Aids or Insults
Enab Baladi Issue # 101– Sun, Jan. 27, 2014
Waiting for hours at the door of one of the relief organizations located in the city of Damascus, Om Wael queues in a huge line for one meal every two months. After being forcibly displaced from her hometown Daraya, Om Wael had to register herself and family with this organization, so she can guarantee some kind of aid per month or every two months or even more than that. The fact that the family book of hers has been stamped and sealed showing she is being supported, deprives her from the right of getting any help or support from any other association of this kind. That is almost the situation of the majority if the displaced who where forced to leave their cities, villages and towns after suffering from continuous bombardments, long-term siege and severe fights between the Free Syrian Army and the regime’s forces. “Time of multiple humiliations” is the time the displaced spend waiting at the doors of such organizations for registration, or the gates of aids associations to get help, as lots of them describe it. They feel prostrated for their need of assistance; get humiliated by the associations’ staff who are supposedly required to arrange the queue and facilitate delivering the aids, and not to mention the contempt shown by the regime forces who can be at such areas at times.
Om Husam, a displaced woman from the city of Muaddamiya, has been subjected to a great deal of humiliation by a relief organization’s janitor, trying to persuade him to allow her meet one of the staff, given she’d been booked to meet him and so she was not supposed to line up for that. However, after her repeated attempts failed, the janitor started to swear at her justifying his attitude as a kind of policy application. Her only reaction was looking at him with a smile saying the absolutely most expressive phrase would be said in such a situation; do you offer aids or insults! Om Husam said that such policies are not applicable to all people. In fact, she was shocked by the arrival of some soldiers of the regime’s army at that association to get their meals, ignoring all the queuing people and breaking all the laws and policies imposed by that association.
These exceptions do not only cover the soldiers, some other people like Duaa for example; a displaced lady from Daraya, have managed to get double amount of aids from two different associations without being asked to provide any usually-requested supporting documents for her claim. Although the second one she resorted to knew she had got what’s necessary, her relationship with one of the staff had facilitated her request.
A member of one of these associations said, the way some staff members behave is due to the intensive pressure they are subjected to, as well as to their attempt to keep control over the association seeking for more solid structure and avoiding any possible mess. On the other hand, the displaced describe those associations as one example of chaos and defiance. They often fail to meet the least required level of helping and supporting the needy.
In spite of all the suffers, humiliations and insults the displaced get exposed to at the doors of relief associations, or the places where aids are distributed, they grudgingly continue to wait and queue and handle the insults just to survive their lives and families and to protect themselves from what it could be worse than insults.
Translated by: Rahaf Al Abbar