The Ghouta, farms and orchards, of Damascus

The Ghouta burns. Digital image (variation) by© Alisar Iram

The Ghouta burns. Digital image by© Alisar Iram

This post which I am updating now, was published a few months ago. The situation in the Gouta has deteriorated gravely since then. Two million people used to live in the Eastern Ghouta of Damascus  Now only one million people are left to struggle harrowingly  and heroically for survival under ruthless constant mortar shelling and bombardment, with missiles randomly falling on villages and farms and creating a trail of human death and suffering while setting the crops and the orchards on fire. Those of the inhabitants who have not fled to seek safety in refugee camps, or are still on the road seeking shelter and food, have been punished and denied electricity for 8 months now because the deprived marginalized farmlands, towns and villages of the Eastern Ghouta  are part of the revolution. All services and essential amenities have been cut off and there is a severe shortage of food and clean water. Even when the basics are available, the prices are too high to afford. The inadequate medical centers and make shift hospitals have to be constructed by the civilians  underground because all medical facilities are main targets for the insane bombardment from the air. The death toll and the daily tragic suffering of the remaining population, as they watch their homes reduced to rubble  and debris cannot be described and defies understanding.


Beauty Dies.The Ghouta of Damascus burns. Digital image by© Alisar Iram

Beauty burns Digital image by© Alisar Iram

This is how Wikipedia describes the farms and orchards encircling Damascus: Ghouta (Arabic: غوطة دمشق‎ / ALA-LC: Ghūṭat Dimashq), is a collection of farms in Rif Dimashq close to the eastern part of Damascus,Syria. The Damascus Ghouta is a green agricultural belt surrounding the city of Damascus in the South and East. Separating the city from the Syrian Steppe, it has provided its inhabitants with a variety of cereals, vegetables and fruits for thousands of years. While human settlements in the area date back to ancient times, an uncontrolled development of the area took place throughout the past decades. The increasing food demand by the rapidly growing population of the capital, urbanization and industrial development have increased the pressure on the agricultural lands.

Almost none of the villages of rural Damascus has escaped the savage continuous bombardment of the  fighter jets, missile launchers and helicopter gunships of the Syrian army in its endeavor to crush the Syrian Revolution. The daily ground battles between the Free Syrian army and the regular army are adding to the devastation.

The kingdom of fire. © Alisar Iram

The kingdom of fire. © Alisar Iram

That which  was described throughout history by travelers , story tellers and literary sources as paradise on earth and celebrated in poetry and legends, has been fragmented and spoiled by industrialization and over exploitation of the water resources, in addition to the illegal irregular sprawling expansions.  What is left  is being ruthlessly destroyed now by the scorched earth policies of the regime.. I have written the short poem below and created the accompanying images in memoriam. 

The Death of a Tree

The apple trees burn in the blinding twilight

Hissing crackled songs of sacrilege

The cherries lay wasted in their bridal white,

Clusters of bombs blossoming atop their branches.

In the distance, a lone apricot tree stands shivering,

Skeletal plumes of wrongness creeping up its bark

and shrieking in delight

to see the sap alight,

Announcing the death of a tree.

Alisar Iram, December 2012

The Ghouta of Damascus burns ( variation). Digital image by© Alisar Iram

The Ghouta of Damascus burns ( variation). Digital image by© Alisar Iram

About alisariram

I am an artist, a writer and a researcher. I know Arabic and English . I am interested in music and art of every description. I like to describe myself as the embodiment of a harmonious marriage between two cultures which I value and treasure.
This entry was posted in Alisar's art, Alisar's notes and aerticles, Alisar's poems, Annihilation, Damascus, Images, Nature, Poems, Syria, The Ghouta of Damascus and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Ghouta, farms and orchards, of Damascus

  1. Pingback: The Ghouta, farms and orchards, of Damascus | alisariram

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s