We are the sad people

We are the tragic people

We carry our losses and stare

Our losses carry us and stare back


We are the sad people

The very sad people

With holes in our hearts

And holes in our memories

We walk into the valley of death

Into the hollow land

Hollowed out of our deathless ruin


We are the forgotten sad

Sad but without hearts

For our hearts

Have been given trophies

To a world without hearts

To help it shed a tear or two

Before, bright eyed,

It treads harshly on our severed hearts.


Between the heart and its pity

Between compassion and its mercy

Between the love and its tenderness

Between consciousness and its feelings

Falls the axe then it falls again


Between the cry and its destination

Between the tear and its grace

Between the tragedy and its catharsis

Between the cross and its redemption

Falls the axe then it falls again


Between pain and its healing

Between life and its salvation

Between despair and hope

Between the dark and the invocation of light

Between the prayer and its God

Strikes the axe and shrikes again


We are the sad the saddest people

We are the tragic people

The people of Aeschylus and Sophocles

The people forced into the valley of death

The people pushed into the valley of tears

The people awaiting the axe

To fall then fall again.

By Alisar Iram

Posted in Alisar Iram's poems, suffering, Syria, Syrian people, Thewhy, thewhy on-line newspaper, Tragedy | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

War rape: The forgotten pandemic sweeping Syria


A crime is committed twice if we choose to ignore it, or neglect reporting it and bringing it to the attention of the world.

This post was first published in January 2013 with references to three articles on rape by the media. Yesterday ( June 10, 2014),  I added the following note to the original post and decided to reblog.

Rape in Syria. Free all our women prisoners

The sexual assault on a young woman in Tahreer square has brought to my mind the sexual assaults and gang rapes of thousands of Syrian women outside Assad prisons as well as inside. Women and girls as young as two years were savagely raped and more often than not tortured, dismembered and burnt or disposed of in unknown graves in great numbers. Male children were also savagely assaulted like Hamza, even men.
But the rape of young women and girls inside the…

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We are the saddest people, we are the tragic people


We are the sad people

We are the sad people

I believe we have become the saddest people in the world. not only the saddest but the most tragic.

We are the sad people

We are the tragic people

We carry our losses and stare

Our losses carry us and stare back


We are the sad people 

The very sad people

With holes in our hearts

And holes in our memories 

We walk into the valley of death

Into the hollow land

Hollowed out of our deathless ruin


We are the forgotten sad

Sad but without hearts

For our hearts

Have been given trophies 

To a world without hearts

To help it shed a tear or two

Before, bright eyed,

It treads harshly on our severed hearts.


Between the heart and its pity

Between compassion and its mercy

Between the love and its tenderness

Between consciousness and its feelings

Falls the axe then it falls again


Between the cry and its destination

Between the tear and its grace

Between the tragedy and its catharsis

Between the cross and its redemption

Falls the axe then it falls again


Between pain and its healing

Between life and its salvation

Between despair and hope

Between the dark and the invocation of light

Between the prayer and its God

Strikes the axe and shrikes again


We are the sad the saddest people

We are the tragic people

The people of Aeschylus and Sophocles

The people forced into the valley of death

The people pushed into the valley of tears

The people awaiting the axe

To fall then fall again.

Alisar Iram

We are the tragic people

We are the tragic people


My comment on my poem on Facebook

When I wrote my poem, “We are the Saddest People “ last night “some of my friends, justifiably, were shocked at its “despairing” tone. They wondered how they could go on fighting against the regime with souls fraught with despair.  I became  confused because my poem according to me was about a terrible genocidal crime committed against the Syrian people. I was doing in words what Picasso did in the Guernica. It was an anguished cry against what was committed, or allowed to be committed, against the Syrians by a staring ambivalent world. For me it was not about despair. It was about assigning the role of the tragic victims to the Syrian people. But in order to console my friends I answered the comments from their point of view. Below are some of my answers:

“It is addressed to the world. the murderous callous ruthless world. I am sorry but they should know what is happening to the Syrians. A poet speaks with the conscience of humanity. You and I can have hope Youla because we are not walking in the valley of death.”

” I am expressing what the people without hope are feeling because they have no voices.We become their voices without losing our own.”

” In the midst of death there is life. In the midst of despair there is hope.In the midst of it all there are children who are still laughing.”

“WE reach the end of despair in order to kill despair.”

“Therese, my poem might be expressing despair, but at the end of the road the human spirit is at its mightiest.People who have become desperate have nothing to lose so they give their all. Victories are born of such feelings.”

©Alisar Iram

The Guernica

The Guernica



Posted in Alisar Iram's poems, Alisar Iram: art of ruins, Alisar Iram: articles and notes, Humanity, Humanity and human values, Syria, Syrian people, The world | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Damage to Syria’s cultural heritage (lists and maps); belated rescue attempts

In this post I shall concentrate on providing what I have collected of maps, statistics, graphs, information and links to sites recording damage to Syria’s heritage. I shall also refer to   International conferences held in order to assess the damage and draw plans to help preserve Syria’s antiquities against the impact of war, vandalization, looting and organized systematic trafficking. 

Cultural lossess in Syria in each governarate

Cultural lossess in Syria in each governarate

Initial Damage to Syrian Cultural heritage as compiled by The Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums in Damascus. Please note that this assessment might not have been able to cover the whole story as those parts of Syria under the rebels control might not be very accessible to DGAM: https://www.facebook.com/turath.athari.syria?hc_location=timeline


ScreenHunter_4458 Mar. 12 15.31 ScreenHunter_4459 Mar. 12 15.32 ScreenHunter_4460 Mar. 12 18.08ScreenHunter_4460 Mar. 12 18.08 ScreenHunter_4461 Mar. 12 18.09 ScreenHunter_4462 Mar. 12 18.09 ScreenHunter_4463 Mar. 12 18.10 ScreenHunter_4468 Mar. 12 18.13 ScreenHunter_4474 Mar. 12 18.19 ScreenHunter_4475 Mar. 12 18.20      

The Wikipedia lists the losses in general as follows in their link:


International and local efforts to save Syria’s cultural heritage

The International efforts, even several independent efforts to attempt saving Syria’s cultural heritage have met so far with two obstacles or in better words have achieved, in my opinion, modest successes for the following reasons:

1. The party attending the conferences is the Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums, a cultural institution funded and supervised  by the Syrian Government. All International efforts are directed through it. This is inadequate and a failure to address the realities of the situation. I have no information about  whether representatives of  the Syria Opposition working in the field are asked to attend the International conferences even in an unofficial capacity.

2. The Syrian NGOS for the protection of Syrian cultural heritage in the freed areas of Syria under different rebel authorities are not invited or contacted. They are the groups which can liaise with rebels and fighters, not to mention that they have been heroically trying to save what can be saved, in addition to exerting very valuable efforts in attempting to document, keep records, compile banks of archival images, documents, records  and videos.Under The Antiquities Department of The Council of the The Free Governarate of Aleppo,for instance, several attempts were made to protect important fragile objects and parts of important buildings.

3. Training in how to protect antiquities, heritage sites, artifacts and museum collections should be arranged when possible and offered to archaeological trainees living in the  freed areas.

Syrian Official and NGO or Facebook sites

Directorate General of Syrian antiquities and museums (official body) DGAM



Project with UNESCO


Archeology in Syria Network




 Protect Syrian Archaeology حماية الآثار السورية http://www.apsa2011.com/index.php/en/


Le patrimoine archéologique syrien en danger الآثار السورية في خطر

Aleppo Archaeology https://www.facebook.com/pages/Aleppo-Archaeology/459668177425042   Rescue the Old City of Aleppo https://www.facebook.com/rescue.aleppo

******  Aleppo NationalArchivehttps://www.facebook.com/pages/%D8%A3%D8%B1%D8%B4%D9%8A%D9%81-%D8%AD%D9%84%D8%A8-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%88%D8%B7%D9%86%D9%8A/403586466412482


  The Antiquities Department of The Council of the The Free Governate of Aleppo  شعبة الآثار _ مجلس محافظة حلب الحرة https://www.facebook.com/Department.Archaeology?fref=photo


‎توثيق آثار حمص المدمرة Documenting the Injured Archaeological Sites of Homs



 Eyes on Heritage



 International and heritage sites interested in Syria and Conferences held recently t0 discuss damage to Syria’s cultural heritage.

UN News Centre
 (in Spanish), Una ONG une a los sirios en la defensa de su patrimonio cultural único, in MSN, here: http://noticias.cl.msn.com/…/una-ong-une-a-los-sirios…
Blue Shield: International Committee of the Blue Shield (ICBS)
The Blue Shield conference in Rome next week – one of the themes is the destruction of Heritage in Syria and how to help (http://www.aur.edu/…/culture-threat-future-1954-hague…/).
Heritage for Peace
Posted in Aleppo, Alisar Iram: articles and notes, Directorate General of Syrian Museums and Antiquities, Lists of conferences to save Syria's antiquities, NGOS, Statistics and lists of cultural damage in Syria, Syria, Syria's cultural heritage, Syrian Archaeology and antiquities, Syrian Heritage, UNESCO, World Heritage Site | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The story of Father Paolo and the picturesque Deir Mar Mousa


By Alisar Iram

What has prompted me to revise this article and try to publish it is that there are rumours circulating about the murder of Father Paolo in the prisons of ISIS. They have surfaced again suddenly, months after his capture to describe the manner of his death at the hands of his captors. These rumours are not substantiated and lack evidence. But the fact that they are being fed to the media once more is a source of great worry and speculations. Needless to say the interest of the public in the fate of Father Paolo has been revived. I wish to know why, WHY, the Vatican seems to be completely silent on the subject and has never yet taken up the cause of Father Paolo and lobbied for his release.

Father Paolo

This is the story of a priest who fell in love with an ancient country and its people, a colorful country with amazing diversity and vitality, a country which watched the first steps of mankind towards civilization. One day on a visit to Syria, the Italian priest climbed high up a mountain and came across a fairy spot where heaven and earth seemed to meet and the intersection between the worlds rested for a moment in an old crumbling monastery, humble and ruined, yet rising like a fortress commanding the Kalamoun mountains around it and overlooking hills and mountains as old as time and a landscape where men walked thousands of years ago. The priest nearly fell to his death, and was injured, but he later recovered to dedicate thirty years of his life to the service of this sacred spot, rebuilding the monastery compound with the help of other good people. In his heart, he knew that God had many names and that all the names of God are equally holy and equally important. Thus began the spiritual journey and the indefatigable quest for the Holy Grail of love and understanding of the young priest whose course and destiny not even a Revolution followed by a war could alter or halt. When he heard God calling to him atop the hills of Kalamoun in that lonely glorious spot, he felt an unbreakable bond grow between him and the humble simple people in the rambling villages all around him, simple peaceful people who lived a life of semi poverty and worked terribly hard to raise their children and feed their families.

Deir Mar Mousa the Abyssinian

As time passed the young priest, the monastery and its little church, adorned with lovely old frescoes, the steep lofty hill where it stood and the panoramic vastness of the Kalamoun became one, indistinguishable from the earth and the spirit of Syria.

