Saturday, March 2, 2024
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Damascus
Saturday, March 2, 2024

Personal Narrative | Syria’s children dispersed to seven continents

O Bereaved Syria, whose prisons are crowded with those who shouted “We want freedom”, and the best of your youth slaughtered while demonstrating peacefully to demand the fight against corruption. Your women’s honor was violated, your children got killed in your lap, and your elders were brutalized because they refused to say “There is no god but the leader of the homeland, Bashar.”

Your most beautiful cities and villages have been destroyed in order to drive your children away. They spread the smell of death everywhere so that whoever was left alive might escape in order to save themselves from death. A third of your families left you in a panic. Some of them rode the sea, some of them were swallowed mercilessly, and some of them walked at night, begging for some merciful nations. They were dispersed until they set foot on the seven continents.

Yesterday, I met my old neighbor, sitting in the public park of a European town to which I immigrated years ago. I asked him how he was doing; he sighed sadly and then said;

“I stayed clinging to part of my house after it was destroyed by an Assad regime barrel bomb and my family was buried under the rubble, leaving me with only a dilapidated room at the jasmine tree. When some of the men came to exhume the bodies of the martyrs, I asked them to bury them under this bereaved jasmine, so that their souls would enjoy the breeze and its pleasant smell.

“Depart your dead, come on! The living is worthier than the dead. If they kill you, your dead will die another death from the sorrow of their souls for you”

“But the invasion of Persian soldiers, and the brutal air strikes of the Russian army, forced those who remained alive in the village to leave. When I refused to accompany them, one of the Iranian militiamen kicked me with his foot and threw me to the ground away from the rubble of my house, barking in Persian from which I understood nothing but the word “death”, and poking me with his barrel of a machine gun that the smell of death was coming out of.

“An old neighbor drew me to him and said angrily: “Depart your dead, come on! The living is worthier than the dead. If they kill you, your dead will die another death from the sorrow of their souls for you.

“I looked at the jasmine and said goodbye to her, my eyes drowning in tears, and I saw the red line on the nape of her flowers looking as if it had expanded and reddened, and I knew that it had sucked the blood of my martyrs and they were now waving to me in farewell.

“We were eleven displaced people, lost and full of sorrow, traversing the wilderness, where there were many checkpoints, including ISIS militants, including Jabhat al-Nusra, Jaysh al-Islam, the thugs of Fateh, the Wolves of the Jungle, the Kids of Abu Amsha, and others whose identities we did not recognize.

“One night a pickup truck with two people in it was driving by and stopped to get to know us. They introduced themselves as Free Syrian Army and told us to get in the back of the truck and they would take us to the Turkish border where we would find good Syrian people who would help us to cross. We sat in the back gazing around a submachine gun to avoid falling whenever the truck shook because of the rough ground.

“Syria, my daughter, gives birth to prophets, pious and valiant protectors, so calamities only add virtue to it, and tragedies make it generate life

“The next day we were in Turkish territory, and I joined a displaced family waiting for one of their sons to lead them to Europe. When I told them I was impressed by their brotherhood, they told me that they had lost the patriarch of their family who had been martyred in the demonstrations and I thought I, in my old age, was fit to be their elder and that they could be blessed by my presence.

“They were people of chivalry and brotherhood, and I continue to enjoy their care in the refugee camp in this town.”

The old man concluded his story by saying, “Syria, my daughter, gives birth to prophets, pious and valiant protectors, so calamities only add virtue to it, and tragedies make it generate life. Today she is bereaved and tomorrow she is pregnant, and the day after tomorrow she will give birth to honorable people again.”

Magdalene Jarkas
Magdalene Jarkas
A Syrian revolutionary living in Europe

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