Until next Summer

The neighborhood witnessed heavy shelling that day as the sounds of strong clashes went deeper and further into regime-controlled areas. It is the collective punishment whenever the regime is hit by the FSA, shelling the liberated areas.

We were sitting at an FSA checkpoint when a woman was standing at her door, looking after her young children playing outside ignoring the close heavy shelling and sounds of clashes.

Despite all attempts by our FSA guys trying to get her to go inside, she kept smiling at them and playing with her children.

I went to speak to her to try to convince her to go inside with her children, as shelling can hit our street any minute.

“Marhaba, don’t you think it is better if you and your children went inside until shelling goes down a bit?”

“Would you like to have a cup of coffee with me?” she replied

Inside her very small house, which smelled of burned wood, she made coffee from the small bag she keeps next to the stove, as there was no electricity, water or gas for months now, she made the coffee on a stove made of a tin container filled with little sticks of wood, she prepared it all gracefully and naturally within a minute.

She sat next to me with Sa’ed, one of her children on her lap. She picked up a plastic bag next to where we were sitting and got some fabric and dresses out. She showed me the red summer dress she’ve sewed for Qamar, her 3 years old daughter last month. She was so proud of it, and the dress was so beautiful!

“It is a bit bigger in size, cause by summer she will grow bigger. Children grow really fast”

We sat there for 30 minutes, speaking about everything, except for the war, we spoke about her divorce, sewing and drying the wood. We spoke about men and her children bed time, we spoke about the environment and trees, we spoke about how gorgeous Qamar will look in her red dress next summer.

The shelling and shooting was just the background, and the coffee was the main event, the main event of that hour.

Death is a possibility that passes by; it could be a car accident, a heart attack, cancer or well… a shell.  In wars, death is overrated…

We Syrians will never get used to death, we are gripping into life, strongly, so Qamar can wear her red summer dress and so our FSA guys few meters away can go back to their wives, lovers, universities and jobs.

"before the revolution, I had a spiky hair" an FSA fighter

“before the revolution, I had a spiky hair” an FSA fighter

You can “worry” as much as you want over the future of Syria, you can put it all in one cooking pot and tell all the world how scared you are… you can hide in your little corner at your warm house in the exile where you are safe so you can better worry about the future of Syria. But you have no right what so ever to steal the grip that Um Sa’ed has on life, don’t you dare tell her she needs to be scared over the future, don’t preach her on “secular” or “Islamic” state, don’t you cry in her name.

Um Sa’ed is there to live, keep your dirty hands off her beautiful dresses that she will make to Qamar for yet many summers to come.

For more summers yet to come

راجع الحمام

بتعرف شو يعني تنصاب بشظية وتنحمل لتتعالج هون؟ بتعرف شو يعني يكون المسكن خالص وتضطر تتحمل الوجع , تغمض عيونك بانتظار الوجع يخلص… للوقت يمر، إن بعد العسر يسرا، إن بعد العسر يسرا…

مشفى ميداني بحلب

مشفى ميداني بحلب

بتعرف شو يعني الجوع؟ الجوع لما ما يكون في مجال تاكل، تروح تدور على أكل ما تلاقي، تجمع الخبز اليابس من المزابل وتمسحهن وتبللهن بالمي لينبلعوا معك؟ بتعرف؟ لأ ما بتعرف، طالما أنت هون ما بتعرف، صدقني ما بتعرف.

هلأ شو بدي منك؟ ما بدي شي، بدي بس نوقف حكي شوي، بدياك توقف شوي وتسكت، تخرس… خلص!
لك لا تصير دفاعي ولا تدافع عن حالك، ليك أنا شخص عاطفي ما بيفهم بالسياسة والمصطلحات يلي عم يعلموكياعن برا بالسفارات، الآباء الروحيين يلي آكلين همنا وعم يرعوا مصالحنا بس لأنو بنعرف نمرق حالنا بالإنكليزي ومنعرف نحكي كلمتنين عين الله حولنا!
عم نحكي باسم الناس يلي عم تتوجع، هيك الواقع، لما تسب حالك قدام رفقاتك أنك طلعت وتحس بوجع ما بتفهم من وين لما تنام، هاد شي حقيقي، مو جلد للذات، لأنو نحنا موجودين هون بالمكان الخطأ أو الوقت الخطأ…

خايف من المخابرات؟ لك يلعن ربك ما في مخابرات فوق، في جيش حر يحميك، بلحية أو مع فودكا بس بيحميك.