Deir Mar Mousa

I remember the first time I visited the Monastery of Mar Mousa Al-Habashi. My sister in law who sadly died of cancer was a lover of Deir Mar Musa. She told us so much about how special the place was that the family, myself among them, decided to accompany her. I shall never forget this trip to one of the most picturesque and atmospheric places in Syria. High up the mountains, we climbed and climbed until we reached the rustic simple monastery which also looked like a natural fortress, rising out of the living rock. I stood still, spellbound by the beauty and the holiness of the place. I gazed at the mighty steep rocks creating a landscape of ancient power and loveliness. In the modest church, I let my eyes wander caressingly as they lingered over the old frescoes which were still being restored and I delighted in them, in their ancientness and in their devotional spirit. Tears streamed down my face because that was Syria too, a great and immortal Syria.

The beautiful frescoes of Mar Mousa

At the very heart of this living archaeological sacredness lived a holy man, brother to the stars, Father Paolo. His spirit filled the sacred place with the beauty of his longing and love. Yes, there lived Father Paolo, a man both Christ and Mohammad would have loved and honoured.

I had visited many great churches, cathedrals and monasteries all over the world, lavishly decorated and constructed, mighty in their splendour, but the church of Mar Mousa, rock-ringed and held in the arms of the mountain, lit by gentle shafts of sunlight in the morning and in the evening the moon, with its congregation kneeling or sitting on the carpets like in a mosque, while all around slumbered the images of Christ, the Virgin Mary and the saints in their halos along the walls and under the simple arches, awakened only by the desire to tell their stories – that rocky solitary church and its frescoes spelled to me the kind of beauty and hushed richness that only the soul can dwell on and recollect as a moment lost in time but found in a memory that does not die.

Father Paolo Dall'Oglio

I do not know beyond the shadow of doubt whether Father Paolo was kidnapped by Al Qaida affiliates (ISIS), the State of Iraq and the Levant, or by agents of the regime collaborating with Al-Qaeda during his mission of peace in order to free some Syrian prisoners, although the first possibility has now become almost certain; we do not know whether he is dead or alive because we have no evidence of either. Rumours are rife and reports of every kind are choking the Net. In the beginning, we were advised to be discreet about his disappearance in order not to jeopardize his chances. But I was among those who thought that too much discretion might convince the kidnappers that he was expendable.

All I know is that Father Paolo made the Syrians his family, therefore we, who love him, have made him a part of our family too. We are responsible for him. Weeks ago, I posted this plea on Facebook to the kidnappers, asking for the release of Father Paolo:

We, the Syrians, would like you to know that Father Paolo was and still is in our hearts. He is our Father Paolo, our brother, our son and shepherd. We loved the devout learned man of God and we loved his love for us, for our land, for our mountains. We loved his gentleness and his moral integrity. We loved that he lived like the poor and loved the poor. Release our Father Paolo. You are responsible for his life because he came to you as a messenger of peace in order to beseech you to release the innocent citizen prisoners captured by your soldiers. He went to you with nothing but his trust and faith in your generous response. Where are the Arab code of honour and the laws of hospitality which oblige you to return him safe and unharmed? Father Paolo is honoured by all of us, Muslims and Christians, alike.

At Deir Mar Mousa

Perhaps, it would be apt at this stage of the narrative to let the facts, as related by Wikipedia, to take over and give a short biography of Father Paolo.

Father Paolo Dall’Oglio (born November 17, 1954) is an Italian Jesuit priest and peace activist. He was exiled from Syria by the government of Bashar al-Assad in 2012 for meeting with members of the opposition and criticizing the actions of the al-Assad regime during the Syrian civil war.

Father Paolo Dall'Oglio

Before his exile, he had served for three decades at the Deir Mar Musa, a 6th-century monastery 80 kilometres (50 mi) north of Damascus. He has been credited with the reconstruction of the Mar Musa complex and its reinvention as a centre of interfaith dialogue.

In 1975, Paolo Dall’Oglio joined the Jesuit order. He spent his novitiate in Italy before starting university studies of Arabic language and Islamic studies in Beirut, Lebanon, and Damascus, Syria.

In 1982, he explored the ruins of the old Syriac Monastery of Saint Moses the Abyssinian (Deir Mar Musa) that can be traced back to the 6th century and had been abandoned since the 19th century.

In 1984, Dall’Oglio was ordained priest in the Syriac Catholic rite. In the same year, he obtained a degree in Arabic language and Islamic studies from Naples EasternUniversity “L’Orientale” and in Catholic theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University.

In 1986, he obtained another master degree in Missiology from the Pontifical Gregorian University.

In 1989, he obtained a PhD degree from the Pontifical Gregorian University. He wrote his doctoral dissertation on the topic “About Hope in Islam”.

In 1992, he established the mixed monastic and ecumenical Community al-Khalil (“the Friend of God” – Biblical and Qu’ranic byname of the patriarch Abraham in Arabic language), dedicated to Muslim-Christian dialogue and located firstly in the refurbished Deir Mar Musa.

In 2009, Dall’Oglio obtained the double honorary doctorate of the Université catholique de Louvain and the KU Leuven.

Role in the Syrian civil war

In 2011, Paolo Dall’Oglio wrote an article pleading for a peaceful democratic transition in Syria, based on what he called “consensual democracy”. He also met with opposition activists and participated in the funeral service for the 28-year-old Christian filmmaker Basel Shahade, who had been murdered in Homs.

The Syrian government reacted sharply and issued an expulsion order. Paolo Dall’Oglio ignored the order for a couple of months and continued living in Syria. However, following the publication of an open letter to UN special envoy Kofi Annan in May 2012, he obeyed his bishop who urged him to leave the country. He left Syria on 12 June 2012 and joined in exile the newly established Deir Maryam al-Adhra of his community in Sulaymaniyah, Iraqi Kurdistan.

In December 2012, Paolo Dall’Oglio was awarded the Peace Prize of the Italian region of Lombardy that is dedicated to persons having done extraordinary work in the field of peace building.

In late July 2013 Paolo Dall’Oglio entered rebel held territory in eastern Syria but was soon kidnapped by the militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, while walking in Raqqa on 29 July Opposition sources from Raqqa said that Paolo Dall’Oglio has been executed by the extremist group. The claims are not yet confirmed.Wikipedia.


Father Paolo believed passionately in furthering and enhancing inter-religious dialogues. His knowledge of Christianity and Islam revealed to him where they met, even fused, therefore he shunned the clash between Islam and Christianity in favour of a peaceful constructive and enriching discourse on the intellectual level and on the level of sharing and participating in a simple inter-communal activities. Father Paolo, from his vantage point, atop the hills of Kalamoun commanding the geological landscape around him, felt the spot to be also commanding the religious landscape of Syria. I listened to his video (Clikck to watch) with great interest. He understood the religious pluralism of Syria, Christian pluralism and Islamic pluralism. He found in them richness where others found danger and sources of conflict. Syria’s Christianity, dating back to the Disciples of Christ, not only travelled west but east as well. Very early in the history of Christianity, Syriac Christianity travelled as far as India and established a church known as the Malabar Syriac (Syrian) Church which is still thriving today. With the wandering Aramaean Syriacs also travelled, along the Silk Road, the Aramaean language and the Aramaean Syriac script and writing which influenced the scripts of central Asia, even Sanskrit. Perhaps it is apt to remind ourselves here that Aramaean, the langue Christ spoke, remained the lingua Franca of the Persian Empire until the Arab Conquest in the 7th century.

Father Paolo in his video also spoke about the confluence and flow of divers religious streams covering the vast geographical expanse from India to Egypt. He presented the idea of four main religious valleys: the Indo valley, the Mesopotamian valley, the Syrio-Mediterranean Valley and the Egyptian Valley, which he valued, celebrated and perceived in their historical context. In view of all these historical and geographical factors he understood, like few people did or have done, the terrible danger political despotism and tyranny posed because of their inevitable role in creating political polarization which by necessity and the logic of the accelerating events would lead to sectarian polarization and the undoing, because of its unprecedented violence, the undoing of what he called good neighbourhood  i.e., coexistence and tolerance, dating back to 5 thousand years of civilization and older than both Christianity and Islam.

Deir Mar Muosa and Father Paolo: Restoration

The Kalamoun mountains, which cradle Deir Mar Mousa, presents to the visitor a riddle of ancient rock formations, hanging crags and boulders sculpted against the vastness of heaven in the majesty of times immemorial. The artist in me dwelt on the fantastic shapes of the rocks until my fascination seemed to give me the ability to read in the towering peaks and precipices haunting tales of geology interacting with man, as if they were keeping earth and rock records of his passing.

Mar Mousa; Majesty of the rocks

Father Paolo began the rebuilding of the monastery in 1982.  In 1984, restoration work started through a common initiative of the Syrian State, the local Church, and a group of Arab and European volunteers. The restoration of the monastery building was completed in 1994 through the cooperation of the Italian and Syrian States. An Italian and Syrian school for restoration of frescoes was created at Deir Mar Musa and was entrusted to complete the work in the context of Syrian European cooperation.

Mar Musa frescoes

Robert Mason of the Royal Ontario Museum who also works at the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations of the University of Toronto got involved in Deir Mar Muosa and in the restoration works. Being an archaeologist and true to his profession, he began to explore the desert surrounding the Monastery and the Kalamoun hills. A mystery city seemed to lie underneath Syria’s deserts, one older than the pyramids.  In 2009, tombs and rock formations suggested to him: “What it looked like was a landscape for the dead and not for the living,”…“It’s something that needs more work and I don’t know if that’s ever going to happen”. Fragments of stone tools, stone circles and lines on the ground led him to liken the formations to “Syria’s Stonehenge.” The experts think that the finds may date back to the Neolithic Period or early Bronze Age, 6,000 to 10,000 years.

Mar Mousa frescoes, Gabriel on the right

History of Deir Mar Mousa

The first reference to the foundation is in a manuscript dated 586 CE that is now in the British Library in London. It is thought that by this time the community was already a thriving Laura in which the monks live in cave-hermitages and return to the monastery in order to pray together. The monastic buildings themselves provide evidence of occupation in subsequent periods. The church itself is typical of the basilical form of the 5th to 6th century, as are motifs carved into the stonework of the church. A period of prosperity in the 11th to 13th centuries is indicated by the renovation of the church in 1058 CE followed by no less than four different levels of frescoes, with the last bearing an inscription dating it to 1192 CE. However it is not until the 15th century CE that there are significant finds of ceramics to give a more thorough understanding of the continuity of occupation of the site, and even this is due to the abandonment of certain rooms, and so represents the beginning of the decline of the monastery. The monastery is certainly known to have been completely abandoned by 1831 CEOfficial Deir Mar Musa al-Habashi Website.

Mar Mousa frescoes

The church of the historical monastery was built in 1058 AD. Thus far, three layers of frescoes have been revealed. The first layer is from the middle of the eleventh century AD, the second is from the end of the eleventh century, and the third is from the end of the twelfth or beginning of the thirteenth century. According to accounts, the monastery was first mentioned in the 6th century which does not mean that it might not have existed before. The frescoes are dated mid eleventh century to the beginning of the 23 century. It is important for me to get the dates right because as a researcher in Arab Islamic art, the art of Christian Syria is of paramount importance to the beginning of Arab art, in particular the art of illumination and miniature painting: the art of manuscripts.

