Week Two Assignment - The journey
Syria! where tens of thousands of young men and women , the elders and children, are arrested and driven into the unknown; the security branches, secret interrogation rooms, and places of torture. Or the secret burial places of many corpses were yesterday alive!
They're driven from the places of demonstrations and sit-ins, as well as of the many checkpoints in the country. I saw young men thrown to the ground and then violently pushed from behind after tying their hands to the back and pushing their heads down with lifting their shirts up to cover their heads and eyes while they're being violently driven away .. Into the unknown!!
One of my cousins was arrested with no charge and tortured before he was released. Other one was kidnapped and killed. My cousin's husband and son were killed also. The father while bombing and the son while he was getting his father body out of the hospital to burry! He and his uncle were shot during an armed clash was going there.
All of my cousins who have been killed or missing are young men….
Women and girls are not luckier.
When I was detained at a checkpoint, I was not told why or how long I must wait for the bus to arrive at the place and pick me up with other two guys who were detained and waiting there too. I had to wait and wait for the worse. I had to suffer silently. When the security man released me later for that it was similar names as he said, I got a sharp threat though. He told me it would probably happen again at any of the checkpoints. I needed to know why. But I got no clear answer.
–similar names again?!- could be, or security report against you. – Why? No answer
It’s exactly the situation in Syria! All questions have no answers!!
And …its only waiting after waiting!!
Many women are being killed, arrested/missing, or kidnapped by armed groups. Waiting for relatives to pay a ransom to the kidnappers in order to be freed, they face the risk of death and rape together. Many of them have been killed in the "dark rooms", at the hands of the kidnappers or snipers, or during the bombing and the ongoing clashes. Rape is the psychological and physical damage which is added to all of the above. Where females are punished for crimes they did not commit, but were exposed to!
3825 women have been killed, since the beginning of the events in Syria, equivalent to 10% of the total deaths of adults. The number of women who have been arrested is 703, and 100 women are missing, While the number of female children who have been killed is 1831 equivalent to 31% of the total deaths of children. 33 girls arrested and 45 girls are still missing! While 918 male children have been arrested and 73 male child are missing.
Children are being targeted in the Syrian Revolution for that they were the spark that ignited the public anger and then the revolution in Syria!
It is well known that Syria was - like many other countries - governed by absolute ruler system and inner circle of beneficiaries of him.
One individual who holds the reins all at once.. In power, Parliament, media, the judiciary, and even education and family!!!
Children were the ground of the society through which the regime begun tightening its control over the whole society and in which the regime begun instilling its ideas and concepts about the one ruling party throughout the past long decades.
One can rarely find a child did not join Al Talaa'ie', then Al Shabeeba, and end up with becoming a member in Al Baath Party with attending the meetings held by the party regularly .
That was a simple example of intellectual stagnation in the educational system.
I still remember those days...Each academic year when I was enrolling at the college, I was told to go to the party office in the college; an office in the ground floor of the building, where the head of the office asked me every time to join the Baath Party. More pressure on me each New Year and much doubt about why I didn't join the party. I always had to find a way to convince him that It's just I don't like to get involved in politics, and that's all.
But the hardest time ever is when you feel you can't be brave to tell the truth for those who should be first people to hear it!! That I don't respect any tyrannical system!!
The refusal of joining the party could carry serious risk for any student who does not bow to the Supreme will! For them, this person is probably a political opponent or could be a traitor!
And here we can see.. Despite all of that effort made by regime in all of the educational institutions, those who begun the Syrian anger were-what a chance- children males and females!!
One day while they were getting out of school and going back homes, they wrote on the walls of their city Dar'aa "people want to overthrow the regime"!
Didn't dare to be the first to do so those who were older than them!
That ground; children; rebelled against the rule and did not care about the risks they going through!
Unlike other Arab revolutions where children who're getting involved are much less comparing with those who are older of young men and women, Children of Syria are standing in the first row. They're protesting, carrying slogans, mastered the use of modern technology of Mobile and Internet to communicate with their fellows and friends. They are being killed, tortured, and kidnapped. But never stop!
What about Syrian women; mothers, sisters, relatives and teachers for those children who're protesting over there?!
I think Syrian women suffered same as men since their childhood. They suffered from marginalization, repression and restriction of freedom by the political system.
But they suffered twice than men ...
The social system has heavy heritage and iron grip on women!
The issues of Victims of honor can demonstrate the unjust social system the best!
Also the arbitrary divorces and the injustice of many men in society when they deprived women of their rights in inheritance without those women can recover through the courts are some other examples of the unbalanced social system.
But the question here is….why for all that long?!
I think, people of Arabic countries, both liberals and conservatives, have agreed voluntarily or involuntarily with such social system keeping women in the back!
Despite of the human and women liberation slogans liberals carry in the context of secularism they claim to adopt, they couldn't come out of the social context prevailing long eras.
The most they did was they gave women freedom in education and headscarf. Although that seems positive at first glance, but it is actually nothing compared to how many women rights are lost and to the duties liberals are supposed to have.
That brings to mind the common saying among conservatives that Arabic liberals can't see of women liberation but revealing their bodies!
On the other hand, the Conservatives have used long a wrong system of thought in the name of Islam while Islam is innocent!!
They have been misusing some verses of Quran and some says of Prophet Mohammad for decades and centuries past in order to keep women in the back of society.
Few open minded Islamic scientists and Muslim thinkers indicated this problem and pointed out how dangerous it is. But their thoughts were attacked strongly by conservatives enough to distract the people from reading their thoughts well. Religious propaganda against them was strong enough to make people in such kind of conservative societies loose respect for them before they read their books!
That's why I think the problem in the first place is in the system of ideas through educational levels and institutions of all kinds. And secondly, it's in the monitoring system for making real Change. There is an acute shortage of human rights organizations monitoring the social practices in schools and families. And there is a serious lack of control for these organizations to the judicial system.
I believe that
Unless we deal seriously with both sides above
Unless we strengthen the role of human rights organizations
Unless we reform education and judicial system effectively
Will not be the empowerment of women
That is my vision for the future which inspired me to apply for VOF!
Arabic and Syrian women are supported strongly to get their rights all together.
Arabic and Syrian Children are able to think freely with no wrong concepts of gender discrimination or any kind of injustice pushed into their beautiful minds to kill their innate goodness!
I do not think that a Syrian child who was beaten for she wrote and repeated slogans of rebellion may accept to go back home with half of her rights or less!!
I do not think those scenes, that have accelerated in the imagination of Syrian children, of seeking refuge and suffering from homelessness; the loss of parents or relatives and peers; the torture and brutal repression they gone through, may leave their memories when they grow up!
I can feel strongly how those scenes will come back to them always to help them not repeat same mistakes of injustice have been made in their country for so many years!!
I can see women and children of Syria holding candles now!!
All they both need is a little help in lighting their candles so that they can see the way to the new future filled with love and peace, equality and creativity.