my favorite tailor


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…

How do wars end?

It has been eight years since the nightmare started. Does it mean we were living the dream before that? No, but ignorance is a bliss almost always. In eight years, I have changed five cities, seven homes, countless skins, two hair colours, and two souls. I lost the track of time and the sense of place, and I most importantly I lost the sense of belonging somewhere.

It has been more than a year I haven’t visited Damascus. The strange thing is that I was haunted by this city; I was in love with its old stones and narrow roads.  I thought I will always have it as my home despite the destruction and the tears I dropped there. I left my home in 2015 with a lingering wish in my heart “I will come back someday when the madness evaporates, and men come back to their senses”. This never happened… Not yet, and never will apparently.

Despite the glamourous new year’s celebrations in London, I decided to spend the holidays in Damascus. Although was not excited to visit Damascus again, However, I wanted to find solace with mom who is the only reason I would always want to go there. My mom is 63 years old, she has that smile that makes me feel safe and loved. She is the elastic bond that ties me to my country, wherever I go I find myself going back for her. Also because London with all its glamour and its nine million people still makes me feel like the loneliest person on Earth.

I travelled from London to Istanbul, then from Istanbul to Beirut, then Beirut to Damascus. The car in which I came from Beirut left me near a small shopping mall, and the other car that was supposed to drive me home was late. So, I went inside the shopping mall until the driver arrives. The shopping mall was full of goods that no body bought, because people there can’t afford to buy “luxurious” things, and by luxurious, I mean new clothes. Outside there was a checkpoint where two men check IDs. I don’t remember that I was this intimidated by guns like this before, rifles were “silly” and normal. Now is when I realized I became a “white Syrian” somehow. I learned at the age of 13 how to assemble and reassemble a gun and a rifle, but now I can’t even look at them.

As I was going through the highway that leads to my home (the picture), I saw the destruction, the dust, and ghosts of people who died there, or whose dreams died there just like me. Everything changed, only the sun still visits the place every day to show us the fiasco and disappointment we should feel for what happened.

The question in my head was; What will happen after the war to these places? This road will be built again, high rise office buildings will attract businesses, those same businesses that funded the war and destroyed these homes to forever displace the land owners and start a new era… the era of the war nouveaux riche.

For eight years we thought that war is ugly, but the realization of this trip was that post war will be uglier.



in a parallel universe

Lately, I have watched so many videos about the Syrian crisis..

Seriously that was just five years but I feel it has taken forever. I don’t remember how my life was like before war started.  I don’t remember who my friends were or how I went so easily to university.

In a 60 second film for Unicef they say

Five years is enough time to build a family

Five years is enough time to build a career

Five years is enough time to graduate from university

I wonder how my life would be like in a parallel universe where there is no war in Syria, maybe I would have been married and I would have a kid, or maybe I would have had my own design studio working in the domain I love the most. In a parallel universe I wouldn’t meet the people I know now, and I wouldn’t live where I live now.

In a parallel universe, I want to be who I am now but without the pain and loss I suffered. I want to know the people I know, but I also don’t want to lose the people I lost.

In a parallel universe I want to have this small of my own I have now, and I want to be able to cry openly  when I listen to a touching song, or when an emotional thing happen to me. I want to visit new places and meet nice people. I don’t want to waste years of my life waiting for something good to happen watching my life fall apart not able to do anything about it. I want to be a successful person.

In that parallel universe there are million possibilities for who I would be and what I would be doing. I always wanted to leave Syria even before the war, I thought I could be more free anywhere but home, and I always wanted to disappear somewhere in this world and cut all my roots, but what really happens when we have the opportunity to do that! We don’t do it, or at least I myself don’t do it.

If I can create a series of one day of my life in a parallel universe, I don’t know if I would choose to live this or not. it is hard to imagine how much you can bear until you live it.

I can’t focus on one idea related to the possibilities, because this takes me between my past and my present back and forth like the needle of a sewing machine. I feel now we are two separated people, I can’t relate to that girl.

The problem is, after five years people in my country still care who was wrong and who was right. I wish I can scream like a thunder and let them all remember it is their life they are losing. I wish I can remind them that our lives are more precious.

I was watching a great short film you must see as well, it made me think of parallel universes and me.


Can’t we be who we are without the pain?

I would love to answer this as yes, but that is not right.


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.


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.