The Frescoes of Mar Musa

Wikipedia offers a full description of the frescoes, their cycles, their themes and the stories they depict. I have chosen a part of the description of the first cycle:

The images of the most recent layer are fairly complete, and comprise two well-integrated iconographic cycles. The first and larger cycle focuses on the dimension of sacred history. The second, in the sanctuary, represents the Mystery of the eternal and present Instant.

The first cycle begins with the image of the Annunciation. Gabriel stands on the north side and the Virgin Mary stands on the south side of the east window; the Emmanuel, the infant Jesus, the sun of justice, rises above…

Mar Mousa frescoes


I consider the frescoes of Mar Musa as unique not only in the history of Christian art in Syria but in the history of Christian art as a whole. The first fresco paintings in the Christian era in Europe date back to the late Medieval period and early Renaissance (mid 13th century), while the first cycle of the frescoes of Mar Musa were created about mid eleventh century. The frescoes of Mar Mousa seem to me like enlarged miniatures because the relationship between them and the art of manuscript painting cannot be mistaken or ignored. I am not going now to further dwell on the subject because the scope of this article does not permit such a study. But I would like to end with a quotation from an essay I wrote on the relationship between the rise of Arab art and Western art, as exemplified in the art of manuscripts during the Middle Ages:

The art of manuscript illumination was known to most civilizations of the ancient world, like Egypt, the Roman Empire, Persia, China, and India. This art did not grow in total isolation, geographically speaking, because techniques and influences travelled along the Silk Road and along the locations of contact between East and West in later periods.  It was also practiced in the Hellenic world, under the Byzantines, reaching great heights of sophistication and splendour under Islam and in Europe. Islam and Europe share a significant common heritage in this respect because they both inherited the classical world.  The artistic traditions and influences of Hellenism (incorporating Roman, Greek, Egyptian, Mesopotamian and Persian elements) and that of the Byzantine world played a role that cannot be overestimated in creating the Islamic and the Western schools of illumination, including  miniature art, in other words painting

Mar Musa frescoes

More links:http://www.thewhy.com/deir-mar-mousa-story-father-paolo-dalloglio-picturesque-deir-mar-mousa/

Father Paolo Dall’Oglio: “Please Take Care of Syria”

Father Paolo’s speech to Syrians (In Arabic)

Interview with Father Paolo Dall’oglio – (Arabic with English Subtitles)

Seminar with Father Paolo Dall’oglio

Please also see my original article in this blog:


Posted in Activism, Alisar Iram: articles and notes, Appeal, Deir Mar Musa, Father Paolo Dall’Oglio, ISIS, Syria, Syria's cultural heritage, Syrian people, Syrian regime, Syrian Revolution | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Road to Damascus الطريق الى دمشق


The Road to Damascus الطريق الى دمشق.

The Road to Damascus: glass sculpture by Alisar Iram الطريق الى دمشق

My love for ceramics and my experiments with glazes opened the way for me to the world of glass. Its advantage over glazed pottery lies in its transparency and the alchemy of light it becomes a vehicle to. A glazed pot is covered with a thin layer of glass which at high temperature fuses completely with the clay as it becomes vitreous like in the case of Porcelain. Glass sculptures are three dimensional as well, but light adds another dimension to them, that of the magic of transparent luminosity.

Making a glass sculpture, I usually began with clay, forming the shape.That was followed by making a plaster and flint mould around the clay template, then gouging the clay out in order to…

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Published in The Why

Can life spring out of death, can history be reborn out of its ashes, and can heritage be restored? Can a city reduced to debris and melted concrete rise again? Can archaeology exist without archaeology because it has either been looted, bulldozed or annihilated? Never the less, newly devised archaeological sites, masterpieces of devastation caused by relentless bombardment by every known weapon, except the nuclear, are being created under our very own eyes, and will be created as long as the war goes on, as an indictment to our ambivalence and ethical disintegration. There are miles and miles of them: horrific skeletons of the annihilated Syrian cities and towns. Yet I ask: are the old cities of Aleppo and Homs going to be rebuilt in the future as edifices made of the infamous concrete of which our memories have retained and will retain the most nightmarish images of a substance widely used throughout the world, yet destined to natural disintegration and degradation, even without disasters or wars?

Destruction in Homs

The disintegration of concrete upon impact to piercing skeletons of rubble heaped upon rubble has become the bane of Syria now and it will be in the future. I am thinking of Old Aleppo crafted out of dressed stone and of Old Homs crafted out of basalt and white stone I am also thinking of the old walls, gates, hammams, souks and houses, of the traditional styles of building, of crafts handed down in uninterrupted chains of durability and of memories of lives stored in houses and quarters hundreds of years old. Is the living history of the ancient cities, towns and villages of Syria, annihilated by the massive brutal power of the war machines which are being wielded mindlessly by the killers of man and civilization, is this history to disappear without a trace so that the archaeologists of the future will find only horrendous featureless mounds of debris and rubble? What earth moving equipment, what diggers, winches and gigantic cranes will be able to lift the debris and dispose of it. Dispose of it, how and where?


I am having something akin to metal fatigue. Call it spiritual fatigue if you wish, but my own edifice is falling apart as I sink into the quagmire of destruction in order to document our historical and heritage losses, while at the same time invoking them as they were and giving them life in order to resurrect them and offer my readers a glimpse of their past bustling richness and vitality. Yes, I have been doing this since the terrible annihilation started and I have been publishing all in my blog. Although, it is required to maintain a certain measure of detachment and objectivity when attempting to document and compile records of destruction to historical monuments, nothing approaching that kind of neutrality is fitting for me. I am an artist and a writer recording the destruction of my people’s heritage. I am involved and it is with this involvement that I shall mourn the beauty of pattern, form and well-wrought stone, marble and wood, the intricacy of ornament and well designed arch, facade and courtyard. In the beginning I mourned the people and their children. Now I mourn what they have created over thousands of years.

Weeping Concrete

The dehumanization, depopulation, destructuring, detexturing, and most of all the decivilization of Syria, is taking place under the very eyes of either a silent, indifferent, uncaring world, or it may be, a calculating, scheming world that measures its reactions and actions by self interest, geopolitical ambitions and plain undiluted egoism. Syria is being decivilized to the extent that its history of civilization stands in the gravest peril of writing some of the bitterest and most tragic chapters it has ever written,” I wrote not a very long time ago. A Whole stratum of the layers of civilizations that Syria has played host to is being systematically insanely removed, i.e. that of Arab Islamic civilization, in addition to the modern and contemporary urbanization. Once all traces of this top layer of the civilizations of Syria is removed with all its landmarks and cultural edifices, some of them surviving monuments of older civilizations; once a state of uprootedness is meticulously and thoroughly accomplished in a waste land of debris and rubble, the Syrian regime, if it survives, will start rebuilding its brave new world with the help of the Russians and with the help of the Iranians, as it has already planned and is planning.


Madina Souk Aleppo

The Russian architects will step in and continue the tradition of ugly tasteless blocks of perishable concrete that was started during the reign of Assad the father. Only this time, the opportunity is limitless. And Syria will have its mini Russia of jungles of concrete, springing over the graveyards of the Syrian cities, towns and villages, while the Iranians who cannot boast one decent original great contemporary monument will drown Syria in cheap, fake Safavid decadent glory, thus adding a veneer of historical kitsch to the jungles of concrete. A new generation of contractors and war opportunists will come into being, forming the army of manipulators and designers of this brave new world. The question is whether the homeless, penniless poor of Syria who lost their traditional homes or their slums will have a place in this brave new world?


Therefore, before the axe of rebuilding falls, creating the promised land of urban featureless soulless jungles of cement and concrete; or before you get used to the annihilated monuments and cities of Syria, forming permanent desolate wildernesses, let me once more dwell on the horrors and disasters of concrete, dead and alive, its imperishable perishability and mutability. In this context, I would like to quote the following extract from Alice Freidemann:

Why try to rebuild our infrastructure and create vastly more greenhouse gases? Cement is the third largest source of CO2 after autos and coal-fueled power plants. Large amounts of energy are required to produce cement, around 450 grams of coal per 900 grams of cement produced, according to the World Coal Association. Limestone is heated with fossil fuels up to 2,642 degrees Fahrenheit and causes 7% of global carbon dioxide emissions per year… A wasteland. There will be absurd amounts of concrete rubble — what the hell are people in the future going to do with 300 billion tons of concrete? Build sheep fences?


The writer was not thinking of wars, bombardment, shelling and Scud missiles, unleashed on concrete and stone alike. It did not occur to her that it is not time alone that renders concrete into disaster areas of melting, weeping, fluid hideousness and indispensable rubbish. Had the writer seen the shredded, torn rivers of concrete that were the Syrian cities, she would have dedicated her life to writing nothing but that which preaches the dark hidden evils of concrete. I am not an expert, but I think recycling the debris of concrete will only be a recipe for great many disasters to come.


Credit: Images are shot by Syrian activists.

Alisar Iram

Posted in Aleppo, Alisar's notes and articles, Annihilation, Concrete, Concrete rubble, Destruction, Homs, Syria, Syria's cultural heritage, Syrian regime, Syrian Revolution | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


Flash back: Homs revisited lest we forget how the Syrian regime destroyed Baba Amr, thus changing the course of the Revolution

On my Hello page to my blog, I had mentioned that I would be travelling back in time to various important landmarks in the Revolution in order to recollect, recapture and hold a mirror to what is history now. I do this lest we forget or stop seeing the truth while the present events on the ground in Syria become more unpredictable and subject to the superficial interpretations of geopolitics, and as foreign elements embed themselves in the Revolution without necessarily embracing its vision and principles. Sometimes the present can unfairly change the past, thus altering the truth. Homs, especially Baba Amr, hangs like the albatross around my neck; therefore I cannot attain peace until I have paid my debt to Baba Amr. As death hovers over the Syrian cities and yet more annihilation is in the offing for the Syrian people, as Deir Ezzor, Darayya, Douma, Daraa, Idlib, Aleppo and others burn or are reduced to rabble, I would like to take us back to Baba Amr which has became a kind of prototype for the regime to repeat and elaborate in many subsequent towns and cities… Now many cities, towns and villages in Syria have been crushed and destroyed by bombardment, by fire and the relentless attacks of the air force and the missiles of the Syrian army, the army which instead of defending the country became under Bashar Al-Assad the means of destroying it mercilessly. The destruction of the neighbourhood of Baba Amr in Homs, indeed its annihilation, ushered in the gradual death of the city of Homs, and the incessant obliteration of more cities to come with the same relentless, sinister thoroughness: people, infrastructure, hospitals and all medical services, history, heritage and the means of supporting life.

