Recently, twenty three year old Syrian journalist and activist Hiba Dlewati posted what can only be described as a message of weariness and sadness regarding the state of the Syrian Civil War as any hopes for a quick end to the violence there remain out of reach. The conflict, which has pitted majority Sunnis against the ruling minority Shi’ite government headed by Bashar al-Assad, has attracted muslim extremists from all over the world and has spilled over into portions of both Iraq and Lebanon. With well over 100,000 dead in the two year old conflict, Dlewati posted the following words on her Facebook page.
April 5, 2014
I would have loved to share something lighthearted today. Two years ago we stepped out into the Damascene sun and I started heating up in my San Francisco sweatshirt; I then realized how cold it had been those few days underground.
Two years ago, we thought a four-day prison sentence was nothing if but a celebration. And it was worth it because it would all soon be over, the revolution would be victorious, and we could stop this double life and move on to all working together to building and beautifying the Syria we dreamed of; a democracy, equality, peace from constant threats, and freedom.
Two years ago I was surrounded by friends, so many of them they were kicked out of the courthouse and told to wait outside. Amidst the hugs and laughs after our release, one of them jokingly told me, “Lucky, the revolution is almost over and I still haven’t gotten detained; not fair!”
Two years later, one of the five young people I was captured with for peaceful protesting is gone again. He is a medical student, a field doctor, and has been detained under horrible conditions for almost a year now.
The friends who stood outside the courthouse on Al-Nasr Street, or “Victory” Street, are now scattered all over the world. Some are in America, others in Berlin, Istanbul, Iraq, Beirut and Amman, to name a few. Others are still in Damascus. Others yet are in the “liberated” areas.
Two years later, children in southern Damascus are eating crumbs off the street as they starve under siege. Aleppo, or what is left of it, is crumbling under TNT barrel bombs. Beautiful Kessab is getting bombed by Assad, despite all the warning signs. Mortar shells are falling on central Damascus , presumably by rebels who have no idea what they’re doing. A dozen or more prisoners die under torture everyday. Zehran Alloush of the cursed “Islamic Front” is calling for ethnic cleansing of the coast. Civil society activists are detained and slaughtered by ISIS. Syrians break records in art and in refugees. Reporters are flying in fighter jets. Fighters are everywhere and food is nowhere.
Two years ago we never thought it would all fall apart. Two years ago we wouldn’t have dreamed of the epidemic of hate and loss.
Two years ago, a Palestinian friend stood outside Damascus University and relayed his prediction of events. He had a sense of authority about him, the black and white koffiya, the leather jacket, chain smoking, and a head full of Marx, history and politics.
“The Americans will fly in and bomb us here in Damascus a few times. Nothing as bad as what the regime is doing to Homs now, but it will hurt, we are the capital after all. There will be collateral damage, maybe us even, but Assad will leave and we can start cleaning up this mess.”
Two years later, we are all so terribly wrong.
Dlewati’s work for the Michigan Times can be found here.