Today I am sharing a post of a brave, sincere, beautiful soul from Syria. she had to stand face to face with her past and memories in the ruins of what used to be her home and her city Al-Hasakah which is located in the far north-east corner of Syria. A city where you used to find all Syrian colors and had a mixed population with the majority being Assyrians/Syriacs and Arabs , Armenians and Kurds.
On her way back to Damascus, she only told that sky she was fascinated by about those days and how she felt…
I am leaving you now with her words :
It’s been a year and about three months since I’ve been here… And I can’t believe that the first thing i did the morning I woke up in Kamishli was to fix my flight reservation to go back ASAP. Today I woke up and I had plans to go home to visit nana (nana means grandma ) .. Seba and Elias (my friends) decided to join me so I don’t travel alone! They really didn’t have to, but it was so kind and generous of them to budge in. I didn’t want to go hadn’t my mom called nana and told her I was in Kamishli. When we got the station.. People started talking to us in Kurdish assuming and expecting us to answer back in Kurdish too.. I remembered that the same thing happened to us at the airport when we landed and wanted to take a cab to Seba’s office. I didn’t know what to feel or how to react. I didn’t understand what the man was trying to tell us and he refused to answer or explain in Arabic! That happened to me last time I was there too.. It still feels weird and uncomfortable.. And it feels like you’re a stranger in your own home. Seba found her way to get tickets for us to Hasake and we hopped on the bus while trying to joke about it.. When deep inside we were all puzzled with our feelings and thoughts. I was going home. I am going home; I kept repeating for myself, in a failure attempt to calm down and not be nervous about it. I knew the city was somewhat a wreck and I’ve read the news, saw the pictures and had myself ready to what I might be seeing. I had made my own expectations and tried to make them the worst. I closed my eyes. The weather was nice, a cool breezing was playing with the three clouds up in the blue sky. It was green all around. The yellow and white flowers were still shy and were gathered next to each others getting ready to fully blossom. My shuffled music system played “you can never hold back spring” a smile then started to make its way to my lips. After a little bit less than two hours ride, on a bumpy road and with exactly 11 checkpoints, only one of them for the regime and the rest were equally divided between the PYD and the YPG. Here we were 1km away from the city entrance. My heart started beating so fast and I forgot to breath for several seconds and when I sighed at the site of the kurdish flag covering what used to be the Syrian flag I noticed that I was frowning and holding my hands so tight together and pressing them against each others. The city looked so dusty, rusty, deserted.. Like an old man.. So tired of his fucked up life waiting in vain for his delayed death.. A call of mercy.. Or maybe waiting for a tender touch of a hand.. I passed by my old school.. The streets I grew up between its walls.. Here I laughed with my friends and talked endlessly.. And there I bumped my car when I was still learning to drive.. And there.. And there.. Shhhhhh stop!! I forced my self to! Seba held my hand.. She knew what I was thinking and feeling.. Our street had been mostly damaged after the last fight between the kurds and ISIS and the national defense force!! When we got to our block.. We both stopped.. And couldn’t look at each others faces for more than a second.. A couple of the people we grew up around were still there and surviving, they welcomed us and stopped to catch up.. I felt nothing!!! I got home and at the entrance I asked seba and elias to go walk around and i was suppose to see nana. I walked into the building.. It was dark.. I though i smelled my mom’s carrots cake! She used to make that every time I came home from Aleppo. I thought I heard her steps down to welcome me. I thought I felt my dad’s touch trying to carry my bag for me. I thought I heard Sara crying for me from above “allousheee my lovely what did you get me this time!!! “. I didn’t smell any cake, I heard nothing, I felt nothing.. And I didn’t even had a bag on me! I noticed that i had forgotten to breath again.. And that with each step up my heart beat faster. Nana was waiting on her door; when I saw her I felt a little better. She hugged me and cried. After sitting down with her and after seeing my aunt I asked them if I can go up another level to my home. Mom wanted shoes from her locker. The place was so cold. White sheets all over the furniture. The decoration was so different. My hands touched the walls and I pulled them back so quickly. I went into my room and didn’t find the cushions I had set with seba. I went into all the rooms. I wanted to cry and I couldn’t. I ran my fingers on the piano and It felt like touching a hand of an old friend only that friend didn’t remember me. I reached for my phone to call my mom but without thinking I called my precious. That voice was comforting and when I hanged off I closed the door and got down to eat kabab with nana and my aunt. It was the quickest lunch of my life and then I made an excuse to leave so soon saying that seba wants my help in translating few papers for the office. I decided to walk a little before I met Seba and Elias. Walking around Hasake i felt like a stranger. I knew no body and no body
knew me. I didn’t feel safe. And for a minute there I though I was walking in the set of “The Book of Eli” or “I Am Legend”. The face of the city has grown different as if it has sold its soul to the devil. I met my friends by our moms’ friend house. We had decided to visit her and have coffee with her. I live tant Entwanet she is the sweetest, but she too was tired and different. “I am not coming back soon” is all I could think of through out our visit. When we went back to the station to go to Kamishli I learned that I had dropped my wallet with my ID in it and that I am going to have to make another trip back here to get an alternative… That trip back, was even worse than the first one! Hasake for me now is a memory of a place that once made me the person I am today. For that I will always be thankful. But it is
nothing more than that!!
On this cold evening, there’s still time for memories and some good oriental music (Naseer shamma). So the scene is like this, my laptop is in front of me, the sound of oud is near and tender, the sound of war is far a little bit but not as far as the sound of peace, I am staring at the white ceiling with a blank mind. Then this image of my memory popped up :
When I was a little girl there were that Chinese cartoon movie I liked very much and watched it over and over again. It starts with the daily life of a little family , two little girls and their parents. They were naughty happy girls, until the war came to their city .. I remember how I watched this movie every time with tears filling my eyes for these girls. When the war came they had to leave their home which was taken by the enemy and I can see in my head now the part that made me always cry when the little sister died of fever because they couldn’t find a doctor or medicine for her.
Oh God! While I’m staring at the ceiling, listening to oriental music I recalled this Chinese movie that I used to watch FIFTEEN years ago .
At that time I always imagined these girls as me and my sister and maybe that’s why I cried too much watching that movie. I thought if war ever came to my country I’ll never leave my sister because she might die like this in the movie, if she dies I will die too. And I thought; what do people do in war , how do they live, can they still watch cartoon ? oh I wish war doesn’t come here because I love cartoon too much and if I had to leave I won’t be able to watch .
I am smiling now, cartoon and my sister were all that mattered at that time.
I still don’t have a full answer for that little girl that was me, but I know I won’t die when someone I love dies, I continue living stolidly , I wake up every day , look around , recognize where I am, and recall in my mind that they’re not there anymore .. but dear little girl you may watch or not watch cartoon and that won’t matter much.
Dear little me, you may listen to music in war, you may sing, you may runaway, you may lose people you love, you may cry and be torn apart, you may die a thousand time and revive again, you may hide your head under the pillow when the clashes get closer.. you also may choose to stop feeling, you see a dead body and don’t show emotions but still cry when you watch a sad movie. You surely will become another person .. a stronger from the outside and fragile inside,
Dear little me, you will always have a tear waiting in your eyelid to be dropped, And you will always choose to keep it for you know you will need more tears in the future.
But keep it in your mind sweetie, you won’t die unless you choose to die, and this choice is always available.