528 Hertz – ’50 Things I Love About the Syrian Revolution.”
Week 1. #1 – 7
This compilation is a translation from the original Arabic. Thanks for reading, and never stop staying positive in the face of darkness!
1 – Pluralism
From the beginning of the revolution, campaigns in the name of freedom have been represented by vast sections of society. From men and women workers to students from various college faculties around Syria, it is clear that pluralism plays a major role in the Syrian revolution. After the country became destroyed by missiles and bombs, the dictator’s forces withdrew from towns and cities throughout the country and in their place rose democratic revolutionary groups corresponding to the will of the people. The Syrian Revolution is also represented by artistic and sub-cultural groups, such as graffiti artists and musicians. Despite all of the difficulties, there exist positive examples of pluralism in areas such as Kafranbel (in Idlib), Manbij (in the North of Syria), Yabroud, and Yarmouk Camp (both near Damascus). Even though the future of Syria is not certain, due to the violence from the government on one hand and from extremist groups on the other, we should be reassured that the young men and women of Syria will achieve their ambitions, because there can be in no future in any society without the participation of the current generations. The revolution lives on!
Kafr Zita: “Resilient ’till the Last Stone Falls.”
2 – Music
Music plays an important role in the Syrian revolution, not only because creativity comes naturally to the uprising, but because music has been a central part of sub-cultures from within Syria from the beginning. Before the revolution, people used to follow soap operas, televised theatrical plays, films and learn the songs that appeared in them. The rhythms of many of these songs became background music to the new revolutionary songs (in order for them to be easy to memorise) that emerged in the throes of protests and on independent radio stations. Additionally, a lot of completely new songs emerged, especially in the field of hip-hop. In a very short time, these songs spread between people, and they contained lyrics on a variety of themes, according to the source of the song. For example, there are songs that represent tributes to victims of massacres against protesters in places like Homs and the Damascus suburbs. There are also songs that satirise the dictator himself (such as Masasit Mate). I highly recommend you check out this great broadcast on Radio Souriali, which features a heart-warming mixture of Arabic & other songs selected by Syrians!
3 – Demonstrations / Protests
The revolution began with peaceful protests in March 2011, and what was startling was that the participants did not immediately call for the toppling of the regime, instead asking only for a change in the fierce policies against the people. After a short period, the nature of protests evolved to include demands not only for the downfall of the regime (after such violence this was expected) but varied demands from every aspect of society. The revolution’s protests represented living examples of visions of the future and destiny of a society as desired by its participants. They were embodied in slogans of course but what also emerged from the spirit of the revolution were manifestations powerful in their meanings, for example when the martyr Ghaith Matar and his friends offered roses and cups of water to the regime’s soldiers. The protests often rose spontaneously in order not to be exposed to danger and oppression. The demonstrations often featured song, dance, and chants of the utmost creativity and inspiration. The mobilisation of the people in this way offers us a window, however fleeting, of a free Syria in its purest form. It is more important now than ever not only to honour the memory of peaceful demonstrations but to place our hopes in the potential for their reappearance in the near future.
4 – Humanitarian Initiatives
There is no lack of amazing feats regarding the bravery of the Syrian people in the face of challenges and one of the most important and notable examples of this takes the form of humanitarian initiatives. In most cases these groups had no sufficient funding or even the support of centralised networks to support attempts of volunteers that tried as much as they could to dismantle the regime’s sieges around rebellious cities throughout the revolution and that deliberately prevented any humanitarian relief or even food and drink from reaching residents. Perhaps the most famous of them all are the Local Co-ordination Committees that began documenting and organising protests as well as the documentation of victims and martyrs names and locations of detainees. The committees also contributed to the implementation of humanitarian aid all around Syria in the most pressing locations. The LCCs also helped in the opening of ports and secret tunnels for the transportation of aid supplies. There are endless stories about college students, doctors, employees, and ordinary civilians from every aspect of society that gave up their previous roles (and in some cases, they lived in security compared to the state of impoverishment in some areas in Syria before the revolution). There are also independent initiatives operating outside of Syria (for example, in Western countries such as the USA and Britain) with connections to groups such as the LCCs and other activists around Syria.
The picture is by Khaled Maled and title is “Pain / Hope.”
5 – The Aspirations of Children
It is impossible to deny the clear fact that children are the purest expression of our metaphysical essence as human beings. They are never ashamed of acting according to their feelings from moment to moment regardless of whether or not they are bursting with energy! The highest hope of Syria’s future is not only in the continuation of the radical movements we know as the revolution but also in paving the way for a stable country after the roles of society’s ruling generations come to their imminent ends. Syria’s children are brave and utterly amazing due to their survival through the destruction of their homes, the loss of their parents, and especially because they are far more vulnerable to physical and psychological harm than adults are. Solidarity and humanitarian support, as well as the welfare of children in every part of Syria and outside (in the refugee camps and on the streets of Beirut, where some of them are compelled to work in dangerous conditions, selling roses of all things!) should be one of the most important and fundamental targets in safeguarding Syria’s future. Subsequently, the most important goal should be the nurturing of academic, artistic, and creative spaces so that Syrian children are able to develop into the amazing heroes that they naturally are. I will leave you with a video that narrates the story of some of Syria’s children as they sell roses and enjoy their lives on the streets of Beirut. They loiter about joyously and tell each other stories, despite the challenges that they face.
6 – Graffiti
Graffiti is not only an artistic field that is at once wonderful, creative, and cutting-edge, but through its use by youth in southern Syria from almost 4 years prior came to represent the initial ringing of the revolution. For example, graffiti works contain quotes from literary and religious sources which inspired artists, and there are some works that represent pictures from the traditional to the avant-garde. Graffiti in Syria also embodies an unprecedented domain because in many cases, there were no other opportunities for revolutionaries to express their social and creative ideas in safety. Additionally, there were no alternative resources. These creations also formed defiant symbols drawn / painted on the ruins of what remained from houses and neighbourhoods that were exposed to bombs. Graffiti is truly an inspiring portal and it reminds us of the hopes and opportunities that remain present throughout this layered and complex process. The evidence of the persistence of the revolution’s creativity is in the evolution of its emerging culture. This is clear from the walls that fill our hearts with optimism and wonderful sensations in general!
“Someday this war will end and I will return to my poem.”- Unknown
7 – Civil Disobedience
Civil disobedience is one of the most risky forms of civil resistance, compared with protests and armed uprisings because in most cases such engagements are waged by either small activist groups or individuals. They were often residing in areas in Aleppo (and especially in Damascus) that were controlled by the regime. Among the most famous instances were anonymous people who played anti-Assad songs on stereos placed in various secret locations outdoors on top of buildings in central Damascus, for example. Activists also launched slogans expressing the views of the resistance criticising Bashar Al-Assad via sky-bound balloons from areas such as Kafr Souseh. Some of them also dyed the water of fountains in front of branches of the security services red in a clever infiltration. There was also a beautiful manoeuvre from revolutionaries in which they set about gluing locks of doors in government centres around Damascus. It is impossible to forget such attempts as those mentioned, which challenged the authority of the regime. I will leave you with a video that shows the release of the balloons from the rooftops of buildings in Kafr Souseh! Enjoy and stay confident.