Hunger Strike, Day 18: Stop Blaming Alexa!

Posted: December 15, 2013 by StopTheSiege in Uncategorized
Snowy Moadamiya, Dec 2013

Snowy Moadamiya, Dec 2013

Wasn’t able to write yesterday because I was so mad at the entire world. I was freezing in body, burning in heart.

I walked around Moadamiya while the snow was falling, and I saw my town covered with white death. The thick snow killed the simple vegetables that some of the families tried to plant to feed themselves.

Many children were taken to our field hospital to get treated for very bad colds, and there was nothing the doctors could do except give them painkillers because we are very short of medicine.

Doctors are also treating a lot of Moadamiya civilians for stomach pains and worms and other digestive problems related to eating things that may not really be fit for eating.  Leaves of random trees, domestic animals…who knows what has gone into their guts these four months.

Left the field hospital angry as a bull. Went back home forgetting all about my freezing starved body and killing bad back pain. Signed in to Facebook and Skype to do some work, but all I saw is more Syrian kids froze to death, more shit about Geneva 2, the expansion of the Islamic extremists in the FSA, more crap about new truce the regime is planning to offer us, and of course more dumbheads who are willing to fall for this trick again.

Dammit. I felt my heart pumping fire instead of blood through my body.

I felt that, in a way, all the world has the icy blood of freezing children of Syria on its hands, starting with Bashar the damn Assad and his allies, the hypocrites of the Western governments who only care about their benefits and getting rid of Assad’s chemicals but don’t care about the damage his other weapons are doing, the greedy politicians of the Syrian opposition, and let’s not forget corrupt FSA leaders, and even my small attempts to make a difference.

One way or another, we all have the iced blood of the freezing children of Syria on our hands, so please stop blaming Storm Alexa!

Hunger Strike, Day 17: Nights of Sorrow

Posted: December 13, 2013 by StopTheSiege in Uncategorized

“Northern nights of sorrow

Go on remember me, remember me

My beloved asks about me

Northern nights of sorrow

Oh, my love, I am a bird in the field

My family promised me to the sun and the street

Oh, my love”

It’s a song by Fairouz. I’ve been listening to it over and over since since yesterday. It makes me feel high, in a strange way. Maybe because the lyrics echo what’s going on in my head? The sad winter taking what’s left of our smiles, the emptiness I feel when I walk on the destroyed streets of our town, my family and my mom, who I haven’t seen in over a year and a half, and my girlfriend, my love who stopped talking to me few months ago because she fears that she’ll call asking about me one day and find that I’m dead due to shelling, starvation or any of the other ways Assad is killing us.

A blanket of beautiful white snow has covered Moadamiya, which has disrupted my internet connection. I normally love snow, but these days, its beauty can harbor deadliness. How can I be so selfish, spending time thinking about my shadows of happiness, while more than 25 people, including women and children froze to death yesterday in our besieged towns, in the refugee camps and in Assad prisons? I heard that over a dozen prisoners froze to death in Aleppo’s central prison. I know well how they make you sit in those tiny cold cells without any clothes, or if you’re lucky, with your underwear. In a winter such as this one, they must have known that those bodies would not survive.

A Syria where human life and dignity are respected, that’s what we’re fighting for and I know that one day it will be ours.

But tonight is another night of sorrow. Syrian nights of sorrow.

Hunger Strike, Day 16: The Scream

Posted: December 11, 2013 by StopTheSiege in Uncategorized
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“Scream of Freedom” by Syrian Artist Wisam Al-Jazairy

I can’t feel my toes. They’re frozen. Goddammit to hell.  Yes, the fire of hell would be very useful right now for the children of Syria freezing to death in the besieged towns and the refugee camps this winter.

The heat of hell could ease some of the pain I am feeling right now in both of my freezing legs, so I can get out of my basement and go walking in the streets of Moadamiya and scream out loud:  Fuck you Bashar, and fuck each and every person standing behind you, and fuck all the corrupt ones among the rebels and FSA leaders whose idiocy let Bashar get us to this point.

God. I wanna punch the sky and fight with the wind to stop it from freezing a starved people. Stop it! Stop adding to the suffering of homeless refugees.

God forgive me, and please give us your mercy and strength to fight the cold. Goddamn the cold.

People in my town are trying to gather anything they can find from the rubble of the destroyed houses, wood, plastic, anything blowing in the wind.

Oh my darling Syria, what have they done to you?

Killed, raped, bombed, displaced, gassed, starved and now froze your sons and daughters, just because they didn’t want to see you a free lady choosing your own lover.

