Reversed Migration. Back Home

Reversed Migration. Back Home

Unknown super power keeps brining me here; this here that I have never been at before the revolution and haven’t belonged to.

In here, I am sitting in dark behind layered-thick curtains, which are created to prevent any sightseen of the “Harreem-women” staying in houses.

Even balconies here are covered with dark-colored hangings, so if you want to look to the street in front of your building, you have to sneak your head out of a small hole of them. It’s a deadly sin here for a woman to be seen in her house even if she was wearing what she wears in the street (long gloomy coat and veil), because neighbors- who haven’t fled yet- would gossip about her and start creating stories about her being in love with a neighbor or trying to seduce a husband, which are stigmas in the girl’s portfolio, that will be studied closely when someone proposed.

Here, men walk couple of steps ahead of women, even if she is his wife or mother, for some traditions that I don’t get! And seeing a newly married couple holding hands in street is a just a fancy dream. Showing love in these conservative areas is forbidden and shameful, unlike showing off war acts, weapons, killing and chopped off heads.

Here I wake up at 9:00 am despite the night-long constant shelling and bombing by Assad forces, electricity is cut off, I turn my talkie-wakie on to hear what’s going on and head to the kitchen to make my café, as every day, I start my morning with my neighbor’s screaming at his wife; reasons varied from day to other such as: giving permission to his daughter to visit her friend, beating his boy for disobeying her etc..

I raise the volume of my favorite Tracy Chapman’s track “would you change”, now the sound of a fight jet is taking over, I make the music louder to compete the horrifying noise, lacy sings “if u knew you would die today, would you change”, I smile, I haven’t just changed, I am completely a different person since I started expecting death on daily bases. My previous red lines vanished, why would I care about traditions, society, and people’s gossip if I might die today! Why would I cope with people I don’t like! I don’t have time to waste on doing things I don’t enjoy; that might look centralized and selfish but why to care about what it looks like! This could be my last day in this world!

I run away from going deeper with ideas, back to my routine. I don’t forget to put on my anti-aging moisturizer while Assad’s fight-jet is hovering above my head. I counted more than 8 raids in an hour today! I wish I have enough writing skills to describe its voice to you, the horror when time freezes, the burning waiting for the final sound (the explosion), wondering: is it me, some one I know, a stranger? Should I wish the heartless pilot would go for the stranger choice to reduce the pain I am already feeling for losing many friends? But the stranger is the one for other person…

The sound is finally over so do the endless thoughts, and now it is mortars’ turn, much peaceful.

On the talkie walkie they are talking about massacres caused by explosive barrels in 2 neighbors, couple of km away from where I

Looking up, waiting for death sent from Assad by a barrel

Looking up, waiting for death sent from Assad by a barrel

am living, killing 80 civilians.

Now a fighter friend just knocked on my door, he brought me bread and some grocery along with a goodbye hug as he is heading to join his Islamic battalion in their battle to liberate the air force intelligence branch. Yes some Jihadists do give hugs to their female friends.

Tow of the hardest things in living here are: fearing for my friends and the great people I meet here, and as being a female activists, I can’t do anything on my own here; I always need a male, any male, by my side.

Local women can do their food shopping on their own, but I look different even if I put a headscarf on, I will still look different, maybe because I don’t wear the long black coat, or it’s just small neighborhood where everyone knows everyone.

I brought some canned food that I can survive by in case my male friends are busy on front lines, as these 3 days, and I am living depending on them. The only thing I needed was bread, which my caring friend brought before going to his battle.

To change the subject and escape being terrified for him, I will tell you about the conditions of the basic services here.

Water is available and working fine; electricity is on around 12 hours a day, the sate’s one beside the generator’s line that I pay monthly subscription for (the Lebanese way of providing alternative electricity). And it’s still surprise me that Assad actually still ruin us with his blessing and serve us with electricity while his jets bomb us! Providing 3 services at once: Electricity, water and quick collective death. How generous!

The shelling has intensified; I moved to the inner room, mosques are calling people with O- blood group to donate to the closet field hospital. The battle obviously is in its peak. Fearing for my friends take over, I can’t write anymore.

Aleppo city 10 April-2014

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عن Zaina Erhaim

صحفية سوريّة٫ درست الإعلام في جامعة دمشق ثم الترجمه في جامعة التعليم المفتوح بدمشق أيضاً. بدأت عملي الصحفي مع موقع "سيريانيوز" عام ٢٠٠٤ قبل أن انتقل للعمل مع قناة المشرق "الأورينت" منذ تأسيس مكتبهم في دمشق إلى أن أغلقته المخابرات السورية عام ٢٠٠٨. بدأت عندها بالعمل مع جريدة الحياة٫ وكتبت في عدد من صفحاتها ك "ميديا٫ منوعات٫ ومجتمع". عام ٢٠١٠ حصلت على منحة من وزارة الخارجية البريطانية لدراسة الماجستير في المملكة المتحدة (تشيفنيغ)٫ ودرست الماجستير في مجال الإعلام الدولي (المرئي والمسموع) من جامعة سيتي في لندن عملت بعدها في تلفزيون بي بي سي العربي لعام٫ ثم تركتها لأعود سوريا وحالياً أعمل مع معهد صحافة السلم والحرب IWPR كمستشارة ومدرّبة. Award winning Syrian journalist, named among the 100 Most Powerful Arab Women 2016 by Arabian Business and Unsung heroes of 2016 by Reuters Thomson. ٍReceived Index on Censorship, Freedom of Expression award in 2016, Press Freedom Prize by Reporters Without Borders and Peter Mackler Award for Ethical and Courageous Journalism in 2015 besideMustafa Al Husaine award for the best article written by a young journalist. She has been working as the Syria project coordinator for IWPR for the last 4 years, trained more than 100 media activist on journalism basics and made a series of short films named Syria Rebellious Women.

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