10 months on today – A boy in the picture holds a sign saying “where will I and my siblings sleep, Bashar destroyed my home”
Let me put down what has happened so far.
So March 15th, though events did take place before, was the start of something unreal, almost impossible in Syria, children were taken and tortured for writing anti government slogans on the walls in Daraa, the people came out to protest against this action, they were met with violence. The people in Homs and Hama came out to support the people of Daraa, not calling for the fall of the regime as this is very dangerous and weighty, but calling for a stop to the killing, and reforms.
But as soon as it was clear the killing was not stopping, the people decided, bravely, to take this revolution onwards until the end.
So what happened? If I was to explain all I’m sure you would not read. But here is a very brief summary. It doesn’t do justice.
Daraa was hit with shells on 25th April, we all rose in madness and anger, we knew the Assad forces were capable, but we were paralysed with fear of what was to come. Several areas followed.
Let me start with Banyas and Albayda where hundreds of young men were subjected to severe torture in schools and stadiums and public squares, many of whom remain held till today.
Then to Deir Alzor where anti-aircraft missiles were used on human beings in the early days, where protests of over 75 000 came out only to be met with the most severe of punishments. An area that has made us proud but the scenes of headless bodies marks in my mind till today.
Then Homs: for example Alhooleh that was one of the earliest to be subjected to a siege and shelling, Talbiseh with its homes demolished and besieged with people starving inside, Rastan the area of many defected soldiers but an area that has been hit so much many are homeless, and the area is still besieged till today. Then I go onto Baba Amr, Insha’at, Alkhaldiyeh, Albayada and Deir Balbeh, Bab Dreib, Alnazheen, Karam Alzaytoon, Bab Sba’, Karam Alshami, Wadi Alarab and many many more all now immune to being subjected to missiles leaving homes destroyed, families torn apart, children orphaned and women widowed. Homs that has so far the most martyrs in this revolution. Diesel and gas are scarce; electricity is cut all the time leaving families in severe and dire situations. To be warm is a crime. To eat is a crime.
Hama where over 250000 came out in protests only to be massacred on the night of Ramadan and through Ramadan in the most brutal of ways, including cut of food and electricity to the fasting area and cut of electricity to hospitals leaving premature babies dead and piled over one another.
Or Douma the Damascus suburb where the women have led the revolution, risking their own lives with many taken and raped brutally, including young boys.
Or do I go to Lattakia where some of the first protests came out, bravely though it is heavily packed with pro-Assads. Dozens of young children were brutally murdered during Ramadan, navy ships used to shell the land and the area remains under siege.
Or Idlib the land of the free Syrian army, the land of the free people, areas wiped out, homes demolished, but remains from the strongest areas till now.
Or do I go to Midan, Barzeh, Kafarsouseh and more who have been the bravest in their come out in Damascus a hot spot and a bigger danger than many.
Or the brave men and women of Aleppo, facing all danger and against all odds to support the revolution.
And with all these mentioned, the forgotten refugees in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan from Talkalakh, Lattakia, Jisr Alshughour and others..Fled as their neighborhoods were invaded, now living in freezing terrible conditions.
Do I speak about the mosques and churches that have been destroyed? Blown up? Churches and mosques have turned into field hospitals, because no patients can be taken to hospitals. I know a doctor who told me a patient was abducted while he was operating on the patient, he was still open, and he was taken and returned tortured to death 14 days later. I knew a doctor in a field hospital who was treating everyone he could, until one of the injured (for money) reported him and he now remains in an unknown prison somewhere.
Do I speak about the women? The free women of Syria who still go out in protest when they know the regime can abduct them, follow them, rape them, torture them and most easily use them as a weapon against their family to hand one of their wanted sons in.
How do you become wanted? Well firstly if you film peaceful protests, 2 young men in a week were tortured and returned dead with eyes pulled out as they were the main ones who filmed. You are also wanted if you are found to carry blood bags or tetanus injections. A medical worker told me these 2 are banned from all pharmacies and hospitals; he said the crime of being caught with medicines is bigger than being caught with arms or anything else. He explains to me regularly who he saves and what he sees, he told me a checkpoint shot at a lady holding a 2 year old boy at 10:30pm in the night, the woman fell injured as her toddler began walking away from her and she was sliding herself injured trying to get him down before he got shot. Thankfully the medical worker saved her live, and escaped unharmed from the scene.
The Red Crescent and anyone working and fulfilling their job are in danger and at risk. Hakam Sba’i is one example of a paramedic shot several times for saving lives. Red Crescent ambulances have been recovered with broken windows and shots through it. Saving a life is a crime. Simple.
Medicines are scarce in Homs with elderly and pregnant women suffering the most.
One of our workers on the ground said he went into a home and he could not walk, it was full of people, he was told that due to the shelling everyone was sharing, he said they were okay but there was no food. He said the sound of the children crying, everyone on top of one another, the smell, the over-crowdedness; he said it hurt to think this has become Syria.
And with all this I have not even spoken about the torture in Syrian prisons. I won’t describe it because I want you all to sleep well.
Seeing children around fires warming themselves, in our Syria? Because a man refuses to let go of his power?
Sending children to school is dangerous. Going to hospital is dangerous. Being at home is dangerous as the sniper shots are reaching inside and the shelling is random. Many children held signs saying how can I study in my school when my father was tortured in my classroom?
So now 10 months on, people have started to say, you need to let go, it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. Well no, whatever will suffer in my life, it is worth it for the sake of those INSIDE dying to live..Dying to be free..And we are their voice.
You can do a lot for Syria.
- Pray. Pray. Pray.
- Donate. Your money is vital as Syria has no media inside, no humanitarian organisations allowed inside so we all work tirelessly to get aid in..Sadly illegally. Whatever you donate, will be added to more money, so your £1.00 becomes £100.00 or £1000.00 and maybe it will save a life?
- Share videos, share news, raise awareness. If you make 1 person aware, and they make 1 person aware and so on, you’ve done a huge job.
But I end with one thing, Bashar and his men may have the strength? The men? The arms? They power? The brutality? The support of other countries? The money?…of course…but they are missing something we have, we have God by our side, 1 thing that keeps me going is whenever I open the sound and hear the shelling – strong shelling and the voice of the caller is shaking but he says “Allah ma3na Allah ma3na Allah m3na [God is with us]” – and I hear a surreal sound, takbeer from the mosques, you would think the shelling would be stronger or scarier, but what was shaking the skies and land and made me cry was the sound of takbeer from mosques in response.
We have God with us. And God does not leave the oppressed. And he does not ignore the cry of the widow. Or the tear of the orphan. Or the torture of a man. Or the starvation of a baby. God is with us.