Flashes from the Life of a Wanted Syrian

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Enab Baladi Issue # 100– Sun, Jan. 20, 2014

الثورة السوريةOsaymah Saleh

I open my eyes minutes before the alarm set off, after a couple of hours of troubled sleep, nightmares about my detained friends and my family haunt me; I have not heard a word about some of my friends; bad news came about others, yet I still hope they are rumors; whereas the regime threatened to hurt my family unless I turn myself in.

I get up, and head to the sparkling screen to resume my work using a modern laptop I have always dreamt of having; however having it today did not give me satisfaction, but rather placed a responsibility and a burden. I still have my cup of Nescafé though it has lost its taste as I lost the memories that used to accompanied it: my house, my room, me hasting every morning so I won’t be late for my class, or for my job.

I have lost every sense of time as I spend days hiding in house where I am wary of leaving and where no one comes around except for a friend who provides me with the necessities every now and then. I feel I am losing my humanity bit by bit as I am getting used to the cutout of social and direct communications with others. My calls to my mother were getting shorter and shorter everytime, as the fear of hearing her voice trembling overcomes my yearning for hearing her voice blessing me and praying for my safety.

Today, filled with fear and anticipation, I move to another place in another area. I miss moving in the crowded streets among people with familiar faces, though I may not know them personally. I so much prefer that to being in a fancy care with a war merchant who traded on his privileges and used his security card -that gives him a free pass through checkpoints- to “smuggle” me to my new destination in return for a couple of thousand pounds; however, fear fills me that he may betray me and do his superiors the courtesy of turning me in, or perhaps in return of another couple of thousands.

Cherished memories come flooding back as the car quickly –or so I thought- passes the park I used to go to with family when I was a kid, the crowded street that I frequently passed walking to avoid the jam, and the café where I used to hang out with my friends watching football matches, and paying attention to the league’s results more than to college exams.

Today, the road is clogged up with regime’s checkpoints and barricades; the park has been left abandoned; whereas the café seemed pale as most of its tables became vacant. A wry smile flickers on my face as I realize that I have no idea who is the football league champion. The smile almost instantly vanishes, and I feel a lump in my throat as I remember my friends. Most of them have left the country in fear of their lives, in pursuit of scratching a living, or in search of a life better than this “mess” that ruined their future; one of them is still in detention, and the other has given up our friendship as I supported the Syrian revolution and I become involved in revolutionary activities.

I feel I am fleeing into one exile after another, and I feel I am locked in struggle with myself every time the right and the wrong blend. Every now and then, pains, distress, and sorrows overcome me and set me back – I feel I am losing what is left in me of life. Yet, when I recall the fallen heroes -whom I have known personally, heard about their merits, or met knowing only their aliases- I face up to the responsibility I bear towards them, to continue what they started and what they paid their lives for; the memory of them strengthen my belief in a better future, and though it may still be distant, yet it is to be achieved with our efforts.

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