ليك، الشغل مو برا ولك يا زلمة، لك مو برا… يلعن كلشي، خلينا ننزل، لك خلينا ننزل، نمسك بإيدو ليلي عم يتوجع ونحكيلوا عن الميترو بأوروبا وعن كيف لبس الشرطة بيضحك هون، خلينا ننزل وندور عن الخبز اليابس سوا، بركي بنلاقي خبز بلا شخاخ حمام، الحمام طار…. طار، الحمام طار، طار الحمام، حط الحمام، طار الحمام … راجع الحمام

موسم النزوح إلى الشمال

ثلاثة أشهر منذ خروجي من سوريا. منذ هروبي على الحدود السورية الأردنية, منذ اذلالي من قبل المخابرات الأردنية

في مطار عمّان.

ثلاثة أشهر من الهروب من الجو العام الذي لم أستطع احتماله أكثر.

ككثيرين, كنت مهددة بالاعتقال ومداعمة منزلي, ككثيرين, تمّت سرقة حساباتي حتى استرجاعهم بعد يومين.

ككثيرين, تم وضع اسمي تحت لائحة المطلوبين على الحدود السورية.

خرجت, لمدة ثلاثة أشهر, حتى قررت العودة.

عدت لمدة ١٢ يوما الى الشمال المحرر.

ذهبت الى جبال اللاذقية مدة ٣ أيام, ومن هناك إلى ادلب حيث مكثت في كفرنبل ٣ ايام ومدة ٤ ايام في سراقب.

قبل ذهابي تحدثت الى بعض المعارف الذين, يفترض, يعرفون شيئا ما عن المنطقة وهذه بعض الامثلة عما اخبروني به:

١- الوضع سيء جدا جدا وهناك دمار كثير وفقر كثير فعليك تهيئة نفسك جيدا.

٢-لا تذهبي ومعك معونات, لن تستطيعي سد الحاجة.

٣-هناك من يذهب لعرض العضلات, كوني حساسة لما تقولين, لا تعدي احد باي مساعدة ان لم تكوني جاهزة للوفي بالوعد.

٤-هناك مناطق تحت سيطرة “الاسلاميين” والجيش الحر, ستفاجئين بالفساد.

٥- ربما ستضطرين الى وضع الحجاب.

كفرنبل

كفرنبل

لا شيء مما ذكر اعلاه كان صحيحا, لا في جبال اللاذقية ولا في ادلب. الوضع سيء لكن من كان في الداخل لن بتفاجئ بحجم الدمار. جلب المعونات ضروري خصوصا ان كانت للاطفال. لا يوجد منطقة تحت سيطرة احد في جبال اللاذقية وادلب, لا سيطرة على شعب ثائر. لم اضطر الى وضع الحجاب ابدا. بل دخنت مع جيش حر واسلامي.

على كل سوري نزح الى الخارج النزوح الى الشمال ان استطاع فهناك عمل كثير ومن يذهب هم فقط المصورين والصحفيين, اي من يريد ان يستفيد ماديا فحسب, انتم سوريين, فاذهبوا ولا تسمعوا لاحد, الشعب هناك سيستقبلكم برحابة صدر وهم بحاجتك وانت بحاجتهم ايضا.

بالطبع هناك فقر ودمار, لكن هذا شيء نعرفة كسوريين ونعرف معناه جيدا, لا يوجد جوع في جبال اللاذقية وكفرنبل وسراقب, هناك عطالة عن العمل وظروف معيشية سيئة وصعوبة في الحصول على التدفئة ولا كهرباء والبنزين غال جدا, لكن الناس تعيش بطريقة ما, وطريقتهم بالصمود هذه هي تماما ما يغفله كثيرون, خصوصا السوريين.

