Over the last five years, the Syrian establishment has grown more brutal. Those reforms that were foreseeable in 2011 now seem impossible. Corruption has reached unprecedented levels. The establishment’s values and propaganda have never been as exposed. And yet, my opposition to this regime has faded so much that I no longer know whether I’m learning to be pragmatic or if I’ve resigned myself, given up my former convictions, and, in the end, traded everything for temporary safety.
Abulkhair, father of the good. Image courtesy of the Syrian Civil Defense in Eastern Ghouta
Like any civil war, this one has divided the population and even shattered families. I’ve had relatives fighting on both sides of the conflict. Sometimes you’ll hear about siblings fighting on opposite sides. After years of division, it’s started to feel a lot more like ‘us’ versus ‘them’ — but who the “us” and “them” are can change from day to day. That explains how rebels in Eastern Ghouta can bombard Damascus, which today houses the majority of those who have fled Eastern Ghouta. It also explains the kind of retaliation on part of Damascus that sometimes doesn’t take into consideration that these people are still family.
“It’s hatred that threatens us all, not bombs or rockets. Tuesday’s Jerusalem attacks make this point very clearly. These attacks should be a wake-up call that no missile defense, gun control or counter-terrorism measures will protect us when hatred prevails. The thing about hatred is that you can’t overcome it by bombing your way out; that always backfires.”
“Today it doesn’t matter what vision you have for the future or what your declared principles are. It’s not enough to include minorities and women within the ranks of your party, nor is it reassuring to claim that you believe in democracy. It’s certainly irrelevant how good your relationship with the West is. What truly counts now is how good you are at managing and containing this very destructive war.”
A hard slab of what sounds like a bunch of metal plates slammed together, followed by a splash of shrapnel, shattered glass and wrecked stones hitting our walls and windows. Light-grey smoke fills the air — that’s roughly what a mortar landing is.Continue reading “Damascus Mortar Diary”
In 2010, I introduced an idea to bring in positive change to our community by empowering free speech. Shortly after that, the “Arab Spring” began and no one seemed to be interested anymore in long-term reformist approaches. At some point, I myself gave up on my own principle and never really carried out with that project. I don’t know whether it’s still possible to put it into action after all that we’ve been through, but I think it should be at least available to those who might be interested.Continue reading “It’s All about Peas”