Idlib Calling | 4 december 2018 | by PAX webmaster

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Meet Ahmed, theater producer from Saraqeb, and friend and partner of PAX. His life is no bed of roses. Saraqeb is in the Syrian province of Idlib, in the northwest of the country. Idlib's future is, to say the least, uncertain.
After a period of daily bombings, it is now much calmer. But no one knows what's in store for the area. Residents are doing their best to carry on with their daily lives. Russia and Turkey have imposed a demilitarized zone in order to separate the Syrian Army and armed militias.
A couple of times a week we speak with Ahmed to hear how he and his family are getting on. He says its important for people in Idlib that we here in the Netherlands hear about what's happening. It makes them feel like they haven't been forgotten.

Idlib Calling: Yes, they scared us

Friday 30 November

Friday Raed Fares and Hammoud Juneid from Kafranbel were killed. The news about the murder of the two activists spread immediately around the world, causing shockwaves among Syrians and friends of Syria. Raed was known throughout the world for, among other things, the cartoons and cutting slogans sent form Kafranbel every week. No one has claimed responsibility for the murders, but most people have an idea about who is behind it. For that reason, I hesitated to ask Ahmad about it.

“Hi Ahmad, tell me honestly… is it possible for you to say something about the murders of Raed and Hammoud?”

“I am afraid. They killed someone who stood for everything we believed in: freedom and dignity. Raed was a man who brought people together and always reminded us of what we stand for. The slogans and cartoons from Kafranbel reminded us and the rest of the world who we are and what we are fighting for.”

“Do you have an example of one of his slogans?”

“Let me try, in Arabic: : nahnu hadamna mazra’et al-Assad fa khaluna nibna al-watan. It means something like, ‘We destroyed Assad’s farm, let us build our fatherland.’ You have to know that the regime and its supporters were always talking about ‘Assad’s Syria’ (Suriya al-Assad), as if they can rule the country like feudal lords, as if the country is their personal belonging, as if they own us. We wanted to destroy that, but more importantly, rebuild the country afterwards, build a new country for everyone.”

“Friday it was quiet in Saraqeb. We did not dare to go out on the streets. But we saw that the people of Kafranbel went to the funerals in great numbers. First it was a silent marsh and then it became a demonstration.”

“They want to kill our ideals. Yes, they scared us, and we know what they can do. They show no restraints. But we also know that their battle is an impossible one. You can kill people. But you cannot kill ideals and values. I am 100% convinced of that. And this gives me hope and consolation.”

 

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