مثلا, هناك من يصنع صوبيا من تنكة زيت ويجعلها مدفئة حطب.

طن الحطب سعره ١٨ الف ليرة سورية, في جبال اللاذقية يستطيع الناس الحصول على الحطب مجانا كون الاحراش بينهم, لكن حصول اهالي ادلب عليه مكلف لذلك هم يتسعيضون عنه بالمازوت.

تم تنظيم توزيع الخبز والبنزين في سراقب وكفرنبل.

هئية الاغاثة في كفرنبل تنظيمها ممتاز وكذلك عمل “الاسلاميين” في سراقب الذين ينظمون بيع الخبز والبنزين والمازوت دون فساد او محسوبيات, وهذا مقدر جدا من اهالي سراقب ومن قبل العلمانيين منهم.

خلال وجودي في جبال اللاذقية وكفرنبل سمعت كثيرا من المدح عن “الاسلاميين” وكثير من الذم عن الجيش الحر(استثني سراقب هنا كون اهلها يقدرون ويحترمون الجيش الحر والاسلاميين على حد سواء), رغم لقائي بكتائب من الجيش الحر الشرفاء والابطال حقا, والواعين للمرحلة المقبلة عليها سوريا.

فالاسلاميين, مثلا, معروفين بمحاربة السرقة والفساد, على عكس ما يقال عن الجيش الحر عامة, وهنا اود ان اوضح, انني عندما انقل هذا الحديث عن الجيش الحر فذلك بسبب وجود بعض الافراد المعروفين بتشكيل امبراطوريات من السلاح والمال والذين لا يقاتلون على الجبهات.

هناك عدة كتائب من الجيش الحر تقاتل على الجبهة لكنها غير مدعومة من السلاح والمال لانها تماما لا تريد ان تنتمي سياسيا لاحد سوى لاهل منطقتها.

ما يتداول في الاحاديث هو انه من السهل جدا ان تحصل على سلاح اذا بعت ولاءك, والعكس صحيح تماما ان لم تفعل.

فيبدو ان المشكلة هي في الولاء في الجيش الحر, وقد قابلت كتائب لا تزال تحصل على السلاح من مال العائلة. فهناك من باع ارضه وبقره ليشتري السلاح, وهناك من باع محله ليشتري السلاح.

ما يتم تداوله عن الجيش الحر ان بعض القادة (وليس كل القادة لان هناك قادة جميلون حقا ورائعون بطريقة غريبة) ترمي بشبابها الابطال الى الجبهات لتأتي هي و”تتبنى” العملية وتصنع مجدا على حساب الشباب المقاتلين الذين يستشهدون لبطولتهم.

ما فهتمته, وربما اكون على خطأ كوني مكثت ١٠ اياما فقط في هذه المناطق, هو ان الجيش الحر في هذه المناطق (جبال اللاذقية وكفرنبل) قد صبح هرميا, اي ان هناك بعض القادة الفاسدين وهناك عساكر وهم الابطال الحقيقيين المغيبين.

وما يجري اليوم هو انشقاق البعض من هؤلاء العساكر عن الجيش الحر, وعدد هؤلاء ليسوا بالقليل.

لا نستطيع تعميم هذا الحديث عن الجبش الحر ككل, كما لا نستطيع اسقاط ما يتداول كحقيقة او تعميمه على حلب وريف دمشق وحمص وغيرها من المدن.

ولا اعلم ان كان ما يتداول دقيقا, على ان اعيش في المنطقة لافهم هذه الاحاديث.

لكن هذا ما سمعت وهذا ما حُكي الي من قبل كثرين.

