sabaha al-khayr, ya suriyya! hadhihi sarhati!
Good Morning Syria! This is my cry!
You may wonder who I am, where I’m from; or why I’m writing to you, precisely to you. You may have many questions floating in your minds. You are right, and I promise that I won’t have you wait too long.
I’m a girl in her blooming age, as you are. The world wasn’t big enough for my dreams, dreams reaching as far as the clouds in the sky, allowing me to escape all my life difficulties.
I was a girl, I was happy.
Happy with my studies, happy with my house – little, but beautiful –, with my friends, with my brothers and sisters, with the kids in my street, the youth of my country. My country… ahin! ahin! (alas!). It is here that the story begins. The story of a young generation, of an entire community. The story of a wounded country, killed every day, every hour, every moment.
A tyrant has ruled us for the last forty years.
He shut our mouths, choked our breaths. He turned us into dogs, running after a drop of water or a chunk of bread. He took from us even the humblest of clothes, those needed to cover us from the cold. He consumed everything, both the fresh and the dry. With his power, he ruled the little and the big alike. By his merciless means, he tried to convince the world that he was just the right man at the right place.
I think that by now you’ve realized where I’m from.
I’m the daughter of beloved Syria, raped Syria, wounded Syria.
I’m writing to you from Syria – dear friends – to tell you about our sufferings, our pains, our poverty, and all the humiliations we experience daily because of an unfair and merciless government.
After the Great Dictator’s death, the power was taken over by his son, keeping it away from people’s hands once again. At the time, he was a 34 years-old eye doctor who had studied in England. It was not expected that he succeed after his father’s dead; his older brother should have, but he had died in an obscure car accident. He would have been worse than his father, showing even less mercy and having even more power. The Syrian people thank God for his death.
But once the people demanded more freedom, more independence, and better life conditions – just like it was happening in the other Arab states – the younger brother did not spare the country troubles, destruction, and death. In the city of Dar’a, in Syria’s south, kids inscribed walls with words they’d been hearing shouted in other Arab revolts, not understanding what they really meant (al-sha’bu yurid isqat al-nidham – “the people want the government’s falling”). Because of this they were tortured, their fathers and mothers were humiliated. Their nails were ripped off, their hands – the ones with which they had written – were broken. Their parents, asking for justice, received nothing back except for further humiliation and abuse.
And so the flames of revolt raged out. A revolution for freedom and dignity spread to all of the Syrian towns. The government’s reaction, that of the army and of the mercenary troops (al-shabbiha), was one of killing, destroying, and acting meanly in response to the people’s claims. Nobody was spared: the older ones, the younger ones, women, the elderly; everyone, with no distinction. Their instruments of death reached everywhere. Their tanks are now roaming the roads, destroying everything in their way.
We thought that such means would be used to protect the people against those foreign enemies occupying our richest and most precious lands. But to our disappointment these tanks, held inactive for years, have been directed towards innocent people. The same innocent people who approach their deaths calling in high, endless cries – cries that no-one will ever be able to silence.
Please forgive me for the length of my speech, but words are nothing compared with what’s happening now in our beloved, freedom-seeking country. Freedom we’ve so far paid with the highest of prices, that of our souls and of our younger ones’ lives.
Hopefully these cries of mine will reach directly to your hearts.
Don’t worry, I’ll be writing to you again.
You’ll hear from me soon,