At the end of March 2012, devastated by the annihilation of Baba Amr, I wrote:

“Homs is our nemesis and catharsis. We shall never emerge to the other side of things and look up to behold ourselves as a free people unless we go through Homs. The road to Homs is where we started and where we shall end but changed and resurrected. If we want the soul to return to Homs, let us with word, song, and image recreate its immortal spirit and look to see its youth drunk with intimations of freedom, dance in its streets and chant their dreams for a good world to come. Yes, there was a time when freedom appeared to the Syrian people in all its glory, when they followed ecstatically with visions of the ideal city firing their yearnings and hopes. It was the best of times for Homs and for All the revolting cities soon to be followed by the worst of times when the Syrian regime leashed out to destroy the dream, the dancing chanting youths and the sacred vision of that what their souls valued more than their lives. O, there was a time when Homs laughed and made the world laugh. Maybe it is now a waste land where the jackals roam and all that is primitive in man takes over in the fight for survival, yet if all the Syrians give Homs a soul of their souls and a beating heart of their hearts, we might yet see the fallen city rise, rebuilt, repopulated, reinstated. Homs shall not die.  We shall find it, we shall.”

Map of Homs showing Baba Amr neighbourhood

Extracts from chronicles kept by me between February and May, 2012, documenting my comments, feelings and responses to the Siege of Baba Amr in Homs, Syria.

5 February, 2012 – The death of children

The death of children under the rubble of their shelled and bombed homes in Homs brings Shakespeare and the death of Hamlet to my mind. When the tongue fails to express the terror one feels in the presence of death, especially the death of those too young to die, we take refuge in the great literature of the world and words written hundreds of years ago begin to echo in our souls like forgotten, but ever present, truths:

Now cracks a noble heart. Good night sweet prince:
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!

This is against God, against nature and against life. Sleep in peace little ones, your mother, the earth of Syria calls. Sleep in peace sweet children, may a flight of angels usher you to the immortal gardens.

6 February, 2012 – Homs the epicentre of world politics.

The world is fighting the complexities of its geopolitics in Syria, mainly in the streets of Homs: Russia will fight to keep its influence in Syria until the last Syrian; China tailing Russia will fight till Syria is made after its own image, a big prison; Latin America will fight its ideological skirmishes over the ruins of Homs; The West will fight the hegemony of Russia astride the scorched earth of Syria; and somewhere in space the aliens are fighting to vanquish earth starting with Homs.

As flies to wanton boys are we to th’ gods,
They kill us for their sport.


9 February, 2012 – Perish the day.

Even the spiders, the snakes, the hyenas and the vultures have hovels, caves and nests to protect them from the cruelty of the forces of nature, but the people of Baba Amr have no cave, no hovel, no hole to shelter in from the wrath of their own army and the insanity of a doctor turned a serial killer. They are poor and their normal life is full of hardships, but these people are the descendants of those who built a civilization on top of a civilization and rocked the cradles of humanity. All they wanted was their share of dignity and a decent life; all they dreamed about was to breathe the air without fear or humiliation. Now they lie dead, torn and desecrated, their destiny trampled under the feet of the beasts of the night, their sweet chants for freedom usurped to blaspheme on the foul lips of the Shbiha. I see the beast inheriting the earth and I say perish the day.

 10 February, 2012 – In Hama (Near Homs).

In Hama the freedom and mourning chants are rising even now, pure and crystal clear, soaring high to high heaven to embrace eternity, as if thousands of larks are filling the skies with intimations of a future where children can walk safely and play their childish games. I do not think but that the stones will cry listening to these songs of the earth. Listen, listen everybody to Hama giving Homs voices of its voices, flesh of its flesh, courage of it s courage. Those people who are singing are staring at their deaths in the face. I think death itself is singing with them now, forgetting for a while that it is terrible gruesome death.

11 February, 2012 – Baba Amr.

When the infamous Assad’s invasions have stopped to desecrate the earth of Syria, we shall go into pilgrimage to the shrine of Baba Amr with candles and garlands of flowers and say: here rests the best of the Syrians

Baba Amr Dying

14 February, 2012 – The people in Baba Amr.

The people of Baba Amr are in need of urgent medical supplies and food. Children especially, are suffering most. They are shell-shocked, dazed, disoriented, terrified and lost. They are starving and psychologically damaged. Violent deaths, corpses and mutilated bodies are all around them and many are orphaned. Perhaps, some families outside the disaster areas can host those most in need and look after them until the immediate danger is lifted.

15 February, 2012 – Parliament of Compassion.

We need a parliament of compassion and conscience to have its rightful place in deciding the fate of the globe. I do not feel so lonely now communicating with you. The bloodshed in Syria will only be laid to rest and cease to scream for atonement when mercy prevails.

16 February, 2012 – It is the meek who inherit the world.

Simplicity is attained at the end of the world, not at its beginning. To become child-like is to attain wisdom. I can only love simple people whose hearts echo the beating heart of the universe. I have never set eyes on you but I value you my friend. You, like me, are trying to guard something rare and universal in this Revolution of mostly simple humble people. Let us remember it for always.

17 February, 2012.

The worst that can happen to us is to get used to death and stop raging against death.

17 February, 2012 – Dying for a cause.

Yes, it is heroic to die for a cause, provided those who die do have a choice and want to pay the price. What did the children do to die such horrible deaths? The regime has sinned against them and we are sinning against them too by not making special arrangements to protect them.

17 February, 2012 – Violence.

I understand that, but many people now are exploiting the revolution for their own agendas. They are introducing into it a strain of unnecessary mindless violence. Violence begets violence. I heard on the news that beheadings are taking place. Many of us believe or have believed that we are better and more humane than the regime’s thugs. Summery improvised justice is not what we want or approve of. We must try very hard to protect the innocent civilians from being caught up in the traps of violence. The greatest responsibility for the violence lies with the government, but part of it is ours.

The plight of the children

18 February, 2012 – The plight of the children.

Look at the faces of these children! For days now I have been trying to draw attention to the plight of the children of Syria in conflict areas, like Homs. Only one person commented. Why? Aren’t the children of Syria important enough to attract the attention of the activists? These children are the future of Syria. The writer is describing the sufferings of a 2-year-old child. He said that the shelling and explosions in Insha’at, Homs, made her scream in fear in the first few days, then she started to cry silently, the tears streaming down her face, only later to start laughing hysterically whenever there was an explosion. Her family looked at her in fear believing she had lost her mind. Her father could not bear it so he slapped her on the face to make her cry loudly once more and restore her to normality. This story broke my heart. Doesn’t it break yours?

22 February, 2012 – There is something terribly wrong.

There is something terribly wrong here. The death of all these children is weighing too heavily on my spirit and conscience. There is something I should be doing, which I am not doing. There is no excuse for me. I am to blame. I haven’t tried enough. I gave up too easily like thousands of others and acquiesced to merely playing the role of the observer. I look at my hands and see them dripping with blood. I go to bed at night and wake up hearing maternal lamentation and the screams of millions of children and say to myself: but they are not as many as that, surely not, certainly not. Yet the relentless terrible feeling that somehow, by perhaps, some disjointedness in time and space, I have become an accomplice to the murderer, a partner in the crime, persists and haunts my days and nights like a curse. Is this World War II come alive? Is this the blitz? But where is the enemy and who is the enemy? By the power invested in it as the defender of its people, the Republic of Syria has decided to slaughter them and their children.

Marie Colven

22 February, 2012 – Marie Colven.

“When this child died, our souls died and we turned cold with horror like no horror.” Marie Colven watched him die and despaired. I cannot but feel that the child called and she followed him devastated by pity and the desire to atone for our failings. Marie Colven may you rest in peace, we shall remember you.

25 February, 2012 – Rami Al-Sayed.

We must not forget to pay tribute to the amateur citizen journalists and photographers of Syria who have risked their lives and are risking their lives to reveal to the outside world what is happening in Syria. Rami Al-Sayed is one of these unknown heroes who were sadly killed while doing their duty. Another heroic spirit is Syria Pioneer whose videos to You Tube tore the heart of darkness. Like many activists, I am using images taken by the heroic unknown.

26 February, 2012 – The murdered journalists during the siege of Baba Amr.

They are our heroes too, people who faced death to bring the terrible facts to the attention of the world. We shall not forget Marie Colven, Remi Ochlik and the journalists still trapped in Baba Amr. The killers think their crimes can be committed without the truth being ever revealed, but they have forgotten that programmed in the human genes, as well as violence, are the saving graces and the life enhancing attributes, like seeking justice, fighting for the truth and the tireless endeavours to ensure the continuation of existence in peaceful, free and safe environments.

The murdered journalists

29 February, 2012 – Baba Amr.

They think they can destroy Baba Amr by razing it to the ground, by massacring its people, by leaving its infants and children to die slowly under the debris of their own houses and by raping the women, even the little girls. They think they can erase it and bulldoze it so that it is no more. Baba Amr has become synonymous with freedom, dignity, the air we breathe, the flame in the heart, the light in the soul and the life that will never wither.

1 March, 2012 – The Civilians.

What news of the civilians of Baba Amr, of the trapped children, women and the wounded?  What news of them? Is quick clean death the most merciful fate they can hope for? What news of the civilians of Baba Amr. Better death than the cleansing murderous intentions the regime has in store for them.

2 March, 2012 – There is nobody there.

Do not call. For weeks we have seen nothing but corpses, heard nothing but maternal lamentation, thought of nothing but the death and suffering of children.

Thus dies Baba Amr… Let us pray

Baba Amr visited by the Syrian Regime

2 March, 2012 – Baba Amr our gaping wound.

Baba Amr was heroic beyond our dreams. The people of Baba Amr we shall love for always and their great spirit will write our epics for the future, but it was wrong, with the best of intentions, to expect to defeat the might of the Syrian army with flesh and blood in the midst of women and children not to mention the old. It was simplistic. The FSA did their best and I think they have learnt a bitter lesson. Our aim is not to blame but to avert this ever happening again.

3 March, 2012 – Super Powers and Syria.

Do the Super Powers really care for what is happening in Homs and the rest of Syria? If we want the truth, no is the answer. Why? Because it does not directly touch on their interests and because, alas to say, a weakened torn Syria suits Israel, and Assad is ideal for them. Does the world care for the slain children, the wounded, the tortured and the dead? Perhaps. But not enough to take to the streets and display a global will against the terrible violence taking place in Syria. This kind of violence is an affront to the whole of humanity. It is a stigma and a judgement on the human race. The Super powers have no will but that of their hegemony and influence. Yet where is the will of the billions of humans, faced with contagious infectious violence like no violence, which the welfare of the whole of humanity dictates it should have no dominion and must be irradiated like we have irradiated the plague and the smallpox.

3 March, 2012 – Baba Amr stormed.

On the BBC news, an activist from Baba Amr reports that on the outskirts of Baba Amr, the security forces are arresting people and holding them in a big building then summarily executing some of them.

The triumphant Syrian Army in Baba Amr

3 March, 2012 – Allegations.

The BBC mentioned that the Syrian authorities are not allowing the Red Cross convoy into Baba Amr because the situation inside is too dangerous. Yesterday it was mentioned on Facebook that FSA, before they left, booby-trapped some locations, which led to explosions as the Syrian Army was combing Baba Amr. If this is true was it wise? For it will stop the Syrian Army as well as the aid convoy. The people of Baba Amr need urgent help and food. Will the FSA army provide the starving people with the necessities for survival?

