4th February 2017
Diana Dayoub’s poem for Syria, her homeland…
The pigeons cooing at my grandmother’s balcony does not sound like the shelling that makes my window shiver every midnight..
My grandma’s olives smell like the countryside; they smell like rosemary and fresh lemons; my grandma’s olives do not smell like dynamite;
On the corner of a forgotten suburb in Damascus, Abu Yousef pulls out stacks of fresh vegetables, lays them down on the pavement, and sits in his small stall to read the morning paper. If you were to delve in one of the boxes, you’ll cross paths with dark red tomatoes and odorous parsley, but not a single batch of bullets or grenades.
Each afternoon, when a dreamy twilight kisses the sky and attaches its heavenly gloom to its impartial blueness, the imam ascends to the mosque’s pulpit and sings a call for prayer;
His rhymes call for harmony and goodwill; they call for compassion and reconciliation, not for murder and bloodbaths..
The narrow allies of Damascus tell stories of love and life, of glory and art; they encode the agitated shouts of mothers and giggles of children; there are no barrel bombs under the fountains or teaspoons of phosphorous in the first kitchen drawer..
And yet, I gaze at an unapologetic statement that strides through the screen of my computer:
“From the outside looking in, Syria appears to be a hornet’s nest of terrorist groups and non-state actors.” –The Daily Mail
When Mohammad Ramadan lifted the glass of water to his lips, felt dizzy as the petrol-flavored liquid ran down his oesophagus, and vomited until the house smelled like a gas station, all media kept Damascus’s thirst veiled and Mohammad’s screams in the emergency room muted. They spoke nothing of how western-backed militias cut the main stream of water from Damascus, leaving 5 million people thirsty at once, for three weeks..
When the sound of crickets in Palmyra was coupled with ISIS’s militant steps, BBC’s living the story drama and the Guardian’s rant on the big picture did not record the beat of horror that arose disturbingly in Palmyra’s night. Next morning, Palmyra was massacred…
When two dynamite-encumbered cars tiptoed to the Syrian coast, thousands of mothers, including mine, lived 20 seconds of horror when some apologetic news declared schools to be a definite target of the death vehicles.
After all schools were evacuated, the car’s splinters rose above a police station, killing most and leaving some disfigured. CNN and the New York Times showered your laptop screen with the Nice, Brussels, and Berlin attacks because let’s face it, some lives do matter more than others..
When an American raid invaded the atmosphere of Raqqa without knocking on the city’s sky, 82 civilians faced their doom.
The Washington Post spoke of the incident three months after its occurrence, claiming that the raid was looking for some ISIS targets, all after burning the city’s features and paralyzing its infrastructure;
On September 10th, 2014, the Obama Administration officially declared that it will back the “moderate rebels” in Syria to the end of fighting ISIS.
Last month, not a single news agency reported the destruction or the humanitarian trauma of West Aleppo perpetrated by the same US-backed factions..
When Homs survived through 2 weeks without electricity, 2 weeks that put life to sleep, mainstream media swept the pain and cold and darkness of Homs under a filthy rug.
They told you that that Western-Arab coalition eradicated a whole lot of ISIS checkpoints and personnel, without speaking one word of the gas fields that were set on fire; they spoke nothing of how the petrol-dependent circuit of life was cut under the mercilessness of December’s frost in at least 6 Syrian provinces.
Despite 6 years of repulsive intervention, backing terrorism, and deceiving the public opinion, mainstream media allies itself to the West’s agendas, whose governments very intervention in Syria festered wounds, nurtured terrorism, and aborted any hope we could scarcely steal from the corners of an unstoppable war..
After 6 years of repulsive intervention, we are banned and sanctioned and frowned upon in airports and searched and displaced and labelled and banned and banned..
After 6 years of repulsive intervention, from the outside looking in, Syria appears to be a hornet’s nest of terrorist groups and non-state actors..
All photos taken by Vanessa Beeley in Aleppo, December 2016 or Damascus July 2016