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Diary from the Syrian Revolution

syria map.jpgDAMASCUS, July 03, 2011 - Friday, in the Arab world, has become the day of revolution instead of  the day of rest. The only places where people are allowed to gather are mosques, and this is why demonstrations start after Friday’s prayers. I woke up early, the birds of Damascus make you wake up early with their Mozart music. They sounded sad to me this time. Even birds are sad for the young victims in Syria.  

I watched the news as I was sipping my Turkish coffee. The Syrian army is “conquering” another poor area in Northern Syria (Idlib) under the false pretext of fighting terrorism. Women and children are fleeing toward the Turkish border, but the army blocked all paths to border.


My wife (her father is Kurdish  and her  mother Circassian)  started to persuade me not to go to the demonstrations today (e.n July 01, 2011): “Basel : you  are not dealing with logical and sane government, these people are still hungry for power and wealth, and they will use all means to destroy the revolution, I am sure they will shoot today even in Damascus. You are too old for this any way”. I assured her that the regime will never use bullets in Damascus which support is decisive to its survival, and I awe it to my people to be a part of the sequel to this affair, but her words were not a  hyperbole, as I found out  later.


I left home early at 12 Midday. I parked very far in the Abou Roumaneh area ( the top district in  Damascus were I grew up). I started walking but I did not see a single familiar face. Things have changed here, new people have replaced the old educated and bourgeoisie class of Damascus (actually the upper middle class) which has been destroyed by the Assad’s dynasty. It just couldn’t resist the unholy and corrupt alliance between the Baathists and the new emerging business class which is connected,  in one way or another, to the close circuit of the ruling family.


I passed by the house where a dear friend lived at Sahet Al Nijmeh ( e’toile ). She has become a well known writer and poet in Europe now. I remembered when she cited her first poem to me: “Airport, Pain Port”, her brownish green eyes on that sunny day were two rivers of sadness.


I walked to  Souk Alhamidiah (built by Ottoman’s Sultan Abdul Hamid  in the early 20th century). I wanted to demonstrate in that area in which the first demonstration in the Syrian revolution took place on March 15, 2011. I saw outside the Souk 10 buses full of thugs. They were chanting as they left the buses while waving with their iron bars and wooden sticks: “Allah, Souria  Bashar”, “Bachar don’t be concerned, you have people who drink blood”,…..


Just like me there were others who wanted to demonstrate, but it was obvious that it was impossible.


I took a cab and headed to the Midan area. As I was moving away from the Souk I remembered what  hypocrites engraved on the corner stone of the Ummayed mosque at the end of the Souk (formerly the Basilica of Saint John the Baptist, built into its present  status in the year 715 G by Sulayman ibn Abd al-Malik, shortly after the death of al-Walid that same year): “Built by Alwalid Ibn abd al Malik , and renovated by the great faithful leader Hafez Assad”. What an ironic paradox, I said to myself, between someone who spread civilization and science, and another who spread fear and stagnation. 

Location, Midan , Damascus , Heart Land of the Damascus Middle Class  

Al Midan is about 2 KM from downtown (which is the Marjeh square). It is well known for being one of the few districts where the majority still comes from the original people of Damascus, like me. Mainly a middle class people with conservative values and open minds.


I wanted to reach Al Hassan mosque on the Midan’s main road (Cornish) which has been a main part of revolution, but the road was blocked  by the secret police. We took a turn to Abou-Habel area in Midan and I found myself in the middle of another demonstration. I joined the crowd. The thugs and secret police didn’t expect two demonstrations in the same area, so the demonstrators were able to march. They went west to the Cornish then north to meet their lads at Al Hassan mosque. They were chanting: “The man who kills his people is traitor”, “We don’t love you Bachar, take your party and go far” , “The people want to topple the regime”, “No dialogue with the murderers  “….


The thugs rushed into the area and pushed the protestors back into the main Abou Habel road. When the protestors saw some of their colleagues getting arrested they were able (for the first time in Damascus) to launch a successful counter attack using  stones and released the detainees.


All of a sudden vans carrying armed secret police men arrived from the south to the main Abou Habel road where I was too. Then shooting started. I was surprised and scared. I asked the ice cream shop keeper near me to give me a shelter, he left only a tiny door open so I couldn’t enter. I walked with my body touching the wall as the shooting intensified and I luckily reached a small alley just 30 meters away. I rushed away to Al Qa’aa area in Midan; a little 13 years kid helped me out of that confusing zone and then I headed back home .

Written by Basel Adnan, Damascus 


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