Paul Conroy and Edith Bouvoire

4 March, 2012 – On escorting the foreign journalists to the safety of Lebanon.

Thirteen young lives given to save the French and British journalists trapped in Baba Amr.

This morning, I highlighted a paragraph in Robert Fisk’s article about war reporters in which he commended the bravery and the sacrifice of the unknown FSA soldiers and the activists who helped the surviving journalists trapped in Baba Amr to escape. Thirteen died in the escapade, which I can only describe, after I had read the details in Le Figaro, as one of the bravest and noblest stories that have come out of Baba Amr. Paul Conroy and Edith Bouvoire owe their survival to acts of human kindness and heroism performed by the people of Baba Amr. Not only did they give them the best medical treatment and care they were able to provide within the severe limitations of their basic medical facilities, not only did they keep them alive against all the odds, but when the time came, they died to save them. As Robert Fisk wrote, it would only be fitting to at least know the names of the 13 young men who died in the attempt. I keep thinking of their unknown graves dug somewhere or maybe not, under the falling snow and the howling wind. Let us honour them in our hearts.

(This is the same Robert Fisk who has nothing to say now about the Syrian Revolution but the bad and the distorted. Observation inserted in 22 January, 2013. Sorry for the digression.)

4 March, 2012 – Syria the Untouchable

They ask, the smart astute politicians of the world, what will happen to Syria if Assad falls? They wisely point out that the situation might be much worse after the regime falls. Much worse for them or the Syrian people who are being massacred ruthlessly, their children slain, their women raped and their houses razed to the ground? But this question is discreetly evaded, which takes us to the shameful conclusion, better the devil you know. They do not stop here, but with an implicit global consensus rarely seen, they come to the conclusion that it cannot be helped, the demographic, ethnic and geopolitical peculiarities of Syria would make it impossible to act or suggest a solution. It is as if never before has the world encountered such an insoluble, mind boggling, will shattering freakish problem!!! Therefore, Syria and its people are surrendered to the butchers to do as they please. For them, the paramount saving grace is that at least Israel is safe and will continue to be safe. No wonder that the whole situation is summed up on a poster lifted by a young Syrian girl, probably an orphan herself, reading: “Syria is an orphan. God of the orphans look after Syria.”

4 March, 2012 – Words

They curse, they swear, they shout, they threaten, they blabber, they stammer and do nothing, absolutely nothing.

5 March, 2012 – The only hope

This is the only hope in the universal night of the Syrian people. That the good committed people of the world, like you, are identifying with Syria, the real Syria, and have taken it to heart. We are a multitude, a legion. We should prevail; we, who would not kill, would not harden our hearts, would not forget that no man is an island and that we are all involved in mankind. One day the beast will be gone and the waste land will be healed.

5 March, 2012 – Orphan country.

An orphan country. An orphan Revolution, an orphan people, an orphan freedom in the making. Orphan all, it is an honour.

5 March, 2012 – Fear.

Fear, indoctrination, fear, suppression, fear, breaking the will of the nation, fear, corruption, fear, robbing the people of dignity, self respect and responsibility, fear, savage clamping down on all the liberties, more fear and so on.

Blood runs in the streets

6 March, 2012 – The Red Cross.

The Red Cross said today that they could not enter Baba Amr because of the security situation The authorities are alleging that many buildings and streets are dynamited which makes it impossible to take aid to the people of Baba Amr. If this has any truth in it, was it wise to leave Baba Amr dangerous to its own people in addition to exposing them to the anger and the reprisals of the authorities? Such allegations should be answered and analyzed objectively.

6 March, 2012 – To a friend on Facebook concerning civilians caught up in armed struggles.

I pasted your answer on my page under my comment. The responsibility of the killing and the murder of the citizens of Baba Amr rests completely with the army and the thugs of the regime. Of this, I have no doubt in my mind. But it also rests with us to speak for those who have no voices and who are paying the highest price imaginable. The regime has always marginalized and sacrificed them without giving them a thought. If we do the same, we are no better. The tragedy of Baba Amr and many other Syrian cities, towns, villages, and hamlets must teach us a lesson. The lesson is how to protect the innocents and the grassroots of Syria. It is war. I understand that, but our tactics, strategies and plans must be reconsidered especially in everything relating to the FSA. Some of the defected soldiers are very young and inexperienced. They need guidance and leadership. As we do not want the civilians to die unnecessarily, we do not want the young soldiers to die in vain.

8 March, 2012 – Fighting the regime.

To fight the regime from within the civilian neighbourhoods is an issue which should be addressed with the utmost seriousness because who ever undertakes it would be facing a brutal regime the like of whose ruthlessness has rarely been encountered. The revenge Assad’s army and thugs took on Baba Amr will not be forgotten and should not be forgotten. Civilians and soldiers do not mix because it is the civilians who will pay the heaviest price. I wish more people will argue about this issue instead of ignoring it. There should never be another Baba Amr. No victory is a victory if the civilians are chosen to pay for it.

10 March, 2012 – Syria Do Not Cry.

Don’t cry Syria while you see what we see and hear what we hear. Today I saw a little man, a ruthless foolish man being pandered to and elevated to the status of a statesman. I also saw a real statesman try to reason with him, only to witness the little man get inflated and watch him wax in stupidity and false pride, drunk with what he sees as a triumph on his tortured mutilated dispossessed people. Let me cry, but you Syria who had cradled the first civilizations, do not shed your immortal tears on such an aberration of the human nature.

Do not cry Syria even as the fallen and the brave are not mourned, are not buried are not remembered, are not even counted – they who once were born, laughed, sang, got married and had children.

Do not cry Syria

11 March, 2012 – Bigotry.

Let us waste no more time listening to bigotry and ignorance. What are revolutions for but to start moving in order to change our world and ourselves for the better? The time of darkness is over.

11 March, 2012 – Killing.

This also asks the ultimate question of why man kills man, why Cain kills Abel.  Thank you for sharing it with me. Only I would like to say, it is fitting to mourn the dead thus. For me the conflict is when the brave dead are not mourned, are not buried are not remembered, are not even counted as human.

12 March, 2012 – Comment.

So now the regime is butchering the citizens of the Syrian cities and towns without any restraint. How many Deir Yasin do we have to witness? The civilians are butchered, bombarded, driven out oftheir homes, forcefully evicted or mass moved from their cities and homes. Are we going to see a Syrian Republic made of the 2 major cities Damascus and Aleppo alone? Two cities and the rest is nothing but devastation, death, starvation and homelessness. What a brilliant mindboggling future?

13 March, 2012 – Death of children.

No people should be asked to pay such a gruesome terrible price: the massacre of their innocents and innocence.

Death of Children

14 March, 2012 – Where is the UN?

So where are the UN relief agencies, where is the humanitarian aid they keep talking about? What did Amos and Anaan do in order to extend the world’s help to the victims and refugees of Syria? Shame on a world that watches and does not go beyond rhetoric. For the love of God, haven’t they had their fill of severed limbs, tortured children, raped and injured women, battered bodies, mutilated men and women, gouged out eyes, open skulls and abdomens? I am not going to speak about the dead. At least nobody can touch them any more, not even the short- lived fruitless pity of the civilized world. Why aren’t there offers from renowned hospitals all over the world to proffer to treat those who have lost everything? I am ashamed of my humanity, ashamed of my fellow humans who will not help will not help will not help. All we hear are brilliant sermons, state-of-the-arts rhetoric, political dithering and verbal rubbish. The testimony of the Egyptian doctors speaking for Syria, supported by incontrovertible evidence and documentation is more than enough to condemn the Syrian regime in any International court of justice not once, not twice but for all time to come.

21 March, 2012 – Why did the revolution start?

We started this revolution in order to instate Human Rights in Syria, in order to protect life and ensure the rule of law. It is for justice, dignity and freedom that thousands of people have died and suffered and have been mutilated and tortured. Are we going to betray them by behaving like the accursed murderers?

21 March, 2012 – This revolution.

This revolution is not going to be hijacked by those who belittle its constitution, its principles and human values. Out of respect to the terrible suffering and devastation that has been inflicted on Syria and its people, we will never waver in our belief in Human Rights and the sanctity of life. The future children of Syria will grow up free, humane and safe in a country governed by law, justice, peace and equality for all.

23 March, 2012 –  Comments on the use of violence.

I agree with you that many peaceful good men were forced to arm themselves in order to protect themselves and the innocent. I am also aware that the soldiers who defected have to stay alive trying to protect themselves. But there will be no change in Syria, no rule of law, no Human Rights if the methods of the regime are copied or perpetuated. It is how we are going to fight the enemy that matters to us. Brutality, ruthlessness, torture, degradation and mindless revenge should not be part of our means to end injustice and oppression. If we demand the best of people they try to live up to it, but if we accept the devil’s practices in order to achieve our aims, we are no better than the devil.

23 March, 2012 – The way of love.

If you love, you try to protect those you love especially when they are driven to extremities by pain, intolerable pain and anguish. And in my opinion the greatest of love is the love that defends me, you or the young fighting men of Syria against ourselves and themselves. We do not want them to reach the point of no return, so soaked in blood and killing that they cannot any longer see the face of God and innocence. We wish them to emerge out of this terrible struggle, dignified enough and integral enough to be part of the future and the dawn to come.

23 March, 2012 – War.

War is war. War is cruel, terrible and the end of all normality, even sanity. That is why we call upon love and grace to remain part of the daily existence of the men who have to fight.

Death of habitats

23 March, 2012 – Apathy.

Apathy destroys the very core of being. To accept injustice and oppression or to tolerate evil is to die a slow undignified death.

23 March, 2012 – The children of Syria.

Alas for the children of Syria whose only companions are sorrow, deprivation, fear and hunger. Children should spread their wings and dream, love and be loved. Never, never this fate, which is even worse than death.

Sorrow and children

24 March, 2012 – The dead Syrian children.

Each time I look at the gruesome horrific images of the dead Syrian children, I feel dead at the very core of my soul. Yet if you give me the chance of not looking at these images and instead save my sensibilities and sensitivities, I shall choose to look and bear witness. I debated this controversial issue with myself for a long time and weighed the cons and pros very carefully, only to feel strengthened in my initial resolve. I have this strange powerful feeling that if we continue to look at those children whom we feel delighted to look at alive, if we continue to look at them with compassion and pity and let our eyes rest on them gently and lovingly after their death, we might take away some of the horror and loneliness of their deaths. If we look at them and listen to their hidden laughter and veiled aliveness, we might redeem a little the manner of their terrible deaths. We make contact with them, we hold them in our thoughts and hearts because the worst thing that we can do is to forget them and try to shut off the cruelty and wrongness of their deaths.

