Idlib Calling | 7 april 2020 | by Evert-Jan Grit


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.
Every day, people get killed in air strikes and shelling by the Syrian and Russian armies. Children die covered in dust and debris. The war in Idlib is primarily a war against civilians.
A couple of times a month 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: A son!

Monday, April 6

Even under the threat from the corona virus, life continues. Here in the Netherlands, but also in Azaz, where Ahmed lives after he fled Saraqeb with his family. His wife gave birth to a baby boy there a few days ago. Sa’ad is the couple´s third child, and their first son. I call to congratulate him.

“Hi Ahmed: what great news! How are you, how´s your wife, how are your children, and how´s your son?”

“Thank you, thank you, everything is fine. I have a son! His name is Sa’ad, after my best friend.”

“My wife is recovering, she’s doing well. She had lost a lot of blood, but we have the same blood type, so she was given my blood. That feels very special. And my daughters are jealous! They’re already asking when he’ll be leaving.”

“Do you know the story of my friend Sa’ad?”

“Sa’ad was tortured to death in 2012 by people from the Assad regime. I buried him and then promised that if I had a son, I would name him after Sa’ad. As a tribute to Sa’ad, but also to all the wonderful people here who have died for their ideals.”

“I built a tent on the roof of the house where we’re living at the moment. We’re all in one room, so if it gets too crowded I can go sit in the tent, smoke a cigarette. But when I wanted to go there yesterday, there was a cat in there which had just had a litter of little kittens!”

“I hope you’re doing well, and that this virus will be stopped. I’m sure a time will come when all this is a just a memory – including for us here – and that we will recover. Stronger and wiser. And I hope, no, I’m sure, that Sa’ad, my daughters and all the other children will grow up in a better world someday. I’m sure!”


Would you like to congratulate Ahmed and his family? Share this blog on social media and congratulate them in the comments.

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