I first want to silence a while for the martyrs, in respect to their bravery, to their conscience, to the death they saw in their eyes, and to civilians, who saw death…Alive. What I am about to describe now is 19 minutes into the destruction and mayhem caused by one airstrike only on Al Zebdeyyeh district in Aleppo city on the 29th of November, 2012 at 1:00 p.m. in the afternoon. This is how I lived it as I am abroad, my heart and soul so close to them but body is too far, too far to help in reaching the casualties, too far in wiping the tears off the martyrs’ families’ eyes, too far from burying the martyred children, women, and men.
One airstrike, one explosion, and the whole city shakes, the whole city wakes up, in fear, terrified, dreaded. Civilians rush to the scene, trying to stay calm, to stay positive that no one got injured as the cameraman comes off the motorbike and says “did anyone get wounded?” though that is one rhetorical question he absolutely knows the answer of. The cameraman runs swiftly, following the civilians running as well, trying to reach the area as fast as possible, and the screams get louder, and louder, and louder; the vision becomes blurry and breathing the air loaded with the thick smoke and dirt becomes ever harder.
Utter destruction, one whole building flatenned to ground level, and the screeching calls of help from a child were heard:”Uncle, uncle, please come and help me, please come and pick me up.” The mere 10 year old child, lying on ground, covered with dirt, his legs paralyzed by the bricks, beseeches civilians to pick him up from death. One civilian comes in and removes the bricks off, picks up the child, whose head was cracked open and his blood was poured down over the destruction behind.
More civilians arrived, and the voices are now earsplitting, the traumatized eyes began accepting the scene of death, accepting what happened, believing that an extremely appalling massacre has just been committed, that they will have to search for civilians and race with time: each second tantamount to a breathe that determines be it life or death. The cameraman turns his camera around, more lifeless bodies stuck under the rubble, 3 drowning in their own blood, 2 of them moving barely, trying to show a sign of life so they would at least be saved first and not be considered dead already. “He’s alive, he’s alive” civilians yell hard as they pick up one man from his hands.
The cameraman moves forward, more civilians, much death floating on those bricks and over this destruction. One child, wearing an orange sweater, a colour of joy, is spotted, dead, his face so shocked, so terrified, so agonized by the death he had to undergo in such a young age. Civilians continue to yell piercingly “God is the greatest” while others just stand still, making unreadable gestures in air, blurting out utter helplessness as they cannot determine which martyr to pick up first, where to start from, on which martyr to weep on now, which one of them do they recognize. Voices echo as everyone tells everyone “come pick them up, come pick them all up, oh God, oh God”.
Minute 5:42, the cameraman films a scene, showing the buildings destroyed, and then moves his camera down, showing the memories and the families who lived them, all damaged, all gone, all buried, some within the bricks and others in the hearts of all these souls now begone. Clothes that were once worn to school, to weddings, to football games, to visits, are seen hanging on the destructed rooftops, handing from the bricks, as lifeless as their owners now are. Cameraman films the stains of warm blood on the bricks, then civilians wake up the massacre again as they yell and bricks begin to fly in every direction whilst they remove them as they attempt to reach another casualty; minute 9:58, men who were trying so hard to stay composed, to stay steadfast, collapse into tears and weep unwillingly as the casualty they all gathered to pull out was the body of a child, so young, face and body dirtied… Civilians’ visages are now all red in rage, eyes alight with fire and bright with tears, hearts fuming both anger and grief over the martyrs and those children who once held dreams they wanted to desperately achieve just like every other child. Minute 11, those women and children who came out alive are fleeing with their lives, walking over bloodied bricks where their father, mother, child, relative, or friend could be buried underneath.
Now the cameraman stands in the middle of the square as civilians began to scatter everywhere, looking for any ray of hope under all this rubble that one more child, one more man, one more woman could be found alive. Bricks continue to be tossed in every direction, but nothing, for the last 3 minutes, no one survived to see the light of the next day…
At least 10 casualties were pulled out of this havoc, most of them dead and others with their souls hanging in their throats. Now civilians are as lifeless as the martyrs they just pulled are whilst the bloody, horrific scenes their minds just recorded are replaying again right before their eyes, that disturbing film of death, of mayhem, of destruction, of utter inhumanity in the world that refused to hear their screams in the climax of all these hardships.
This happens in Syria every single day, every single minute, after every single airstrike carried out by whatever animal hands God has created for the atrocious, heartless Pilot flying that MEG23, that helicopter, that Sukhoi. In my heart you all are, in my eyes are the tears that I shall keep to water your graves when we come back to Syria, to visit your immortality in heaven now.
In peace, in celestial heavenly heaven, you all are.