One Peaceful Village is Attacked Again

For two days now I am getting news that my village Basofan again, located on Lelun Mountain near Afrin in Aleppo countryside, is being shelled by rebel groups. This peaceful place was never part of the war took place in Syria, most of its residents are Kurdish Yazidis, few remained in the village as the majority chose to leave to Germany including many of my family members.

The village is located in a historic area, and attacking it with mortars just to destroy its empty houses and kill the elders remained there with their animals, is outrageous and mad.

It seems that the brotherhood with our fellow citizens was destroyed and relinquished by sectarian minds, and by hearts made ill by illusions of power.

I don’t understand why we Kurds are excluded from being one pillar of the formation of Syria’s future. We wanted to fight together, we wanted to stand beside each other, a dream undermined by blind hatred.

It breaks my heart as an activist and a human to see what hatred is doing to us.

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A Short Introduction on Modern Syrian Theatre


Scene from famous play Ghurbeh (Exile) performed in 1976.

Syria is known for being one pillar for theatre in the Arab World. Theatre in the Levant started with a group of pioneering dramatists like Marun Al Naqqash, Adib Isaac and Abu Khalil Al Qabbani among few others who set the motion for new movement in theatre and musicals in MENA. Abu Khalil Al Qabbani is considered the father of Syrian theatre, one of his first plays is called: The Ungrateful Man (Nakir Al Jameel). He wrote some plays and adapted others from western works. In the beginning, he performed in Damascus and attracted decent audience, but the extremists of that time forced him to put an end to his works in Damascus. He moved to Alexandria-Egypt with his company where he worked there for several years, he died in Damascus in 1903.

Before Abu Khalil Al Qabbani, the only actual entertainment shows were roaming puppet shows (Karagoz and Hacivat puppets) and storytelling in cafes (mainly historic).

A number of theatre companies were formed after the death of Abu Khalil Al Qabbani, but the second rise of theatre in Syria came in 1912 with Abdul Wahhab Abu Al Su’ud who started his own company, Abu Al Su’ud was accompanied by translator and writer M’aroof Al Arna’ut. Most plays used Arab Islamic heritage as a source for its subjects and plots, as well as political situation like the Ottoman empire at that time, and afterwards the French colonization. The director is usually the one who takes care of all arrangements related to the show like writing the script, training actors and promoting the show. Women remained absent from taking part on stage due to religious and social consequences till the 1950’s, before that date most female parts were performed by men.

A more serious movement of the Syrian theatre started in the second half of the 20th century when the Nationalist Company was founded under the umbrella of The Ministry of Culture, taking the stage from a random scattered performances controlled by individuals into a financially supported and technically organized one. After the defeat of 1967 before Israel, a new kind of art was crystalized in MENA which is the Committed Art: Any form of artistic expression that is committed to the cause of land rights and way of life, and theatre was part of it.

Between the 60’s and 90’s, Syrian theatre witnessed an unprecedented surge of plays and thoughts. Famous names like Saadallah Wannous, Muhammad Al Maghut and Mamdouh Adwan shined as playwrights as their works were transformed into timeless performances in Syria and touched the conscious of many generations. Their works discussed political and social matters.

Baath Party came a time when theatre was already in on the rise, many of the writers were politically oppressed, but their production continued till their death. The atmosphere of oppression in Syria prevented any authentic artistic production in theatre, as the elite continued performing foreign plays, mainly taken from former Soviet Union regions. Since the 80’s, TV became the main destination for anyone who works in arts field for making a living. Although many efforts continued to revive the stage, but most productions were either without any message or the message was politically guided by authorities.

The purpose of writing this introduction is because I wanted to look into a question the stagnant status of a form of art I love, after I watched a Syrian play entitled: Under The Sky (The show took place in Dubai on the 17th, 18th and 19th of February 2016). The play was a long heartbreaking monologue of a mother who lost her children in the first stage of Syrian uprising before the burst of civil war, we can describe it as a humanitarian play; it’s message is: No one wins or lose in war, this is death.


Scene from the play Under The Sky preformed in 2016.

The performance of the actress Yara Sabri was moving, I was a bit shaken in the beginning by the intensity of the introduction and the pain that haunts me as a Syrian, but the monologue went through a stereotypical course. The idea did not look beyond our situation in 2013, however, this is understood as I don’t believe that a single work can trace all transformations and tragedy of 5 years of war when hundred of thousands of art works were made for each and every nuance of it.

Syrian theatre still uses recitative tool for expression, not argumentative nor controversial one, it does not tackle thoughts that we took for granted, which I believe this is the main rule of art beside maintaining our empathy in the face of modern distractions, and not mere entertainment.

For me, theatre seems the last resort to watch untainted raw acting, no matter how much special effects are introduced but the stage is the measure for quality of a performed thought.



