Summer 2011 - Saraqib – North Syria
The weather is too hot. I woke up this morning and turned the TV on. This channel shows movies 24 hours and I watch it to improve my English. I was still not awake from the stupor which covered Saraqib for the last few days.
Just a few days ago, my father came at the same time in the morning, telling me that the army entered the city with tanks and soldiers to implement the arresting campaign and inspection. He was afraid. He took our cash and hid it somewhere in the bathroom. We were not sure if the army might come to the farm area which is 3 Km away from Saraqib’s City center. A few hours later, heavy gunfire started nearby. My father got even more scared. Nothing justified such heavy gunfire. There were no weapons or armed people in the whole area. After a few seconds, there was a knock on the door. I dared to go out and invite him to the farm to “honor” us and enter, calling him as usual in Syria at that time “My Sir”. While he entered, he asked me about my name, my ID Card and my youngest brother who was very involved in the demonstrations against the regime. After the inspection were done, they left, taking one of our 2 cars as it was registered in my youngest brother’s name, and stealing some other stuff. A few minutes later, my mother called my father asking him to come as another army group was inspecting our house in the city center. When we went there, a third group stopped us and checked our ID cards comparing them to their lists. My father’s name was there. They arrested him. We could get him released a few days later along with the car. We paid some bribes and used some connections. He came home stunned, swinging between fear, anger, grudge, and courage.
In this inspection, which was the first of two, nobody was killed. The army arrested some intellectual persons including my father, and released most of them later, after insulting and torturing them.
The movie is still playing. I feel as if I am drugged. I see scenes of inspections in rural areas by heavy vehicles and armed soldiers, I hear words like “minority” and “historical grudge.” I see that this minority is becoming armed and hectic. Yet I also see an unarmed, scared majority. They stay tuned to terrifying rumors that something horrible is coming soon. Propaganda channels broadcast with soaring tone and provoking content. International Organizations watch, helpless but aware of what is happening. The majority trusts that the international community is not going to allow massacre, hope for a western intervention that would arrive sometime, maybe at the last moment. It doesn’t.
At some point I asked myself, am I watching a film about what happened in Saraqib few days ago? But the men are black and the scenes seem to be in Africa. But the scenario is so fucking similar. Am I still asleep or just raving? Which film is this?
I read the title of the film in the corner “Hotel Rwanda”.
Ah, Rwanda? Is that what happened in Rwanda?
And why does that scenario look so similar to our reality?