Syria the Great
Needless to say there are many people, especially in D.C., with opinions and political positions regarding the Syrian Revolution. They tell me whether or not America should be involved in the “Syrian unrest” and whether or not it suits our foreign policy goals to take action. I maintain opinions about Syria, however this article is actually meant to show you a few pictures of my last visit to Syria. To move you away from Syria as a political issue, even just for a moment, and see what I see. My closest relationships outside of the United States are in Syria and Jordan, and for my cousins who are reading this, we have sort of resigned ourselves to the inevitability of violence and war and there is a numbness and distance we have to maintain in order to move forward with our days. Any maybe to some of us Palestinians, it seems silly to be concerned or become emotional about what is going on. But we both know, that even though our parents (like true Arab parents) have conditioned us to believe there is an inevitability of death or violence, there is integrity in admitting that we are concerned and want to do something about it. That we want to take action. And that it is enraging how exploitative the media is about this conflict, and the superfluous public opinions about whether or not it is in America’s “best interest” to intervene. Those opinions couldn’t feel more irrelevant, even if they are congruent with our opinions. It just doesn’t seem to be the point. The point is freedom. The point is liberation. The point is having electricity and hot water whenever we want. The point is to be able to say “Palestine” over the phone without having our line disconnected.
But for now, I want to acknowledge how special of a place Syria is for me, and its critical part of my family’s past and recent history.
As I have increasingly traveled to the Middle East over the years, I began to view the Levant as an entirely separate anatomy from the rest of the Middle East. In my travels, each country has its own reputation in its surrounding countries. So in my mind, I associate each country and its reputation with its own part of the body.
Syria is the heart of the Levant.
Jordan is the intelligent and rational mind of the Levant.
Lebanon keeps us smiling, keeps us full of expressions and life.
Iraq, our strong spine and back – a survivor always, regardless of age or time.
And then our beloved Palestine, our spirit and soul that permeates all other areas of our mind and body. Something we wish was tangible but is, for now, in our essence.
Syria, or rather, its people, are great. The Syrian people are the heart of the Levant – and my family in Syria – they are in my heart.
I wanted to share with you a few pictures. The first picture is one I found on Al Jazeera about one month ago. Maybe some of you will recognize which protest this is.
Below, here are pictures from my bedroom. It is of the same scene.
The Arab Spring is very personal and dear to my heart, and it is excruciating at times to sit back in my plush life in America and type on the internet and tweet my opinions… and not fight like my people are doing. But the Syrian Revolution has become extremely personal. It is not about foreign policy or otherwise. It is simply about my missing my family and hoping they are okay. Loving from afar and not knowing what is in store for them or for us.
It is about scanning every article and news footage for someone I know. Have you ever watched the news or read an article, but first had to scan the photo’s for people you knew? That’s when you know that the personal is, in its most extreme form, the political.