P.S. I was questioning my legitimate use of Syria before 1916, because the area was part of the Ottoman empire before that.





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رسالة المحاصر في مضايا: الانتحار ولا الجوع

صحافة غير منضبطة

Screenshot 2016-01-08 07.08.44فداء عيتاني:

انتهى النهار ببيان توضيحي طويل لحزب الله حول حصار مضايا، وباعلان عن موعد غامض لارسال المساعدات اليها، وعلى الهاتف يصلني صوت صديقي اليومي من مضايا وقد ترك عدة رسائل خلال النهار.

“اخي كيفكم؟ اليوم اتت الموافقة من النظام (السوري) على ادخال المساعدات الى مضايا، في الصباح وقبل الخبر كانت وجوه الناس صعبة التفسير كما يقال، وجوه سوداء، مقلوبة، ولا تحمل الا الهم، بعد الظهر انقلبت الامور رأسا على عقب، فلم تبق بندقية في مضايا لدى السكان لم يطلق منها الرصاص ابتهاجا”.

“بالامس لم اخبرك، ولكنني كنت واثق بان الاطفال لن يصمدوا اكثر من ايام قليلة، كنت اعتقد بانهم سيموتون قريبا كلهم، والان تغير الوضع، على امل ان تدخل المساعدات غدا او بعد غد”.

“منشان الله اذا عم خبرك لا تضحكوا علينا، اليوم مررت باطفال في الشارع، كانوا قد حصلوا على شتول للزراعة، وهي مليئة بالوحل، وراحوا يأكلونها، سألت احدهم عما يفعله، فاجابني: سأموت من الجوع، منذ يومين لم…

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Starvation War and Another Star Extinguished by ISIS



The Starvation of Madaya

Again, the tactic of starvation is used in Syria. The city of Madaya is besieged is starved to death now by Assad puppet regime and its allies. Again the world is silent, and again the crimes against humanity is immune, the political game in Syria has so much powerful impunity that we were introduced to unimaginable barbarity and brutality.

People in the city of Madaya are starved to kneel. Syrians in Madaya are walking skeletons, eating cats, dogs and other animals, eating tree leaves, and having water and dried mint soup!

Do I dare to call for justice anymore? Do I dare to demand holding those responsible for such crimes accountable? Or the game requires in Syria inhuman measures to be set? Is it too late now after many major states on earth are taking a part in the death machine?

Calling upon humanitarian organisations to take aid and food to Madaya as soon as possible. We will always shout for justice from the deepest corners in our throats.



The Assassination of Nissan Ibrahim


Nissan Ibrahim

She was the first woman civil journalist to document ISIS crimes in the city of Raqqah-Syria, and she was assassinated by ISIS for exposing their horrid actions and twisted ideology. She did it while taking a fake name “Nissan” which is also my first name.

This brave young woman held a degree in philosophy. She devoted herself to the values she believed in, and to shatter ISIS stands and values in the areas where the terrorist group occupy in Syria. ISIS is a plague tearing up communities apart with sick hatred and criminal dogma.

We lost many courageous men and women in this war who died for their beliefs and visions of a better future. We write about them so words would preserve their flame among us.

Rest in peace Nissan.

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Do Not Let the Refugees Fall into Void


Reuters: A Syrian refugee holding a baby in an inflated tube

Almost three months passed since the world was horrified when the picture of Syrian Kurdish 3-year-old Alan Kurdi emerged on media showing his lifeless small body laying peacefully on the sand in a serene eternal sleep. The child drowned in the Mediterranean Sea with his older brother when their family was trying to reach a better place after their home in Kobani – Syria was stormed by ISIS. The young soul’s ordeal started an international movement for refugees pouring into Europe, and by fewer numbers into other parts of the world. The story of Alan is only one among thousands of stories that passed unnoticed.

No Syrian wanted to leave home. We thought that we will build a better country for us, we thought we are passing to the future, we wanted to stay here in our homes and regain some of our rights. For five years we called for no-fly zones to protect some towns and establish safe shelters for refugees. Many times we called for humanitarian corridors, but our voices were ignored. Over and over again, we said that all this destruction will create a void, and inside the nothingness, extremists, killers and thugs will lurk and consume people’s hope. After years of war, desperation drove thousands to search for alternative ways to live peacefully and preserve what is left of their dignity.

Thousands of lives were shattered, despair crawled deep into our spirits. Syrian children are suffering from fear and anxiety, adults from fear and gloomy tomorrow. According to UNHCR, there are more than 4.2 million Syrian registered refugees, 2.1 million in Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt, and 1.9 million in Turkey. About 26,700 are registered in North Africa. Between 2011 and Oct 2015, the number of Syrian asylum application in Europe reached 681,713 distributed mainly between Germany, Sweden, Serbia, Kosovo, Hungary, Austria, Netherlands and Bulgaria, and other countries. OCHA estimates the number of total displaced Syrians about 10.8 million of the country’s 22 million population. These numbers were registered in mid 2014, which means now that the majority of Syrian population are fleeing for their lives. Without mentioning the thousands killed, disappeared and arrested.