21 April, 2012 – A tale from Syria.

A tale I heard during my visit to Damascus in April, 2012 remained with me. A friend of the local pharmacist, a doctor from Darra, unable to withhold his tears, narrated:

“I saw them, I saw them with my own eyes and came to know what happened to them. They were orphaned children from all ages; the very young led by older children between 14 and fifteen. They have walked all the way from Homs and Baba Amr and arrived by a miracle at Daraa. They were hungry, cold and sick; they were traumatized, terrified, dishevelled and haggard. In rags, they were walking aimlessly like haunted little souls. The people rushed to them willing and wanting to help, feed and shelter, but the security forces stopped them and told them that the children were traitors deserving no help and used force to disperse the people. The doctor narrator then proceeded to say that they tried to understand what happened to these children. To his horror, he later discovered that among the children, the victims of violence, untold cruelty and rape, two very young girls aged between 10 and 12 were pregnant.”

The rest is silence

21 April, 2012 – People write what they want to write.

Ruthanne, in the end, despite the quest for objectivity, people write what they know, and they search for what they wish to see. Every story imagined or real, is nothing but a reflection of its writer’s frames of reference which include biases and preferences. Sometimes our biases are merely reflections of our times. Biases, occasionally, are upgraded to fanatical opinions and allegiances and thus become lethal. It is up to the reader to sift through the information, and to believe, or not.

When it comes to Syria, I’ll take the stories reaching me with caution. Except, of course, when the stories are of the dead. Then, the faces are recognised, the tortured bodies are exposed. We only learn their histories after they are buried in graves marked by pieces of cardboards. Those are the faces we see, the names we memorize, the ones we will never forget, because Syrians are no longer in the business of keeping secrets.

29 April, 2012 – They were not always corpses.

They were living people, each with a life, relatives and friends. They laughed, they dreamed, they loved their Syria. I believe you are right. Perhaps if we remember their lives, they will enrich ours.

30 April, 2012 – On death by violence.

“What is gone is gone and those who died: May God have mercy on them,” he says. I wonder, would he have said the same if members of his family were butchered. Sorrows and tragedies can only be redeemed if a new page is turned, and if the criminals are brought to justice so that forgiveness can start to heal and lay the past to rest.

30 April, 2012 – On Hamza and Tamir (two children tortured and killed bythe Syrian security forces).

Let us pray for a day when we can remember our beloveds in peace and bring children like them to their graves carrying flowers and candles so that they might feel that the earth they died for is as free and as rich with its offerings as ever.

Hamza Al Khateeb

2 May, 2012 – Syria’s Young.

For how much longer do we have to mourn and watch helplessly the death of Syria’s young people, the flower of its youths and the brightest of its children? We are so tired of waiting that we have become the waiting itself. But we cannot despair, because if we do we shall kill them all over, again and again. Syria cannot go backward for the only way towards salvation is forward, towards hope and a new Syria where the children can play peacefully and the young people are free to dream of better futures, love and fair opportunities in a country they love and are loved by. Nour inscribed his graffiti not only on the walls but on our hearts.

Alisar Iram, May 2012

Please see also the original:

**Flash back: Homs revisited lest we forget how the Syrian regime destroyed Baba Amr, thus changing the course of the Revolution Posted on 

Posted in Alisar's notes and articles, Annihilation, Baba Amr, Bearing witness, Homs, suffering, Syria, Syrian army, Syrian Children, Syrian people, Syrian regime, Syrian Revolution, The suffering of the Syrian people | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is this World War 2? No it is Homs as Assad has re-designed it

The great architect, the inimitable designer and planner of cities, the unique demolisher, the superb wrecker, Assad of Syria has created a masterpiece of ruins Hiroshima cannot vie with. 

This heap of broken images, this wasteland, this NOTHING, this primordial matter was once a thriving, laughing, vivacious, buzzing city.

The images I have chosen are selected from newly released pictures, after the triumphal march into the broken city by the army of Assad and his militia of looters, the Shabiha, and older pictures belonging to the history of shaping and sculpting  ruins out of Homs by the great artist Assad.  I am angry and devastated, not in equal measures.


I densest the world which has allowed this to happen




Hiroshima Homs, posted by Ken Roth

Hiroshima Homs, posted to Twitter by Ken Roth

Homs after the Assadi conquest

Homs after the Assadi conquest. The picture was posted buzzfeed

ScreenHunter_03 Jan. 04 12.26 (1)

Homs of the Ruins

Homs of the Ruins

ScreenHunter_01 A;eppo Aug. 09 08.44


ScreenHunter_01 Aug.  Aleppo  06 17.09

ScreenHunter_01 Sep. 01 17  Hims.21

ScreenHunter_23 Feb. 13 14.22


ScreenHunter_276 Feb. 28 10.37

ScreenHunter_1762 Jun. 22 19.02

ScreenHunter_1940 Jul. 15 18.55

ScreenHunter_1955 Jul. 15 21.32

ScreenHunter_2097 Jul. 24 11.27

ScreenHunter_2163 Jul. 24 18.42


Ruins of our morality

Ruins of our morality

The end of everything

The end of everything

ScreenHunter_2226 Jul. 29 22.41

ScreenHunter_2227 Jul. 29 22.42

ScreenHunter_2241 Jul. 30 16.48

ScreenHunter_2275  khalidiyya  Aug. 02 09.31

ScreenHunter_4739 Apr. 17 10.42 ScreenHunter_4739 Apr. 17 17.23 ScreenHunter_4741 Apr. 17 21.30 ScreenHunter_4742 Apr. 17 21.33


ScreenHunter_4743 Apr. 18 08.58


The pictures below are compiled by Shab Homsi, showing the destruction of various neighborhoods in Homs

ScreenHunter_4749 Apr. 19 10.55 ScreenHunter_4750 Apr. 19 10.57 ScreenHunter_4751 Apr. 19 10.58 ScreenHunter_4753 Apr. 20 08.58

ScreenHunter_4889 May. 10 11.29

ScreenHunter_4890 May. 10 11.30


ScreenHunter_4897 May. 11 08.44



The last 4 images were published by Buzzfeed

Credits: The images published in this post were posted to Facebook at different stages of the battle for Homs. Special credit is paid to Shab Homsi who took many of these pictures. Some of the images were chosen from the web and media.

©Alisar Iram

Links in this blog


Posted in Alisar's notes and aerticles, Annihilation, Crime against humanity, Destruction, Destruction of cities and habitats, Homs, Images, Syria, Syria war crimes'evidence, Syria's cultural heritage, Syrian Heritage, Syrian regime, Syrian Revolution, Testimony, Violence, War crimes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

الأسطورة وثورة الشعب السوري Myth and the Syrian Revolution

Forgive us by Alisar Iram

Forgive us by Alisar Iram

See also the English version: https://alisariram.wordpress.com/myth-and-the-syrian-revolution-a-tribute-to-the-syrian-people/

كنت دائما مهتمة بالأسطورة و ذلك لأنني أرى فيها انعكاسا للحياة كما أرى في الحياة انعكاسا للاسطورة. وكان أول كتاب نشرلي  يدور  حول الأساطير و القصص الخرافية. الأسطورة هي نوع خارق او امثولي من القصص التي تعرض بشكل خلاق اجتهادات مخيلة الإنسان وتجاربه ومحاولاته لكي يجد تفسيرا وتبريرا لما يستعصي على الفهم، وهي بهذا تحمل الينا والى حاضرنا  من ماض مدفون سحيق، على أجنحة الحكايات الخالدة، المحن والتجارب المغرقة في القدم ممثلة  بالصراعات البطولية والمعاناة الماساوية للانسان والانسانية .  إن الآلهة  انما هي الالهي في الإنسان أو كل القوى الكونية الساحقة ضده .وفي هذا السياق تبرز قصتان من قصصي المفضلة: قصة بروميثيوس رسول وحامل الجذوة والنور و العقل وقصة سيزيف حامل الصخرة، سيزيف الرجل الفطن الذي تحايل على الموت ظانا أنه أذكى من زيوس رب الارباب ، وتمرد على الالهة رافضا مصيره، و لكن زيوس لاحقه وفرض عليه عقابا  ان يحمل صخرة ضخمة  كل صباح و يتسلق جبلا إلى قمته  لكي تنزلق هذه الصخرة بحركة تكرارية إلى السفح ولكن لكي يعودسيزيف فيحملها من جديد على ظهره و لتنزلق من فوقه تكرارا و مرارا بحركة أبدية لا تنتهي. 

عندما دخلت ثورة الشعب السوري في مرحلتها الأخطر، مرحلة الدفاع عن الوجود والصراع من اجل البقاء على قيد الحياة ، بدأ بروميثيوس يستولي على مخيلتي ليتبعه سيزيف.  ولكن سرعان ما امتزج الاثنان لينصهرا معا بعد حين ويلتحما بالثورة السورية. لقد بعثا مشاعرالحب و المأساة في وعيي وبدات احس بمدى أهمية مغزى قصتهما في سياق تجارب السوريين المروعة وصراعهم الدامي. لقد وجدت نفسي أستدعيهما لأن صراع الشعب السوري ولّد بطولات صامتة غير معترف بها خاضتها روح الانسان السوري تتميزبالقدرة على تحمل أعباء جسدية مستحيلة و مواجهة المعاناة الفائقة و التعذيب و الجوع و الموت. وهذه مجتمعة تُكّوّن المادة  التي تُنسج منها الاسطورة . أنا لست أبالغ ، لأن الاستمرار والبقاء رغم كل المخاطر هما بطولة بحد ذاتهما،باستثناء ان الآلهة لا تسيطر هذه المرة على خشبة المسرح، بل النساء والاطفل والكبار وشباب سوري يندثر تباعا. 

ان ما أتكلم عنه هنا هو هذه البطولة البسيطة البريئة لهؤلاء الذين عاشوا دائما بتواضع و فضلوا أن بيقوا مجهولين لأنهم يفتقرون إلى التعقيدات والتحذلق و لأنهم يعيشون حياة محدودة وضيقة، لا فرص لهم فيها تقريبا ولا طموحات ولا موارد كافية أوتطلعات. ومن اقصدهم أيضا هم رجال ونساء مثقفون مخضرمون أو شباب، ذوو الخبرات او الأقل خبرة بسبب قلة اعوامهم، هؤلاء الذين اتبعوا قوانين الأخلاق الوجدانية و اختاروا حياة النفي داخل بلدهم لكي يبقوا مع الجموع، سواء المدنيين أو المسلحين، التي تحتاجهم  لكي يغيثوا وينجدوا وينظموا ويعلموا او يوثّقوا ويسجلوا. اختاروا النفي بعيدا عن بيوتهم و أولادهم و أهلهم ليعيشوا في الاطراف البعيدة حياة المعدمين و المحرومين. ونجد من بينهم ايضا بعض مقاتلي المقاومة الشرفاء الذين اضطروا للخروج إلى الكفاح المسلح من أجل الدفاع عن بيوتهم و عائلاتهم. 