باختصار, زيارتي للشمال كانت ضرورية, فالحكي مو متل الشوف, وهناك عمل كثير كثير, الاطفال قد نسوا جداول الضرب والعمليات الحسابية كالطرح والجمع, الاطفال قد نسوا الحروف الابجدية, ويجب ان لا ننتظر سقوط الاسد كي نبدأ بعملية البناء, عملية البناء لم تبدأ بعد في الشمال المحرر بعد, وهنا تماما يأتي دورك.

أخيرا, خلال وجودي في الشمال فهمت انني نازحة أيضا. اضطررت للهروب, وضعي افضل حالا من كثيرين, لكنني نزحت عن بلدي, وها انا أخطط للعودة.

والله محيي الجيش الحر والكتائب الاسلامية!

عذرا على الاخطاء الاملائية والقواعدية, صرلي زمان ما كتبت عربي.

Photos from Northern Syria

Sharing photos from the North while writing posts on my short stay there.

Om Khaled preparing Tannour bread in Kafranbel. Residents of the North are accustomed to bake their own bread due to shortage of bread.

Om Khaled preparing Tannour bread in Kafranbel. Residents of the North are accustomed to bake their own bread due to shortage of bread.

Tannour break baked by Om Khaled in Kafranbel.

Tannour break baked by Om Khaled in Kafranbel.

Raed and Hammoud, activists from Kafranbel, are laughing from the bottom of their hearts at Pink Panther cartoon, while preparing for cartoon screening event  https://anonymouslyinsyria.wordpress.com/2013/01/03/pink-panther-under-shelling/

Raed and Hammoud, activists from Kafranbel, are laughing from the bottom of their hearts at Pink Panther cartoon, while preparing for cartoon screening event https://anonymouslyinsyria.wordpress.com/2013/01/03/pink-panther-under-shelling/

Latakia mountains.

Latakia mountains.

IMAG0075

From Latakia mountains to Idleb.

From Latakia mountains to Idleb.

Revolutionaries in Kafranbel used to ride this beauty while advocating for protests, also while escaping regime's army and thugs. It's reserved in Kafranbel to remind its residents of the history it carries.

Revolutionaries in Kafranbel used to ride this beauty while advocating for protests, also while escaping regime’s army and thugs. It’s reserved in Kafranbel to remind its residents of the history it carries.

That's how refugee kids warm themselves in the dark due to power cut and lack of fuel.

That’s how refugee kids warm themselves in the dark due to power cut and lack of fuel.

Raed Fares preparing Kafranbel famous banners.

Raed Fares preparing Kafranbel famous banners.

Taken by my friend (K). Kafranbel.

Taken by my friend (K). Kafranbel.

Wood used instead of expensive fuel in seek of warmth.

Wood used instead of expensive fuel in seek of warmth.

Handmade wood stove in Saraqeb, made by broke activists.

Handmade wood stove in Saraqeb, made by broke activists.

Cooking on diesel oil stove in Saraqeb.

Cooking on diesel oil stove in Saraqeb.

End of Journey

Leaving Syria tomorrow morning, spent four days in Saraqeb but due to power cut I could not charge my laptop and phone or connect to a descent internet connection. This is sad, that I have so much to tell you but can’t because of electricity. No power in Saraqeb in more than 2 weeks. I am now on the borders, power will cut in few minutes, I guess this blog is a good idea but isn’t realistic really. How is possible to blog with no electricity? how is it possible to blog if there is no internet in the first place? People here use satellite internet and it needs power to be used, also you need gas if you want to use a generator, and money here is becoming a big issue. So really, at the end of this journey I discovered that I really cannot even blog from liberated Northern Syria.

Fuck you, Assad, big time.

Image

First Saraqeb Graffiti in 2013, the design is my idea based on a photo taken in Aleppo of FSA fighter carrying guitar. Drawn by Saraqeb graffiti artists. 😉

Thank you all for the support, I’ll be back in the North in a month from now, see you all very soon!

Pink Panther Under Shelling

Yesterday after having lunch with Kafranbel media activists; with Raed Fares, Hammoud Jneid and Khaled Issa, me and my friend suggested that we screen cartoons to refugee children hosted by Kafranbel village (read about this amazing village here and here).