After waiting for so long, and as the world started to forget what Syrians are going through, people decided to take matters into their hands and seek for themselves for their rights to have a normal, safe and decent lives, similar to millions of people around the world. Syrians marched, they found a way. Everyday, rubber boats carry dozens in a life threatening journey in the Mediterranean Sea from Turkey’s shores to Greek’s Islands. Many used their life’s savings to take a one-way ticket toward either a new life or toward death. Refugees packed the remnants of their past and set off for the unknown.

When my brother decided to take the journey of death we didn’t try to persuade him to stay, the choice is either taking the risk in the sea or engage in a bloody war. He climbed over a rubber boat with dozens of men, women and children. On the way from Turkey to Greece, the boat stopped in the middle of the sea, and the young men in the boat stroke the water back to the Turkish shores, fixed the boat and tried again. They reached a Greek island by dawn, and from there my brother got help from a group of monks in that island, a Greek female doctor welcomed him and his friends in her own house, and others on his way to Sweden where he is trying his best today to show that he is a good samaritan. Such actions of altruism presented to many refugees in their long journeys manifest the essence of humanity. We are grateful for the humans in Europe and around the world who cried for us, those who welcomed them in their homes, those who greeted them in bus and train stations, those who shared the journey with them taking aid and water. These actions revealed to us what could the future of humanity would look like, a future we wish to witness one day.

These refugees are searching for a life, and it is not easy to replace all what one has ever knew, it is not easy to start over again, to try to heal and forget, this needs courage, and cannot be done without compassion.

Preventing the people from seeking their right in having a stable life is not an answer to stop the madness, on the contrary, keeping refugees in the nothingness will make them lose faith in a sympathetic and human world, keeping people in the limbo does not solve any issue, shutting them out behind TV screens and just observing their agony will shatter all of the promises of a better world for us. Inclusion and empathy is the only response to fight fear. People are living under terrorism everyday in Syria, trying to survive and find a meaning and an answer for why all this is happening to us in the post “Never Again” era?

Placing the blame of criminal actions committed by few terrorists on the shoulders the victims will empower the criminals. Doubting the just cause of the refugees will make those carrying hatred smile in their shameful victory. Instead of pushing the refugees back to where they will be used, exploited and killed, they must be welcomed, they must be shown that there is a way to practice their humanity and be worthy to have an equal opportunity to live in our global community.

The way this world deals with refugees’ crisis is not specific to Syrians, it will send a message to the entire world regarding the world’s current stand to human rights. Our war today is not a war of religions, races and nations, our war in this age is to preserve the human values and principles many men and women fought for through history till today, by their great achievement and simple heroic daily actions, in order to reach equal opportunities for all and seek a better day for the entire world.

What is left for us Syrians right now is to fight the void where nothing grows there but hatred and insanity represented by criminals continue to kill and spread grudges mercilessly and tirelessly all around the world. What you can do now is help the rest of us to fight this void by empathy and preserving the values of democracy, liberty, equality, and dignity, through lighting a candle in your heart so we can all pass into a better humanity.

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Enforced Disappearances in Syria: An Open Wound

Rania AlAbbasi and her family went missing after Syrian regime security forces took them all.

Rania AlAbbasi and her family went missing after Syrian regime security forces took them all.

On the 5th of November 2015, Amnesty published a report on the Enforced Disappearances in Syria and how this crime against humanity ignited the black markets as relatives desperate to find their loved ones pay money and exploited mercilessly by Syrian government’s officers and employees in exchange for a tip about their loved ones whereabouts. The number of missing people reach thousands.

My family went through an insane and horrible experience with enforced disappearance when one of our loved ones disappeared for several months before showing up miraculously and by mere coincidence. During that time no money was offered to anyone due to our awareness that if we pay then our disappeared relative might not show up till we are entirely drained. Sadly, others were overwhelmed by the anonymity of their relatives’ fate, they hang on any faint hope, and for that hope they relentlessly pay huge amounts of money. Most of these people either never know what happened to their disappeared relatives, or their disappeared relatives found dead under torture. A friend and a relative disappeared in 2011, was found by coincidence when other relative searched in Caesar’s leaked pictures of detainees tortured to death, this came after his father paid loads of money to know where his son was.

Despite all this, we rarely hear about this issue in regional and international forums, both political and humanitarian. Syrian regime is using the disappeared and people in prisons to finance the loyalty of its thugs. Once a person disappears, its relatives search in all hospitals and police stations, afterwards the search start in intelligence centers through middlemen, but no one can know for sure who is inside these black holes, officers of the Syrian regime take money in exchange of promises to bring a word about the disappeared if he/she was inside their center or not. If the disappeared was inside or not, why wasting a desperate cash machine! Some people lose everything they own in their search.