Hush, hush now don’t cry or you are gonna make me start crying too, Syria.  It’s a dark freezing night. Cover yourself well and sleep on your wounds another night and have a sweet dream about your knight in shining armor coming on a fast horse, and let me have my own sweet dream about the hot fire of hell.

Cold. Cold down to my bones. Three pairs of socks, layers of clothes later—still cold in my dark basement. Back pain has traveled down into my leg, but I walk to the home of a friend with a fireplace–must get warm.

A fireplace is a treasure in Moadamiya. Gathering wood is really risky, because the woods of Moadamiya are right under Fourth Division scopes. So people burn anything instead—plastic bottles, bags. Heat is worth the fumes. Besides, after surviving Sarin gas, what’s a little bit of fumes, right?

Family and friends huddle around the fire, about a dozen of us, kids and adults, men and women. (And if the extremist armed Islamists in other parts of Syria don’t like that, they can kiss my ass. Moadamiya hasn’t had to deal with them up close, so far—and I think their presence is exaggerated in the media. A lot of guys look Islamist, but aren’t. Long beards are just easier than shaving.)

My stomach is empty, the coffee is mostly water, but my spirit is full of blessings. We have so many wins to count. We have won the knowledge of how brave Syrians are, a whole generation of us. We have won ourselves.

Never mind the regime tanks, and the shelling (twice today). Shelling is boring. Barca’s chances, that’s the buzz around the fire. Real Madrid sucks! Go, Barca! The next game is super important. Will players keep the faith?BarcaAreChamps,andSoIsSyrianRev

Hunger Strike, Day 14: Hell Unleashed

Posted: December 9, 2013 by StopTheSiege in Uncategorized

qusai pic-closeupThe rain—of shells—kept going today. It just keeps raining on Moadamiya.

Ten tanks are reportedly headed this way from the regime’s military airbase at Mazzeh right now. So tomorrow looks to be another red hellish day of regime assault on my hometown. I’m going to the front with my camera, and to be honest, if I’m needed, I’ll take up defense. I’m not going to abandon my friends and not defend my town.

The hungry are still hungry. That’s all for now. I’m exhausted and need to get some rest.

Hunger Strike, Day 13: Not Just a Movie…

Posted: December 8, 2013 by StopTheSiege in Uncategorized

FotoFlexer_PhotoThey’re burning the earth today. Fierce shelling by the regime forces surrounding Moadamiya—ground-to-ground rockets, MiGs. It felt like 500 shells exploded on this town today. Four of them barely missed me.

Five of my townspeople were wounded in today’s bombing. They had to be dragged inside. Two of them were little kids—a girl and a boy. Unlike the Helm’s Deep battle in Lord of the Rings, which I’ve seen a million times, there are no caves where the children and women can hide. They’re doing their best in basements.

In the movie, the enemy army got blinded for a minute by the rising sun, right when reinforcements ride on their horses to save all the people. We need the sun to help us, a bunch of charging horses—anything.

So far, the FSA brigades at the edges of town are holding the “Orcs” back.  The talk is that the regime is going to try again to storm the town tomorrow, big-time.

“What can men do against so much hate?” (-Lord of the Rings)

1452105_264133030403685_1653121946_nIt was the rain of shells. The shelling by Assad regime on Moadamiya yesterday brought down the minaret of Rawda Mosque, where we all used to gather before getting into the street to shout “Freedom!” and “the people want the fall of the regime!”

Seeing that minaret cut down on the ground was like a wound for all of us Have you ever seen a landmark of your land crushed by the bombs of an enemy?

The shelling did not only bring down the minaret. The shelling brought down the regime’s negotiations for a ceasefire. It changed something inside my town, my Moadamiya. Seeing that minaret down yesterday made us all start remembering the early days of peaceful protests, and the friends we have lost to regime bullets since those days.

My buddy and near neighbor is one of them, a young man in his prime. We called him Abu’l Khayr, and he was killed about a year ago. Then there was a town elder everyone used to call “the Mufti.” His name is Said Douba; he was killed by the regime. There are others, so many to mourn. So many recent widows, so many recent orphans. So much grief.

Suddenly the idea of handing over fifty of our own townspeople into the arms of the regime started to taste sour to most of the people in Moadamiya. It tasted like betrayal. Those Council members amongst us who still argued today for meeting all the regime’s demands and pre-conditions were talking in the wind. Because even for starving people, betrayal can make you more nauseous than hunger.