? I know that everyone is fighting their own battle, but why should my battle be this difficult? Why can’t I worry about my food not being organic enough or not having my vacation in the best island in Greece or even spending my birthday alone! These are the kind of problems my colleagues complain about on a daily basis, while I stay silent fearing if I talk about what worries me, I will hurt their feelings or ruin their evening. It worries me not to have a place to go to after I finish my masters because my country is not accommodating and is not a “pleasant” place to live in. It worries me not to ever see my mom again. It worries me that I don’t have a place to call home, the uncertainty, the loneliness, the exile of everything and everyone I love, death worries me… life too does… I wish I can just worry about global warming, then I would go every day to protest in front of Westminster with those nice people, but I am too broken to worry about the Earth. I wish I am that sane and sweet, but I am neither. If I am given the choice, I would probably choose to complain about the amount of field work I have to do, that I have to travel 70% of my time despite being paid three times more like that guy I met today, but I know I would be grateful to get a job unlike these people who would seize every opportunity to complain. I am not like them, I am broken. I would like to believe that I am unique because I left my pieces behind and tried to stitch myself nicely. I stitch myself on my own, I am not a good tailor, but I do my best. I do my best to be nice, to sympathise, to understand, and appreciate. I am not always a good tailor, but I am my favourite tailor.
I am sure that to other people in my country, I am like my colleagues who complain about spending their birthday alone. I live in London and I share nice photos on Instagram, oh God! We are all broken, but do I want to be fixed?
No, I don’t…
An internal monologue for a refugee, a simple woman who faces discrimination, hatred, and cruelty of humans everywhere…
In this part of this city, in these 200 m2 specifically, you stand in a miniature of Syria. You move around and you can easily hear Syria in different ways and accents, smell it from the carriages of street hawkers selling beans or Sahlep, even taste it; taste the poor part of it… even the dust in the street tries to resemble that in the streets of old destroyed cities.
Wherever you look you will see women in black, Brown, or whatever dark colors they find. Yes this is who we are; we are scared of colors, we feel exposed, Black helps us disguise and keeps us as invisible as we have always been.
It is very noisy in here but I can get myself out of this noise whenever I want. I learnt this technique when I was a child; every time my father would shout or beat my mom I would sit in the corner and sing in my head a song I used to hear from those children who went to school. The song says “those chicks! How cute they are! They are turning around their mom” so that I don’t hear my mom cry, and in times like this I do the same thing but with different songs, I don’t hear any of these women complaining about waiting for several days or since the early morning, I can only hear the song in my head and think of my own problems. I have enough of them!
I hear other women saying that you have to know how to write your name in order to get your assistance. I wish my father (RIP) hears this, he always thought he was protecting us by not sending us to school. He thought I will be more useful in my husband’s house; if only he sees the look on people’s faces when I say I am forty and I don’t know how to write my name! They look at me as if I was a savage coming from some forest. I don’t have the urge to change that look they have. I can’t read or write, I wasn’t sent to school, it is not my fault but then it is my father’s my village’s my people’s fault. What change does this make! In their mind it is either I am a savage or my people are! I don’t care as long as I will find a way to convince them that whatever I write is my name, I would cry, I would beg, I would even act dead, I will not go back home empty handed.
Oh look at my toes, they look funny. I had to take off my socks because we didn’t expect it to rain while waiting. They were wet, they made me cold. I put this nail polish four weeks ago when Ahmad (my little son) slept for thirty minutes during the day. I thought of impressing my husband but he didn’t even notice. Every day when he gets back from his work in construction I feel that another part of him is dying. I hope that seeing his five children growing up creates a strong motivation for him to go on… I can’t help the idea of being alone, I was never allowed to depend on myself, it is even weird that this assistance was sent under my name! I don’t understand why they would give it to the woman while there is a man in the house… they are usually in charge of everything outside the house.
Again I wish my father was alive to see where we are now and see how different life would be if I was sent to school or learnt to do anything to make a living. Will I repeat the same mistake with my daughters? I will try not to!! Probably to a level… For different reasons; because we are refugees, because we are poor because I can’t afford food on the table. Maybe it is our destiny to be the invisible.
