Mnary (not his real name) is a Syrian currently living through turmoil in Syria. The Columnist was able to contact him recently to understand how the current Syrian conflict is affecting civilian lives. All names and identities have been changed for the safety of our sources.
TC: Can you describe the situation in Syria and the daily challenges?
Mnary (M): On the field, the situation can be described as the following:
Surrendering and retreat is refused by the great majority of the Syrian people because any gesture of retreat means the end of the Revolution, that all sacrifices that have been given are gone with the wind. People are showing an impressive determination for continuing what they have started in all ways and possible means, whether as a popular or military revolution.
It has reached a level of balanced situations; though the regime has controlled many areas and seemed to be progressing, they are putting their hands over areas that are semi-empty due to the killing and attacks that these places have suffered.
Rage is overcoming the streets of Damascus over the fact that we are imprisoned with hundreds of check points and armed security men. Which only means the the Syrian people are a hostage for them.
As for daily obstacles and difficulties, the deemed blockade over some areas, especially South of Damascus. In Alghoutah, Alyarmouk Camp, the blockade has led to hunger and many cases of death amongst children. Education has gotten redundant and medical supplies are lacking.
What has happened is Syria is a revolution done by the hand of its people to demand freedom and dignity. But the Syrian regime supported by regional and international powers resulted a derailment of the revolution. This is the reason that it has resulted in such an acute chaos.
The main challenge is the regime’s support to extremists and terrorist groups to allow them to enter the country. This has distorted the revolution and its image.
TC: Could you tell us about your work inside Syria?
M: I have started as a protester. I have participated in demonstrations in my area and worked to create the slogans that we used. Then, I became a field photographer, followed by being a field paramedic. I have rescued the wounded under the hail of fire in our neighborhoods. They were firing on unarmed protesters then they started to use tanks and air raids. I decided to be a journalist and a paramedic.
TC: Why do you choose to stay?
M: Field work is the best kind of work. It has the results and use. Being inside Syria, you can offer a lot; as a journalist, you can convey the truth of the revolution as it is without exaggeration nor prejudice. Nevertheless, our press voice is considered a great revolution against the regime. A regime that is using all methods to gag and silence the people and to deprive them from the simplest level of freedom. The strongest evidence that supports the latter is the incident of deporting and blocking all kinds of media sources and resources except those who are loyal and support the regime’s goals.
I loved my work in awareness and in child-oriented psychological support. My main principle that I highly believe in my role to aid, treat and evacuated the wounded.
TC: There are people who see this ongoing conflict as an internal affair, in your opinion, is this correct?
M: I find that the conflict in Syria is not an inner conflict at all. It is not reasonable that the world stands still and watches all these massacres happen through all kinds of weapons; starting with live bullets to tanks then moving to air raids, chemical weapons and Scud missiles.
It is, by all means, an international issue. We live in the same international community that did not allow Gadhafi to continue in killing his people. We live in the same an international community that stopped him and supported the revolution of the Libyans to get rid of Gadhafi, the tyrant.
What applied on the Libyan revolution shall apply on the Syrian one. I deeply believe that the world that is watching the great massacres and crimes against humanity will not forgive itself because many are actually convinced that they could have done something to stop such crimes but did not.
Humanitarian and morally, it is no longer an inner conflict. The international community has to stand up and make the decision and take a moral stance against what is happening in the country.
TC: In Syria there has been many atrocities committed but can you tell us the many heroic moments that you have witnessed?
M: Just some of the heroic moments:
The unarmed protestors facing the bullets and the persistence of many of them for a peaceful revolution in the first seven months. The Civil activities that has become a dilemma to the regime in some areas.
A woman in her seventies goes into a humanitarian relief office crying, and when asked about the reason she took out a can of sardines saying that she has nothing to donate with but this can.
Maha Aldhaher who is wanted by Bashar’s intelligence as a sister of five martyrs killed by the regime. She stood off against ISIS patrol and screamed at them saying ” I am from Golan, I did not fear Bashar’s intelligence and will fear your rebels and your are not men to me”
Ala’ Shalash who participated in the peaceful demonstrations and then arrested, had to get armed and then shot nine times yet not did. He was arrested again tortured and cut into pieces.
A girl who survived the chemical attack woke up after suffering severe trauma saying ” I’m alive. I’m alive.”
TC: In a practical way, what can the world and the individual do for Syria?
M: The world led by the United States of America and Russia can stop this criminal machine of the regime and put it to an end. We say that there are three types of governments, or rather, three types of gangs in the Middle East that can not be stopped by a mere inner resolution. Rather we need an international support as the people of these countries have revolted.
Two of these three gangs aka governments were ended by an international invention; and they are Saddam Hussein and Ghadhafi. Likewise shall happen in Syria. The latter is a unanimous demand of the revolutionaries who constantly agree on international invention, a no-fly zone and a safe, humanitarian environment.
On the other hand, other nations should continue to pressure their governments though demonstrations, protest and sit ins, in order to take a stance and provide humanitarian assistance to those who need it.
This interview was conducted for The Columnist, a newsletter by Consulus that offers ideas on business, design and world affairs. The views expressed in this article are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect the views of Consulus.