Coherence of thoughts is illusive. It lies behind the scenery of death, now so common as to fade into the background of long-threatened destruction that has become us.  The hearts of our cities, those precious sculptures, carefully crafted over millenniums, with layers spanning centuries next to those that only lived less than a decade, now lie torn by the mad man and his minions.  And the madness just would not subside.

For more than forty years, the seeds of destruction were being planted with the zeal of the obsessed. It is a story of madness played one slap at a time, of insults compounded by the ignorance of the bullies, of thefts aggravated by the infinite depravity of the thieves  soul, of rapes, of torture, murders, disappearances, and of a foretold signs of the coming catastrophe, ignored as the beautiful and ancient city of Nourias was laid to waste by the barbarians. The silence was deafening even as the bleeding continued for as long as the madman lived.

The barbarians raped the souls of our cities with their demented cheap tasteless portraits. First, it was the madman, then he was joined by his vicious brother, only for the brother to be replaced by the sons, including the fake hero, who was killed by the characteristic recklessness of arrogance, but was nonetheless, declared a martyr and a demi-god. A worst fraud then replaced the fake martyr, it was a pretender to humanity, and the nightmare we now are fighting. The sons may have been legitimate to their unholy parents, but by all means, are illegitimate in time and place.

Fools were those among us who feigned knowledge. The wise ones said the devil is dead.  But its essence never died. The crowning of his successor should have been another sign of the impending catastrophe.  The essence of the devil never died. It remained active and never dormant, but vibrant in every military post, in torture dungeons around our land, in the secret mass graves scattered in our ancient desert.   And the barbarians became more vulgar and evermore greedy as they continued their insults for eleven more years on our civility, our senses, our culture, and our intellects, individually and collectively. Under the series of promises, never made to be kept, lied the constant hum of the catastrophe. Many among us heard it very clearly, but we pretended to believe, perhaps fearing the hum, that the vulgar music of the barbarians will one day become a bit more refined only if we listen longer.

We listened, and the vulgar music turned into blasts that destroyed our homes and killed many of us with deliberate malice when we asked that this half century assault be stopped. What they did to us from that point on will be told in the future for centuries to come. It will be a story of betrayal, of savagery, as well as of heroism that we never knew had existed in us. But the story of our heroic death will be worthy to hear only if told as the conclusion to the story of our cowardliness. Without that, there is no lesson learned, and our death, and the death of our children and grandchildren who are paying the price of our cowardliness will be pointless and in vain.

I stopped counting days. The post-massacre pain of anguish which started very acute ad sharp, then turned into a dull pain as our cities and villages turned into killing fields, had finally settled into a continuous throb of sharp, maddening pain as the massacres became daily and hourly happenstance. A short while ago, it was my University. The place which has more personal connection to my life than it does to most of its graduates.  The mayhem outraged us, but our outrage became  worst when the thugs tried to appropriate our martyrs. I don’t think they really cared to say that our side was the side who murdered our own children, but more to continue their assault and theft, even of our death at their hands.

Today, it was the river. Residents in  in the liberated Bustan Al-Qaser area of Aleppo, pulled more than sixty bodies from the  narrow, highly polluted River Quaiq .  All were males between the age of 20-40, with a few children, and all were tied and shot in the head execution style.  At first, as they did with the University, the thugs hyped that this is a liberated area and therefore, these are victims of the FSA. But early identification, in addition to the close-proximity of the area to regime territory point that at least some of the victims were reported to have been kidnapped by the notorious murderous  air-force intelligence.

Others are probably more able to describe the scene of death. But to me, every time I see the photograph of victim, tied and shot, all I can think of is the horrors the barbarians have inflicted on their victims before killing them.  You see, their smuggled tapes have finally paid off, but not in the way they thought for I am not horrified any longer, I am beyond that.

Like many Syrians, I am now beyond many other feelings. Nowadays, I no longer get angry at a relative or a former friend when they support the filth called Assad regime, I just accept the fact that they are part of the filth.  What I don’t tell them is that anger used to build up and then subside, hate was accumulating in a crescendo parallel to the atrocities of the barbarians, but now, we are beyond both anger and hate, we are even beyond vengeance. We are now obsessed with swearing “Never Again”.  Let the world know, Never again. I know it really threatens the barbarians, because it is even sweeter than revenge.


  1. OTW, you put the thoughts of many of us into words that we have lost after seeing so many horrors. The latest is the “river” massacre, and which I am sorry to say will probably not be the last because the gangsters in Damascus made the decision way back, right on day one, “to do whatever it takes to keep Syria their private domain, their prison farm” as we have heard time and again from many defectors who were in positions that allowed them to know what was being decided and implemented at the time and subsequently.

    A brilliant article by Yassine al-Hajj Saleh looks at the “Al Assad or no-one” slogan and its brother “al-Assad or we burn the country”, a vision of Syria not different at all from “The Great Leader Kim’s Korea”.

    تفترض النظرية بلداً اسمه “سوريا الأسد”، يتصرف فيه صاحبه، “الأسد”، كما يفعل صاحب ملك بملكه. لا يقتل جميع الناس، لكنه يقتل كثيرين بما يُبقي الجميع غير آمنين على حياتهم. لا يحبس جميع الناس، لكنه يحبس كثيرين بحيث يحمل الجميع الحبس في دواخلهم أينما يكونون. لا يعذّب جميع الناس، لكنه يعذّب كثيرين بحيث يروّع الجميع ويسكن الخوف في قلوبهم. ولا يهين جمع السوريين، لكنه يهين أعداداً كبيرة جدا منهم، بحيث تنكسر عيون الجميع ولا يرفع أحد رأسه. ولا يفسد الجميع مباشرةً، لكن يفسد كثيرين بحيث يأسر الجميع في دائرة الفساد، وييأس الجميع من أي صلاح.