The security guards are annoyed of this number of people; maybe five hundred people are waiting. They count us and give us numbers, perhaps they don’t know that each one of has a story, a life, maybe a love, and a home that were left behind … this is not something we have chosen…
Enough! I have a headache… I need to stop thinking and go back to the song in my head… to the silence there… to being someone in the crowd, someone insignificant, meanwhile I will only imagine the smile on my children’s faces when I come home full handed, this will keep my knees stronger, to stand for the next eight hours.
Raqqa, Aleppo, Idlib, Palmyra … and then maybe Qalamoon .. everytime i talk to someone or I check my facebook account i see people are freaked out because “DAESH” or ISIS is getting closer and closer. but I’m not worried. when I look there all I see is ugliness so I’d rather close my eyes… but I am not afraid maybe because I lack the imagination, I don’t imagine how I will be chopped if they arrived here, or how the texture of soil that is mixed with blood feels. I don’t imagine my self wearing burqo or forced to marry a Jihadi.
I am not afraid because I lack the vision, I don’t look at maps and see how ISIS is expanding, I don’t read strategic or logistic analyses or wait for the news broadcast that is read by handsome men with ties about the unfortunate people of Syria. I know what happens where I live after ten days or maybe a month only when I talk to a foreign friend or someone who is abroad. I am not worried because I don’t see.
I am not worried because I am not smart enough, I don’t read history books or learn from the past. I don’t know what happened in Spain civil war nor in Serbia or Poland. I am not worried because I am not old enough, I don’t remember what happened in Iraq. I don’t know what happened before the American invasion or after. I don’t know what is happening now in Yemen.
I am not afraid because I am irresponsible. I don’t think of my family or my self.
I am not afraid because I don’t have my important connections to know that only today 400 people were slaughtered in Palmyra.
I am not worried so don’t make me open my eyes, don’t make me be smart, or responsible or important.
when I was a little girl, I used to wake up at night afraid and told Mom that there are monsters and i could hear them. then Mom always said to me, habibti (my baby) if you don’t see them then they don’t exist.
I am neither worried nor afraid… when I look there all I feel is I am disgusted, I am tired, so I close my eyes…
this post is a letter written to my dear Maya Nasser (30 July 1979 – 26 September 2012) was a Syrian journalist and reporter who worked for Press TV, an Iranian English-language broadcasting service. Nasser reported from Syria during the Syrian Civil War. His reports from Aleppo are the most notable.
On 26 September 2012, Nasser was covering the large explosions at the Syrian army’s headquarters in Umayyad Square when he was killed by a rebel sniper. Nasser was shot through the neck and was killed.
Nasser is the 46th journalist killed during the Syrian Civil War.
the post in this link is related to the current post you can also read it
I hesitated too much before writing this letter to you. I know you might thought I forgot about you or something but it is not like that…
It is snowing here dear even more than that day when I skipped going to work to spend the day out with you, do you still remember that day? I miss the picture of us being happy together…
I thought of writing to you after a year from my last letter although I didn’t get any sign if you receive my letters in heaven or they just throw it away…I was sitting near my desk staring at my blank page a little bit and out of my window, the weather is crazy… it feels and looks like somewhere in Europe not in the middle east.. and to tell you the truth when I watched the news yesterday I also felt that Europe is a little bit like the middle east. Maybe we are switching roles for a while.. it’s been two days of complete peace here but few days ago two terrorists attacked a satirical newspaper in Paris and killed 12 people I guess most of them are journalists and cartoonists… how sad dear, it reminds me of that day when I lost you, it must have been so harsh for their families and beloved ones .. oh I am stupid I am telling you news you already know. maybe those guys are sitting with you now.. I don’t know if you see the sympathy of the world with their story.. oh Maya you can imagine how I felt when I watched the news and saw the panic of the people there… who knows maybe it is the same guy killed you all .. or maybe it is the same man who trained them to be a killing machine .. the same radical ideology.
