The trees help us. The olive orchards and lemon trees of Moadamiya are more than just a livelihood. They are friends and allies. More—they are the living legacy of my townsfolk. We love each tree. We know them from childhood, each knot. They put their arms around us. They shade our first love, our family picnics. Some are four hundred years old.
Think about that. What have these trees seen? What tyrants come and go while they stay, patient and wise? While they draw water from deep in the ground and put out their green and yellow fruit with generosity, year after year.
So of course, of course, the Assad regime has been deliberately targeting our beautiful olive groves, on the west and southwest sides of Moadamiya, with its shelling, from the start and even more intensely nowadays.
- Assad’s forces want to destroy our livelihood.
- They want to destroy a food source for our townspeople.
- They are killing our friends, the trees we love.
How can I describe to you the emotions we in Moadamiya feel when we see these trees killed? Bombed and shelled and broken—
My parents suffered the loss of their olive trees in a Palestinian village, in 1948. Today, when an olive tree goes down from Zionist violence in Palestine, the whole activist world mourns. Whole groves of trees are shelled in Syria, and no one hears the sound they make.
No one hears the branches crack and break but us. No one sees the roots shockingly torn above the exploded ground but us.
Hear the trees. If you will not hear the human screams in Syria, hear the ancient screams of the trees.