31 Jul 2011

29 Years Later, the Story Repeats Itself

What an awful feeling to wake up one day and find that what you lived back as a child, more than 29 years ago, is only happening again, in front of your own eyes. The same nightmare, the same killing, the same army, the same place.. and the same last name.

The nightame is : the regime's brutal crackdown
The killing is : the killing of civilians
The army is : the Syrian Arab Army
The place is : Hama
The last name is : Assad

How could I ever forget how, as a child back in 1982, I would be heading to school in Damascus and the school bus would stop in Abbasiyin Square (Abbasid Square) near my home. The bus driver would show us the hung men of the day. They would usually get hung around 5am, if I remember well. Their bodies hanging on a rope from the throat, dressed in white including their covered face and head, would be left there for us to see them.

I had no idea why they were hung. I had no idea who they were. But I was appalled every time I saw 2 or 3 of them in the morning. I thought of them as evil men.

The bus driver would say : Look children, this is what happens if you don't behave! We would just look at the bodies in awe.

The first Hama Massacre started on 2 February 1982, led by the Hafez Al-Assad's brother, Rifaat Al-Assad. Today it is led by Maher Al-Assad, Bashar Al-Assad's brother.

A whole city was punished back in 1982 because it started an (Islamist) uprising against the regime. In Aleppo my cousin's best friend was hung too. They were both students at the Medicine Faculty of Aleppo University. My cousin never recovered from the shock. 

I did not understand then what was happening. Today I do not understand either why this is happening again. How could a whole lifetime have passed by and history would repeat itself in a new massacre in Hama?  

How could the world just watch? We all expected it was going to happen.. didn't we? 

It only makes one feel helpless. It only makes one feel depressed.

One difference I know between 29 years ago and now is that it is not just Hama this time. It is much more, it is way beyond, it is not the "Islamists" alone. 

The price of freedom is turning out to be truly hefty. One day before the start of Ramadan recorded the highest toll to date of any single cay since the start of the March 15 uprising in Syria. Most of the killed today are in Hama after the army stormed into the city at dawn. 

The regime is worried. Every day in Ramadan could turn into a Friday where people gather in the mosque then go out to protest.  Hama has seen the biggest protests of all Syrian cities in past few weeks, with more than 1 million protesters just in Hama and Deir ez-Zor alone.

Victims of the first Hama Massacre are estimated between 20 thousand and 40 something thousand. I don't know if the world was watching back in 1982. But I know it is watching in 2011. The 1982 silence should not repeat itself.


Anonymous said...

It only makes one feel helpless. It only makes one feel depressed.

that is incredibly TRUE :(

Hossam B said...

this is not killing of Hama only , it is killing of Syria, it is killing of Freedom.

even in 1982 they killed the Freedom in Hama and all Syria , so all Syria stayed under this killer regiem.

but now we wont shutup we want still untill we reveange on our brothers.

Anonymous said...

Believe it or not, back then I was 19 years old, mature enough! We did not hear anything about the massacre. It would have been the same not having Twitter, Facebook ....etc. Thanks God

Anonymous said...

Yesterday I met one of my friends from Hama and he told me that no one can imagine what happened there 29 years ago, he was 7 years old walking around the dead bodies in "8 Marsh St." (after a bloody massacare there) with his mother and flipping them looking for his dad, he said that day I met most of my neighbors but they were not alive.
BTW he still suffering of nightmares, panic attacks and depression.

Anonymous said...

Very touching.
It is happening again, I lived both massacres while in exile. In 1982 I was only 16.

Anonymous said...

I think calling 82 an Islamist movement is Assad propoganda. There were less than 150 ikhwanjo in Hama in the 80s. Many Christans were tortured and killed by Rifats people. They waived their white flags and the response was "All Hamawis are Ikhwan, even the Christians"

CaliforniaJock said...

Even if it were Islamists in the 82 Hama massacre, there is no reason to imply that it would be justifiable.

I'm an secularist agnostic and want nothing to do with Islamists but human life and dignity is to be valued no matter the race, religion or creed

The west does not value Arab life regardless of religion as a result of us massacring each other and categorizing massacres depending on the race or religion of the victims

We've been conditioned to devalue "Islamists" life in the Arab world that we justify massacring Islamists and delegitimize massacres by describing victims as Christians, as does the previous comment, or Western. Massacres are massacres. Crimes against humanities do not distinguish between religions or creeds, thus the "humanity" part.

mensajes claro said...

It is happening again

dw9 said...

Just came across your post - thank you