الفقراء يحلمون أيضا

كل هؤلاءكان يجمعهم حلم، بما فيهم من لا يُقترنون عادة بالأحلام، أي الفقراء. المحرومون و المغيّبون والذين يعانون من الفاقة والافقارالثقافي و الكادحون يستطيعون أن يحلموا ايضا, اليس كذلك ؟ أم هل سيُحرمون أيضا من الأحلام؟ لقد كان للشعب السوري حلم، او بالاحرى لقد نسج الشعب السوري حلما. لذلك سأرفع صوتي بوجه كل المتشككين و الساخرين وعد يمي الثقة ، بوجه المشاركة الشحيحة لدول العالم،  بوجه التحالفات الإقليمية و العالمية، لأقول لهم بأن السوريين كان لهم حلم و ما زال لديهم هذا الحلم. بل سامضي الى ابعد من ذلك لأقول بأن هذا الحلم كان نبيلا ومايزال نبيلا على الرغم من كل الجهود و القوى التي تبذل من أجل تغيير وجهته والقضاء عليه. الحلم ما هو الافكرة ، وما هو الا أمل. ما هو إلا توق الروح  وتزهّر اللاوعي.  صحيح أنه واه وليس الا رؤيا ،و لكنه الصرخة التي  تنبعث من الجينات المزروعة في خلايا الإنسان و التي تتنتقل عابرة الاجيال. الحلم ماهو الا رغبة الوجود لكي يكون أكثر من مجرد وجود. الحلم  يرفده الحنين وتغذيه التطلعات الهائلة للحرية و التحرر،واللتي تصوغها وتلحنها الحياة و الرغبة في العيش بكرامة. 

 هل الحلم بالحرية  خطأ وشرّ؟ وهل نشيد الحرية محصور  بالبلاد الارقى، او التي تمثل القوى العظمى ؟ هل يوجد في هذا العالم سلالات أو ديانات أوأعراق أو طوائف أو جغرافيات أحق بالحرية من غيرها؟  هل الاستعباد باسم القوة سواءً اكان مدنيا أو سياسيا أو دنيويا اواستبداديا أو دينيا هو فقط من نصيب  الاكثرية من بني الإنسان؟ هل يجب أن يكون النورملكا للقلة، الجزء، أم هو حق للعالم اجمعين؟ 

بروميثيوس ، ثائر ذو قضية

سرق بروميثيوس الحالمالشعلة من الآلهة ليجعلها  حقا بكوريا للاإنسانية. أعطى  بروميثيوس العقل للبشرية التي كانت محرومة منه و هي تزحف تائهة على وجه الأرض، غارقة في عتمة الجهل وغياب الوعي.  ولكن لما دب الوعي في البشر نهضوا ورفعوا رؤوسهم ليروا عالما لم يكونوا شاعرين بوجوده من قبل.  وهنالابد من القول بان المعجزة الكامنة في سرقة النار من الالهة هي ان بروميثيوس اعطى مع النار والنور للبشرية الاستنارة وعرفان النفس و الوعي بالذات ، مبشرا بولادة العقل.  لقداعتقد بروميثيوس وهوعملاق من عمالقة سلالة الآلهة الأوائل بأن الإنسان له الحق بالنورتماما مثل الالهة واتخذ قرارا بمنح البشرية العقل و العلم. ثم علمهم ايضا الحرف و منحهم الفنون. هذا العمل الذي يمثل الشجاعة القصوى، والذي يرمز شعائريا الى منح ونقل المعرفةالمحرّمة إلى الانسان، جلب عليه غضب الآلهة و العقاب الأبدي. لقد ثار بروميثيوس عطفا على الجنس البشري الذي خلقته الآلهة على صورتها و منحته الحياة ثم تركته ليزحف على وجه الأرض في جهل مدقع وفي الظلمة الدامسة. بروميثيوس، عملاق من عمالقة سلالة الآلهة الأوائل، فكر بأن الإنسان له الحق أيضا بالنور مثل الألهة و قرر أن يمدهم بالعقل و العلم. و أيضا علمهم كيفية صنع الأشياء و منحهم الفنون. هذا العمل الأسمى الشجاع الذي تمثل شعائريا بنقل العلم المحرم إلى الانسان جلب عليه غضب الآلهة و العقاب الأبدي. ويمكن القول انه كان ضروريا بل جوهريا ان تقوم ثورة على النظام السائد لكي  يتم اعطاء الحق الخاص بالقلّة للعامة وادخال مفهوم العدالة الى عالم يحكمه قانون السيطرة. 

بروميثيوس اصبح جزءا من عقلنا الباطني الجمعي وذاكرتنا التراكمية ولو لم نعرفه بالاسم. أنا اعتقد  بأن بروميثيوس هو أحد أعظم ثوار الإنسانية اذ مد جسرا بين ثوار الأرض و ثوار السموات. لوسيفر (الشيطان) ثار ايضا، و لكن  لدوافع أنانية، بينما كانت ثورة بروميثيوس نقية و نبيلة. لاشك إن مما له اهمية ومغزى أن البشرية قدنسجت  قصصا و أساطير في ماضيها السحيق لكل ما هو فريد و نبيل و بطولي، لكل ما هوربّاني في الطبيعة البشرية و لكن ايضا لكل ما هووضيع وشرير. لقد ادرك الجنس البشري بحدسه ان القيم العليا و الأخلاق وكذلك الغرائز الادنى لا بد ان تخلد في قصص أو خرافات  تتناقلها الأجيال من أجل ان تصبح اداة للمعرفة.ومن الواضح أنه عندما يعجز عن  الإنسان عن التعبير عن نفسه بالطرق المتوفرة يلجأ الى الأسطورة لانه في الاسطورة يتضح الغامض الغير قابل للشرح و يُفسر اللامعقول و السيريالي المأساوي بسرد حكايات يرددها الإنسان مرارا إلى أن يأتي زمن يرتقي فيه الانسان بما يؤهله ليكشف ويحل عقدة ما كان عصيا.

   نحن  نمعن النظر في طبيعة المتمرد و التمرد لأن الثورة هي تلك المعركة التي لاتبلغ نهايتها ابدا اذ لا تكاد تهدأ حتى تبدأ الكفاح من جديد. ولهذا فانه من الواضح بأن العالم لا يستطيع ان يفهم أبدا بأن ما يحصل في سوريا هو ثورة تعود جذورها إلى مئات من السنين المنصرمة. إن تراكم الاستبداد المتوارث والموروث: السياسي و الاجتماعي و الاقتصادي و الثقافي و الديني بالإضافة إلى الاستعماري هو ما خلق ويخلق بؤر ارضية تحتية للاضطرابات والقلقلة في سوريا و العالم العربي ككل، مراكما و مجمعا بذلك الطاقة الكافية التي تؤدي الى الهيجان ثم الانفجار. وانه لمن الخطأ الفادح ان نظن بأن هذه الثورة لم تكن تختمر منذ مئات السنين. 

  إن ما  جعلني ايضا استدعي  بروميثيوس من أعماق اللا وعي  ويدفعني ان أعود مرارا إلى أسطورته لأكتشف ما كتب عنه هو امثولة بعض اصدقاء اختاروا، اسوة ببروميثيوس، أن يضيئوا شعلته من أجل المفقّرين ثقافيا، راسمين بذلك مكانا لانفسهم بين الفقراء و المحرومين و المهمشين. إن البروميثيسييين السوريين الثوريين هم الذين من أعاد  بروميثيوس الأسطورة إلى ذهني. ثم ظهر أبطال آخرون لم يحكي عنهم أحد او يمجدهم احد ولما عرفنا بوجودهم احسسنا بهم يتحركون و يعملون بين المفجوعين، محاولين خدمة الجرحى و المحتضرين والتائهين، يساعدون و يسعفون و يسندون، ومنهم الأطباء و الممرضات وشباب وعاملو الإغاثة و ناشطون مدنيون و مدافعون عن حقوق الإنسان. أمهات و نساء ورجال وكهول ورجال و شباب وحتى الاطفال، يعرضون  أنفسهم لخطر القذائف و القنابل والصواريخ و البراميل المتفجرة بدون توقف او تردد



نحن بحاجة إلى شعلة بروميثيوس لتبديد الظلام

لعل الروح عندما تشتد الظلمة وتصبح ليلا شاملا مهيمنا، تشرع بنشدان المستحيل، بل تسعى الى ان تغزل من ذاتها البروميثيوسية رؤى للمستقبل، لأن الحياة أقوى من الموت. ولهذا نرى انه بينما تُجر سوريا إلى الهاوية وتتضافر عليها قوى الطمع المتلاحمة، والطموحات الجيوسياسية ، والطغيان وعالم محيّد أخلاقيا، جاذبة اياها كالمغناطيس إلى الهاوية، فان هذه القوى و بطريقة غريبة مطردة تدفع السوريون ايضا  بلا هوادة وتجرهم  إلى مركز الوجود  والصراع الوجودي ضدعوامل الإبادة واندثار الحضارة. ما من شيء هومجرد شيئ واحد خالص، إذ أنه في الصراعات المأساوية للامم يصبح المسرح مكانا يمتد بين السماء و الأرض وعلى خشبته يتصارع الحاضرالمرحلي والماضي التاريخي ، السياسة والأخلاق، الخير و الشر، قوى العقل و الاستنارة وقوى الظلام واندحار العقل ، الأسطورة و الواقع، تتصارع وتخوض حربا مستميتة من اجل البقاء. فعند نقطة التلاشي والانطفاء يعم الظلام الحالك و لكن أنقى النور و أسطعه يتفجر أيضا. تحاول الروح أن تجد لنفسها ملجأ في الرب والرحمة، في الأسطورة، في الشعر وفي الفن والموسيقا و الأدب اذ يسعى الجنون و انحسار العقلانية والياس الدمر الى الاستحواذ عليها والتهامها كزبانية الجحيم. ولذلك فان الرجل تحت الأنقاض و المرأة المسجونة  في  حطام الاسمنت والفولاذ  و الطفل الهائم على وجهه في  براري الدمار  لا يملكون إلا المحبة  واالرأفة لتنجدهم، و لذلك  نرى ان  من يتم سحبهم من تحت الأنقاض بسواعد المنقذين الرحيمة، الذين كثيرا مايحفرون بأيديهم العارية  لتخليصهم،  يسارعون إلى عناق  وشد من بقي حيا من أطفالهم إلى صدورهم، رافضين إفلاتهم خوفا من أن يحل الهلع والروع والضياع مكان الطفل في الحضن اذ هم اطلقوه. 

أظن بأن الذين عاصروا الحرب العالمية الثانية قد يقهمون ما أقصده. وقد يفهمون أيضا ما اعانيه من محاولة فهم الواقع و عدم قدرتي على فك تداخل الازمنة والتمييزبينها لأن البوابات الواصلة بين الماضي و الحاضر و المستقبل قد وُلِجت واخترقت وكأن هذا البلد يعيش كل ماضيه في لحظة.  انظروا، فقد عاد المغول مدمرو الحضارت و مخربو المدن و قاتلو مئات الآلاف ليداهموننا ويفتكوا بنا ثانية.ولقد نهبت سوريا ودمر تاريخها الذي يبلغ آلا ف السنين وعاث فيها المخربون فسادا. البربرية والوحشية تخنق الأجواء وتعصف بالأرض. ماذا سيفعل الملايون من الأطفال المشردين ،المبتورون عاطفيا ونفسيا، عدا عن تشوهاتهم الجسدية؟  هؤلاء الذين أصبحوا مشردي الكون وتائهي العصر. إذا احتجت لمن يلمع حذاءك أو يقوم بالتخلص من قمامتك أو لمن ينظف شوارعك ويقوم بجمع النفيات فاذهب و ابحث عن طفل ممزق الثياب جائع مرتعش وسخ فستجده سوريا.




