Is the World Deaf and Blind to Syria?
“People are no longer afraid; when a man is shot in a demonstration, his friends will carry him on their shoulders and continue their demonstration.”
I grew up with the image of my father taken violently by the Syrian soldiers, and with the image of my uncle who was killed under torture. It was 1982 when the great Hama massacre took place and no one in the world knows about that. I was five years old. My father, mother, and brother and I were obliged to leave our home with nowhere to go. We were walking when one soldier stopped us and arrested my father, leaving my mother with her two little kids, helpless. We had to walk and walk for hours and then a truck drove us to a village where a lovely family hosted us. They shared their house, food, clothes, everything.
Throughout my life I have been brought up far away from the field of religion and politics. My family knew about the brutality of the regime and they were afraid if I were active in religion or politics I would bring problems for myself and for the family as well. Politics is not allowed to be discussed in any place, and all the time we have to say “We love the President.” All my life was asking myself: “Why should I love him?” I know he killed about 50,000 people, a massacre.
When the uprisings started in other Arab countries, I was deeply sure from my heart that the time had come. After ages of suppression and oppression people wake up. But the wakening was by teenagers who had not tasted the torture. Those innocent teenagers who were calling for freedom did not know the brutality of the regime and did not imagine that incredible torture and death would be the punishment.
The peaceful Friday demonstration on the 3rd of June 2011, named “The Children of Freedom,” left more than 150 dead and countless wounded in Hama. The regime thinks that using such brutal violence will keep the mouths silent and bring people back to their homes. But people are no longer afraid; when a man is shot in a demonstration, his friends will carry him on their shoulders and continue their demonstration.
When you find yourself within such circumstances you cannot stand and look. I and my friends started to help secretly, because if the regime found out about us, we and our families and relatives would be in danger. We started to visit the wounded to see what they need. Wounded people cannot be taken to hospitals, as they will be arrested and tortured to death. We try to keep our homes provided with emergency medicine and equipment and to have some antibiotics and cotton.
Many women lost their husbands and became alone with their orphans without financial support. There are no job opportunities, and children cannot be left alone at home in these dangerous circumstances. I tried to travel to many countries to collect donations, and I contacted my friends abroad so that they could send some donations. My friends would go around and see what basic items the families needed and buy them. We used to buy crutches for the disabled and for children blankets, clothes, food, bread and medicine.
The more you buy, the more people are in need. As the situation is getting worse and worse, every day more and more needy people are being added to the list. I do not understand this world. Is it deaf and blind?
Many women, girls, and babies need clothes and other basic daily necessities. There are many pregnant women whose husbands have passed away, and they need more support than other women during their pregnancy and after. Women all over the world can help their sisters in Syria, who have been left, jobless, homeless, hopeless, and frustrated.
Ghada Ghazal is a native of Syria, currently living in Doha, Qatar. Before the conflict in Syria, she was a lecturer at Al-Baath University in Homs, Syria.
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