Idlib Calling | 5 oktober 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: Thank you, Dutch government, for not forgetting us

Monday, October 5

“Thank you to the government of your country for filing a lawsuit against the criminal Assad regime.” Ahmed texted me this about the Dutch government’s decision to hold the Syrian government responsible for human rights violations. He is happy that the Dutch government hasn’t forgotten them.

“Hi Ahmed, thanks for your message. I had wanted to ask you: what do you think? Nearly ten years after the uprising started, and now this official government statement.”

“I think it’s great. It shows that people still care about us. In the past 10 years, I’ve lost my home five times, I’ve fled, I’ve lost friends – I lost my best friend — and our freedom hasn’t come one step closer. And this isn’t just my story, but the story of almost all Syrians. So yes: it’s a bit late.”

“I saw the statement on Facebook. I studied it, and then I asked some friends if it was really true. Of course, we’ve seen plenty of words over the years; one statement after another. I guess the low point was Obama’s ‘red line’ on the use of chemical weapons. They all do it, the presidents and leaders who support us with their grandiose statements. But it always stops there.”

“The difference is that it is not your prime minister speaking now — sorry I don’t know his name — but your government, a democratically elected government. So it’s not just a statement, it’s not just words, but it’s government policy. Which infinitely increases the chance that words will be followed by action, especially if other governments follow suit.”

“I know it will take a long time, we just have to accept that. For now, thank you for not forgetting us!”

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