The activists felt discouraged: “children are not children here, they’re now accustomed on the language and the circumstances of war that made childhood a distant idea than a human phase.”

I insisted on trying: “I still watch cartoon until now, in fact, especially now that we’re living war conditions, I am sure kids or at least some, will be pleased.”

Despite Kafranbel activists’ discouragement, we agreed on preparing and screening silent cartoons on January 3rd (today), so we downloaded from the net Pink Panther, Pat and Mat (known as Zingo & Ringo in the Arab speaking countries) among other silent cartoons.

Today at 5 PM we went to a school filled with many refugee children and moved school chairs to the yard with the help of refugee young men. Kafranbel activists hanged with clothes pins a big white fabric to screen on the videos. Luckily for the refugee children, we’ve found a projector and speakers, borrowed a generator from Kafranbel media center and here we are, Pink Panther’s silly smile is in front of us in this dark, children’s clapping broke the shelling’s noise behind us (the shelling targetted Maarra located 10 Kilo from Kafranbel).

Pink Panther under shelling.

Pink Panther under shelling.

We screened a video after another but some of the children, especially those who fled Al-Maaraa asked us to screen videos on the Free Syrian Army and started clapping and chanting: “God save the Free Syrian Army!”

Preparing the screening.
Preparing the screening.

I was confused, I thought to myself: is it really true? Childhood no longer exists in Syria? That innocent childhood phase that I miss and long for when I am down?

We screened a short report on FSA that Kafranbel media activists filmed during battles, but we cut it and continued with the cartoons.

The screening lasted for almost an hour, we ended the screening due to the cold weather. We were approached by the children later on and us to screen “mouse and cat” next time. “You got it!” I said, “but no videos on revolution next time, OK?” I asked the children. “OK, and no Pink Panther next time please!”

We laughed, as long as the kids are demanding to watch cartoons, then I guess we still have hope, we still have hope that our humanity and our children’s childhood won’t be distorted for good.

This is the first time that such screening takes place in Kafranbel, and it won’t be the last for sure.

Fuck Western Media

I am home, I know that.

I am home and these are my people, my beautiful and amazing people. And I cannot express how I feel, I don’t understand how do western journalists write what they write about Northern Syria, I have been to Latakia mountains and now I am in Idleb, Kafranbel, will be staying here for few days then heading to Aleppo.

Every single person I meet, and I have met a lot, and I have met many Free Syrian Army battalions, and oh my God, they’re heroes, some of them are fucked in the head – well some want to act like macho men in front of me coz I am a woman- but they’re good people. They, the armed revolutionaries, want to go back to their lands, cows and olives farms, they’re good people.

I am overwhelmed. I am home and among amazing people who share with you inspiring stories with a big smile on their face. All I can do is look deep in their eyes and wish that someday I have the strength to become as firm as they are.

So my question to the western media who’re depicting this area as bunch of Salafists, Islamists and Qaeda: where the fuck are you getting your shit from? Why are you deliberately missing out on the people of Syria who have since day one lead this revolution and been through the shelling, besiege, detention..you know what, you don’t even know what each of these words mean, do you know what detention means? what shelling means? what the sound of airplane means as it’s flying over your village? Over your children’s heads? No electricity here at all in some areas, I am lucky to go around some activists’ places to check my mail and write this blog post, but families spend the hours on candles and warm their bodies with wood instead of gas – it’s very expensive to buy gas here.

Latakia mountains, December.

Latakia mountains, December.

There isn’t anyone here who hasn’t had at least one near-death experience. That in itself is just unbelievable.

As I said, I am overwhelmed by the people here and their stories. But I cannot forgive the journalists who’re coming here and missing out on life, love, hope and inspiration, and they go on reporting on hate, on black flags just so they can get ahead on their careers. Your career is ruining our revolution, our homes and our very future. Fuck you big time, dear journalist.

This blog will try as much as possible to report on how we, Syrians, see our own revolution.

You just wait and see.