I won’t hide on you dear, I felt somehow aggrieved because almost no one looked at us or heard what we said about those killers. At that time I wanted to scream and tell the world about my pain and my anger on those who are viewed on western media as freedom seeking angels… I wanted to say that no man with a gun is an anger .. no man who kills a journalist is a hero …almost The whole world insisted on turning a blind eye on our pain for losing you and many of your courageous friends after you… OK I know you don’t care about sympathy or what the history will say or about making your name well known.. but maybe the world’s awareness of our issue at that time would have made me stronger… if the world is fair there would be a full slogan like this … Je suis Maya .. Je suis yara.. je suis ….. je suis Charlie … but don’t worry dear I am much much stronger now, you know better..
I feel really sorry the world had to know the truth the hard way.. losing those people must be a big loss I think now you have them as your friends and you argue with them upon political issues up above as you always did .. well I hope you are healed from your annoying politics obsession..
I will not send you this letter just when I write it because I am waiting for a kind angel to deliver it to you, only the death angel pass by Syria .. just the other day he took away some children from the refugee camps because it was too cold for them to stay… again.. I’m telling you news you already know dear … please be good and keep watching me J talk to you later …
je suis Charlie
I was hesitated about posting any article in the last few weeks.
there’s a lot to speak about but I’m to shy to write! should I speak about the thirst of Aleppo?
how could I speak up about people’s pain after having my hot shower! would I really feel it and speak from the heart with a glass of juice and a laptop on my desk! that’s not enough. if I have to speak about thirst when I’m and doing nothing but speaking, then I’d better shut up.
could I speak about the hunger of Yarmouk camp and throw away the old food next moment? how could I!
could I speak about Homs ! the damaged city ? could I speak about my friend’s pain when she got back home in Homs and all was found were few walls and nothing else…
I still have my home, my memories and my room … she doesn’t have any of them now …
yes, Basically I can write.. but it’s not fair to write about hunger with a full stomach, or to write about homelessness from your bed!
I just want to write about hope! even when I don’t have it! I will still write about it and it’s fair like that…
today, the collage I graduated from, started an event to use bicycles in the city and called it the green road… ps: (people in my city are not used to ride bikes)
You all know Syria as the main war zone in the headlines now, but that doesn’t mean we’re sitting here and thinking of our funeral next week. we’re trying to overcome our obstacles on a small scale. we can’t control gas and oil prices but we can use bicycles.
hope is not sitting on your couch and dreaming only.. it’s getting up and doing something. no matter how small or big this thing is if you just get up and start DOING.
the green road even – Damascus University – architecture department
“My friend Somar, you are alive and soon you’ll be among your family and friends… I am sure of that… Sure I will see you again”
That sentence above was written by a friend of mine on another friend’s Facebook wall. The guy was supposed to be in “Jobar” a place which was bombed yesterday. They couldn’t hear anything from him since then. The words written reminded me of another guy named “Humam”, an old friend of my brother. When I mention his name I recall his picture as a little boy. He was a very short boy, much shorter than my brother which made him always look younger than the rest of the boys. He used to come over wearing a white shirt usually and black pants with his brown hair tidily combed from the right to the left like the old days. His white pale skin makes you feel he’s sick maybe or he needs to eat more. It always caught my eye how organized that boy was, how he rides the bike with his straight spine and how he folds his handkerchief gently and slowly, unlike the other boys. I never actually thought this little white rabbit is going to be a strong grown up.
Unlike my expectations, that little boy became a strong grownup with a little mustache and a beard. I saw his picture on Facebook. I said smiling “Oh look who’s become a big man now!” then I noticed he was carrying a riffle maybe longer than the boy I used to know (him). I knew later that he was one of the guards protecting Al Kindi Hospital in Aleppo. The comment below said “the present absent, Humam, we are waiting for you… your family)… I was frozen for sometime, my eyes were hanged on the comment and couldn’t say a single word. I haven’t seen him since a very long time but… that was different. Humam was also “lost” after the big explosion of Al Kindi hospital. The explosion eliminated the hospital, nothing was left there. And Humam is “lost”. The stones of the hospital couldn’t stand against the flames but his family’s hope and faith could. They are still WAITING for him.
Al Kindi hospital , the fourth largest hospital in the middle east for cancer
Two months ago was Humam and today is Somar. Those who are “lost” may never get back. They may like their absence and obscurity. But who knows, they also may find their ways back. I hope the road is clear and lit for them to be back someday. I pray…