I am a snail, I am a mountain


one sun set in syria (26-5-2913) – picture is taken by me

the scene started in the bus, me – sitting next to the window, watching the yellow mountains of Damascus. No sign for life in these deserted mountains though I know a lot of insects and plants struggled to live in this yellow dry land, for no particular reason except that it’s THEIR land.

For the first time in these  two exhausting  years , I’m leaving Damascus for a while, my trip is in Syria too but … well leaving Damascus at this hard time felt like a betrayal for “her “ .

It’s Strange how you can feel guilty for leaving your city, treating it as another sad soul in this tragic area. It’s not only a place to live in, It’s literally MY STORY ..

Being you in the time of war is something you must always keep in mind. you should be aware you are not becoming a monster or a fragile butterfly following any source of light even if it’s the light of fire that will burn her wings.

Being you and only you, not that creature they try to mold and create through TV screens and news broadcasts, is the only thing you need to struggle for.

There after three hours the bus stopped.. we weren’t hunt on the road.. it was a safe trip luckily. And there I am , for the first time in 2 years I breath deep, I fill my lungs with air and don’t want to think again.. just want to breath and rest that small brain.

Syria is well known now in the whole world for being the most dangerous place to live in. well in this “most dangerous” place I was blessed to be able to discover I’m not completely damaged,  I still can see beauty , and knew that storms are a part of nature, no storm could ever end the life in any part of this world.

So here I am, writing this post on the beach and listening to Frank Sinatra, moon river – well I know I have an old fashioned music taste- and even when I’m back there to Damascus I will always think of that little snail on the grass that is so slow moving forward but knows exactly what it wants and knows how to protect itself from storms and other bad animals .

I will always put in mind that these mountains were here thousands years ago. They welcomed anything the universe gave, and so they are now green, wild and strong.

And I will say to the world, I am a snail, a mountain and a continuous waterfall ..


an unexpected lovely scene , picture is taken by me


You and me..


I look at the pictures of the slains, I wonder .. who can kill this way ?

Everybody can..

Except you and me.. because we are deficient..

We need to wait for other human beings who can stop this.

Other people who are deficient like you and me

Who are mentally deficient.. who suffer lack of power .. lack of heroism ..

People who are sluggish and coward ..

Just like you and me..

■ ■ ■ ■

You and me , my resemble… are deficient .. and we are truly a minority even if we are majority, in fact we are no more than a whiff in front of the real men .

I had my hope once.. and I dreamed of a big flood to wipe out all this ugliness, but Noah will again bring back a new human race, more despicable, less human..

The consolation is that I don’t know anything about the future, so I still can build my hopes on the cloud.. I still can hope I can wake up in another land .. open my eyes and see other people.. people who only have kindness in their eyes.



feelings by “Onsi Al haj”  .. parts chosen and rewritten by me 

peace way


It’s really cold outside, though the spring is on the doors but the wind whistles outside makes me up all night. I’m not saying that I’m used to calm nights no of course , I’m used to clashes and heavy weapons sound but I can’t sleep when the wind whistles .

A pale white light is lighting my room.. I opened my laptop and signed in to facebook. Oh my lord what’s going on there? Why do people suddenly remember something called “Arab league” ever since I was born nothing came out of this useless bunch of crappy fat people. Now what’s new? Some people are mocking, some are angry, some are happy.. I think this is the first time they get this attention… oh wait what’s going on ?  aha now I get it .. they gave the Syrian seat to some new puppet and changed our flag without even asking us! How rude !

That means , they changed the president, the flag, and the government without even asking the F*** people they claim to defend…

it’s really the first time i feel how a Palestinian felt when Arabs made those conferences and spoke on behalf of them, sold their land and  begged for humanitarian aids.

Now we have a government inside the country that runs everything and a government outside that does nothing except taking their salaries from foreign countries and giving promises of future investments in the “virgin land” . a president inside the country that we know exactly who he is whether we love him or not , and a puppet president who came out of nowhere. And two flags, the one that I loved and drew in my 4 year old drawings the one that grabs my attention and catches my pupil when seen in the sky, and the other one that I know nothing about except that it was hung  behind every bunch of murderers  who slayed and tortured a Syrian.

How come they still DARE to call what’s happening in Syria a “civil war” !!! hell no it’s not a civil war. It’s a war made by those  big pigs behind their desks starving for blood and gas and oil. No it’s not a damn civil war, it’s their war by our hands.

You know what ? after all the hands that are playing inside Syria, after all the blood and tears, this is how the peace way looks like the illustration above.