People use middlemen because they will risk their own arrest and disappearance if they search in intelligence centers by themselves. We need to do more regarding this matter, the sufferings of the disappeared and their families is an open wound in Syria.

To read Amnesty’s report, please click here.

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The first civil marriage in Kobani أول زواج مدني في كوباني

Madina Blog مـدوّنـة مَـــدِيـــنَـــة

أول زواج مدني في كوباني، زوجين كرديين سوريين جميلين، وأمل يُبرعم رغم الدمار.. بهذا تكتسب الثورات اسمها.
The first civil marriage in Kobani, Syria. A beautiful Kurdish Syrian couple and hope in the midst of destruction. Civil marriage is a near-impossibility in the whole Middle East, but that’s why it’s called a revolution!


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The Syrian Revolution and the crisis of the anti-war movement


Suddenly, everyone is talking about Syria. Saturday’s demonstration will be in solidarity with all refugees, but a Syrian refugee is one of the key organisers. Campaigners from the Syria Solidarity Movement UK and Stop the War Coalition are among those involved in the planning, along with many other organisations. Everyone should welcome this commitment to unity against the government’s treatment of refugees and other migrants.

However, as the UK government and mainstream media attempt to divert public sympathy for Syrian refugees into a panic about “jihadists” and support for bombing campaigns and drone killings of British citizens in Syria, it is important that we have solidarity and anti-war movements fit for purpose.

As part of an ongoing discussion, Mark Boothroyd, who was a founding member of the Syria Solidarity Movement UK, argues that the mainstream anti-war movement has failed Syrian revolutionaries struggling against a brutal dictatorship.

Demonstration on the anniversary of the Ghouta massacre, London Aug 2015. Photo: Steve Eason Demonstration on the anniversary…

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To be or not to be that is the question, and we will be

One of the refugees quoted Shakespeare’s famous phrase: To be or not to be, that is the question,

and we will be.

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My fingers are bent backward


For a while now, I was pondering on my inability to write about Syria. The reasons and results for this are equally making me ashamed, angry and void. But it seems it is not just me going through this phase of dispiritedness, it seems that this is a collective state among many activists in Syrian civil society who engaged in the Syrian uprising from the beginning, then they found themselves in the wilderness of apathy, waiting for a Godot to appear.

Recently I was reading an article written by Syrian activist Marcel Shahwaro, she said that one editor in Global Voices asked her why isn’t she writing? She said that after all what happened in Syria she feels that she lost her fingers. Something similar in my case, I didn’t lost mine, but my fingers were bent backward. There is a collective sense of despair among us. We learned that everything we were told before was a group of lies, what we were told about our nature, and the nature of this world. Thousands of crimes committed in Syria and criminals got immunity by an international system which always bombarded us with its “civilized ethics” and “The Right of Self-determination.” No matter what we do to clarify the situation in Syria, we are still getting “It is too complex to be solved,” and by this statements thousands are left to the mercy of different kinds of fates, all are unbearable.

I just heard that UN wants to discuss who used Chemical Weapons in Syria, just now, they claim they don’t know yet. Douma massacre took place several weeks ago while a UN official was in Damascus discussing with the tyrant ways of increasing aid to one party in this war, where did neutral stands go? It makes me angry when I know that UNESCO can see how ISIS destroyed historical sites, but strangely all satellites are blind when it comes to areas hit by surface-to-surface missiles, or buildings were living humans inhabited were destroyed by TNT barrels. One thing is for sure, ISIS and other terrorist groups can only be faced by genuine empowerment of the people in Middle East, not International Coalition that includes most advanced powerful states in the world, but are not succeeding in getting rid of several thousands of primitive and backward individuals.

The despair we are going to was shaken a bit by the compassion of many people moved for the refugees crisis. The people are more human than their governments. Still I am not impressed, not after I saw one of my friends’ pictures among the 55000 images of tortured innocents in Syrian regime’s prisons, not after I saw my uncle’s images online after a sniper shot him when he was returning home from the bakery, not after the Chemical Massacre in Ghouta, not when I know that thousands are still killed in most brutal ways, and not after seeing criminal extremists destroying what we started.

Not a single issue in Syria was solved, not the issue of besieged areas, not the issue of “lost generation,” not arial strikes against civilians, not rape, not refugees crisis, not prisoners and the forced disappearances and certainly not ISIS, on the contrary, all what we hear by world leaders is that the Syrian tragedy will last for years, as if there is a decision that we should just go into eternal oblivion.

I am striving to write, but my fingers are mutilated by apathy, and it hurts.

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