  2. OTW,

    A penetrating heartfelt piece.

    However, before you say “Never again”, or feel “never again” you have to stop the atrocity that is currently happening. Only in the aftermath when you have actually done the work to make sure “never again”, then you should say it or feel it. Maybe I am missing something.


  3. من واجب قيادة المعارضة السورية أن تدين الغارة الإسرائيلية

    . بغض النظر عن طبيعة الأنظمة التي حكمت سوريا منذ الاستقلال ظلت إسرائيل عدوا تاريخيا لسوريا كجغرافية وحضارة، ولسورية كدولة.
    2.قضية فلسطين هي أيضا قضية عربية، وسورية بشكل خاص، وبالإضافة إلى ذلك فإسرائيل تنتهك سيادة سورية كدولة عبر احتلال الجولان.
    3. إسرائيل، ك”خيار لبناني”داخلي تبناه تاريخيا جزء من الخارطة السياسية-الطائفية اللبنانية، كانت دائما خصما لسورية كدولة وكحضارة وثقافة.
    4. هذه حقائق تاريخية، استغلها النظام الحاكم، ولكنه استغلها لأنها حقائق قوية وتاريخية. ولا يجوز تركها له.
    5. ومن هذا المنطلق، وأثناء والصراع والنكبات، وفي ظل جريمة النظام الممتدة،لا بد من الحرص على سيادة سورية، فلا ديمقراطية من دون سيادة وطنية. على قوى المعارضة أن تدين الغارة الإسرائيلية على سورية، لا سيما وأنها تتهم إسرائيل أنها وقفت مع بقاء النظام. حسنا يجب ان تصدر بيانات واضحة تدين الغارة الاسرائيلية على سورية. لهذا علاقة بالمستقبل وليس بالماضي فقط. ولهذا علاقة بالهوية السياسية للقوى الديمقراطية السورية. ولم تكن الغارة في خدمة الديمقراطية أو حرصا عليه. هذا مؤكد.

    عزمي بشارة


  4. Azmi Bishara is an idiot. The Syrian opposition must welcome any, let me repeat ANY effort that helps stop the systematic slaughter of Syrians committed by the Assad regime. Falling into the game of “let’s make it a fair fight without foreign intervention” is just another manipulation by the regime who is being aided by Iran and Russia.

    The Assad regime is again playing you like fools, like it did for the last 40 years: Oh no, Israelis attack military targets and that is so much more important than the fact that the regime is killing its own people.

    You can hate Israel as much as you want, but Israel is not the one that has killed tens of thousands of Syrians in the last 2 years. And if Israel hits Assad and Hezbollah (who have been sending thousands of fighters to Syria to help Assad) it is good for you.

    Israel is of course acting in its own interests. But you would be acting against yours if you denounce such action because it will widen the chasm between the West and the opposition, exactly what Assad wants.


  5. Our soil is soaked with our people’s blood, now our rivers have turned into a river of blood.

    Their blood will help the seeds of sorrow to grow and blossom into a real future.

    An excerpt from a poem written by Col. John McRae during The Great War (with a slight edit by me at the end):


  6. Pressed the wrong button:

    We are the Dead. Short days ago we lived, felt dawn, saw sunsets glow. Loved and were loved, and now we lie In The River Quiaq.

    Allah yer7am kil al shuhada


  7. The Syrian opposition must welcome any, let me repeat ANY effort that helps stop the systematic slaughter of Syrians committed by the Assad regime.

    And how will the selective bombing by Israel of one or two targets (chosen by Israel for their own strategic interests) help to “stop the systematic slaughter of Syrians by the Assad regim”? In fact, it hurts their cause a million fold than help it. I don’t need to list all the reasons, they are so obvious.

    Thanks, but no thanks…more clearly no bloody way will we join forces with Israel or accept its “help”. We don’t hear the Israeli govt. urging the int’l community and their friends and lackeys in D.C. to give the rebels stinger missiles to neutralize Assad’s air power and the real slaughter caused by Assad’s barrel bombs, do we?

    The Assadist Mafiosi and Associates promised to put this revolution down -Silmiyyeh or not- even if it cost a million or two Syrian lives. The revolutionaries and the Syrian people that back them know this and are making the sacrifices needed to rid themselves of the Assadist cancer. So I say to Israel, just butt out, let me repeat, BUTT OUT! and let Syrians fight their own fight.


  8. Nobody told you to join Israel or work with it. But if you don’t understand that the Assad regime will use any trick in the back to alienate the rebels to the West, you will pay a price. How how are you going to get weapons if the West cannot be confident they will not be used against Israel? And after you win and request help to rebuild, do you think it will be forthcoming if you take a hard line against Israel?

    You should not support Israel, but do not fall into the trap of setting yourself up as its enemy, whatever you really think. You will just be playing into Assad’s hands. Just learn from Morsi, nobody thinks he is an Israel lover even though he supports the peace treaty. You can’t fight everybody at once, first take care of Assad and then take care of Israel.


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