نحن بحاجة إلى ثبات سيزيف وجلده للبقاء على قيد الحياة 

في سوريا الان  يتم حسم النزاعات المسلحة والحروب العقائدية المميتة وفوضى الإيديولجيات المقدسة التي اكل الزمان عليها وشرب، يتم حسمها  بالبراميل المتفجرة و القذائف  والمذابح ،  بالأسلحة الكيماوية،  اوباطاعة عمياء  وتطبيق وحشي بال لشريعة حُرّفت وزورت لتتحول إلى نواهي واوامر بربرية  تفرض الطاعة العمياء و الرعب .ولهذا وبعد ان خبر السوريون وجربوا ما يمكن ان اصفه بالارماغيدون الاسدي الاحمر بالاضافة الى الموت الأصفر الحالشي والطاعون الاسود الداعشي، فأنا على يقين بأنهم يعرفون الآن تماما ما لا يريدونه. فالأسد هو السبيل الموثوق الى جهنم و داعش هي الطريق الملغّم الى النهاية . نعم،  يعرف السوريون الآن ما معنى تبني أو اتباع طريق العنف المفروض وان يكونوا هدفا لشرور التطرف والتعصب. سوريا  تتلاشى يدوسها من ناحية استبداد علماني مزيف      تغذيه باطنيا ميثولوجيا دينية تستند الى أحقاد بالية وذاكرة قديمة تختزن مشاعرالانتقام، ومن الناحية الاخرى يعيث فيها فسادا إسلام متطرف يقفز من قبور الترهات الدينية المنقرضة ليفرض بالقوة  الضرائب على الناس ويصادر الثروات العامة. بلى ، أناواثقة بأن السوريين يعلمون الآن ما لا يريدونه، وذلك لأنهم لا يمكن أن يتمنوا هذا الهول الفج  و هذا الإرهاب المتوحش. 

من عمق اعماق الجحيم برز دانتي ليرى النجوم تتلألأ فوقه. هل ستنظر سوريا الان من قيعان اليأس لكي تصرخ عاليا بأن الحرية والحياة والتحرر من الاستبداد الديني والدنيوي ، ونور العقل والادراك، وحقوق الإنسان ، والعدالة و الديموقراطية هي ما تريده في الحقيقة.  كل الطرق الآن مزروعة بالالغام ما عدا الطريق إلى الحرية والخلاص. ولكن لكي يتحقق ذلك يحتاج السوريون إلى من هم مثل بروميثيوس ليقودوهم ،حاملين الشعلة، والى سيزيف ليبث فيهم القدرة على تحمل المزيد وهم  يكدون تثقلهم صخور العذاب اذ يتعثرون تحت وطأة اقدارهم في  متاهات الحرمان والابادة، بينما تتتالى جموعهم كأمواج البحر وهم يلاقون المنية عبثيا و كأن الموت قد أصبح اسلوبهم في الحياة. هذا الصبر المتصلب الذي يدفعهم بلا هوادة وهذه القدرة على تحمل الاهوال التي فرضت عليهم ، هذه الأعباء التي لا تنفك تتزايد  لافظة اللاجدوى ومسطرة المزيد من اللامعقول في مواجهة معركة  البقاء ضد قوى ساحقة، هذه مجتمعة لا بد ان نحاول ان نجد لها تاويلا عقلانيا من اجل ان لا تستعصي على الفهم ، ولكن الاهم من ذلك ان نسعى الى افتداء هذه الالام  والى العثور على طريق الخلاص من اجل ان  يثق السوريون بان يوما وصباحا  آخر ينتظرانهم.  إن صقر العنف و القسوة المريعة الذي ينهش كبد بروميثيوس بوحشية كل يوم هو نفسه الذي ينهش كبد السوريين أيضا. هذا العقاب الاعتباطي الذي لا يستحقونه والذي فرض عليهم لن تقهره إلا البطولات الروحية والجسدية. علينا ان نهزم هذا الصقر الهمجي لكي يعم ويسود نور الرحمة، و يشع ضوء العقل من مشعل برويثيوس من جديد، وتسقط الاهوال عن روح السوريين، و لكي  يُفتدى المسيح ويفدي. 

الوحشية و الرحمة 

 ببساطة، لا أعلم كبف يستطيع السوريون الاستمرار يوما بعد، يجابهون كل هذه المعاناة  ويبذلون كل هذه الارااح. فالعالم اما لا يشفق عليهم أو أن شفقة هذا العالم لن تبلغ نقطة التحرك الحقيقي باستثناء بعض المحاولات الاغاثية الدولية التي تتعثر وتتفخخ بسبب التلاعب والاستغلال الذي لا رحمة فيه ،و نتيجة للمماطلات والعثرات والاخلالات المقصودة المستمرة من قبل نظام الحكم.  لقدأصبحت المدن السورية الكبيرة  أو الصغيرة منها ، ما عدا دمشق الصغرى، قفارا ورميما يحتضن  بيوت الفقراء وما تبقى من المعالم والمشآت والشواهد على الحضارات القديمة التي تطلبت دهورا وقرونا من العمل المضني والمساعي الحثيثة والابداع والفن و تراكم الجهود المبذولة  لترويض البيئة ولخلق مراكز حضرية مستدامة . لقد اختفت من سوريا الى الأبد طرق للحياة وتقاليد ثقافية قديمة وصناعات وحرف وموروثات ثقافية  اذ اطعمت لنيران القنابل والقصف والتدمير الأهوج. فبعض المدن و البلدات قد فقدت من  20 إلى 50% من كتلتها بما فيها حمص و حلب، أكبر و أعظم المدن السورية. 

أرواح السوريين قد اسكرها الألم اذ يرشفون كؤوس العذاب حتى الثمالة: نساء و أطفال وسجناء تحت التعذيب ومختَطفون و مسنون و نازحون. لا أعلم ماذا يجعلهم يستمرون و من أين يأتون بالصبر ليتحملوا ما يقضيعلى الصبر ويبدده ويمزق الشجاعة ويمحوها ،وما يفتت العزيمة و الإيمان و الأمل والعقل نفسه ليستيقظوا كل صباح ويجروا  أنفسهم فوق دروب الأشواك والالام، شاهدين  على كل ما يجري، حاملين أولادهم المعفرين بالتراب وهم ينزفون، يجتازون الصحراء القاسية لينتهوا الى البحر  ويركبون القوارب المعطوبة لتقودهم الي قبور بحرية او الى بر سلام سرابي، او يموتون عطشا و جوعا ببطء، ببطء منهك قتال في بلداتهم و قراهم المحاصرة. أنا ما زلت أتكلم عن الملايين المجهولين الذين لا اسم لهم ولا يذكرهم احد ،معظمهم من النساء و الأطفال والمدنيين المسالمين. هل هم يختلفون عن بقية الأمم و الشعوب؟ هل هم مجبولون من  نوع خاص من الفولاذ يستعصي على كوكبنا؟ هل هم مصنوعون من صخور لا تستطيع أن تذيبها النيران او تغرقها الدماء؟ ما الذي يعطيهم هذه القوة العجيبة الخارقة التي تجعلهم يقعون ليقوموا، ثم يقعون ليقوموا من جديد يوما بعد يوم؟  من هم  وماهي ماهيتهم حتى يستطيعون تحدي الموت والتحديق به بملء العين  وكأنهم يقولون له: قف جانبا، لن تكون لك السيطرة هنا و لن تسود علينا. 

هناك أحاديث كثيرة عن الثورة على صفحات التواصل الاجتماعي المخصصة للثورة ودعوات تطالَب السوريين أن يحللوا توحشهم ويضعوه تحت المجهر ويدرسوا الشرور والفظائع الكامنة فيهم وذلك على سبيل النقد الذاتي. يقولون لنا بأننا طائفيون، بأننا شعب عنيف، وبداخل كل فرد منا يختبئ اما قاتل راقد، او آكل للحوم البشر ،او مغتصب او قوة هدامة. ليكن ! دعونال نمعن النظر في بشاعتنا ونتفحص وحشيتنا ، دعونا نُشرّح صفة الغدر و الأحقاد الكامنة فينا، دعونا نسلط الضوء على ازدرائنا لبعضنا البعض كأفراد ، كطوائف، كمعتقدات و إيديولوجيات، إلخ… . و لكن دعونا نسأل ايضا هل هذه هي قصتنا الكاملة، رواياتنا، مجموع أجزائنا؟ هل نحن حقا أناس متوحشون بشعون وغيلان و مخلوقات رهيبة الى هذا الحد؟ الا يوجد شيء اخر فينا ولنا؟  إذا لم نر إلا البشاعة و الفظاعة والوحوش سنتحول تدريجيا إلى وحوش . لقد دمّرت هذه الحرب ومزقت عقولنا  وأرواحنا تاركة لنا القليل من القوة لكي نواجه ونقهر مخلوقات الرعب وكائنات الكوابيس. بيد أن هنالك  أشخاصا و أناسا آخرين, وانا من بينهم، ينعمون برؤية مزدوجة، ولهذا فهم يرون أمورا أخرى أيضا، يرون اشياء عظيمة و نبيلة في أمتنا المحطمة هذه، في ناسنا المقهورين هؤلاء. أنا أرى افعالا عظيمة مليئة بالتضحية و أعمالا عظيمة تفعمها  البطولات… أرى بهاء النساء العاديات، بنات الشعب،وبهاء الرجال العاديين الذين يكدحون ليلا نهارا و في كل دقيقة  و كل ساعة من النهار و الليل لينقذوا و يعالجوا و يباركوا ويغيثوا و يمرّضوا بينما تُتساقط البراميل المتفجرة فوق رؤوسهم. أرى قوة عظيمة بداخلهم. أرى فيهم إنسانية كبيرة . أرى فيهم رحمة و رأفة ستثري الجنس البشري لمدة طويلة قادمة. 

 شعبنا ما زال هنا و سيبقى هنا بعد كل ما قيل وصار. و ما زال ناسنا محتشمين ومهذبين، وما يزالون قادرين على شكر االرب للنعمة ولو كانت شحيحة، للقليل او حتى للاشيء لأنهم من النوع الذي يستطيع أن يحمد ويتشكر على ما قلّ. هل تعلمون ما تتطلبه من بطولة وعزة نفس لكي يحمد الانسان خالقه ويشكر الاخرين على لا شيء تقريبا؟ لا، هذا لا اسميه الحط من القدر أو فقدان الكرامة والقيمة ، بل اسميه الرغبة التي لا تتزعزع بالحياة على الرغم من وجود القليل أو لا شيء. أحبك يا شعبي كما أنت، لقد أجبرت على التسول وفرضت عليك المجاعة ومزقوك مزقا ما بعدها مزق. أنت لست شريرا اوقبيح الروح.  أنت لست متوحشا أو عنيفا بالطبيعة. أنت ذوبهاء وشجاعة يا شعبي.

اليسار ارم

© Alisar Iram 

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