By Edouard Aldahdah
Posted on July 30th, 2012 in General
My heart is bleeding every day with what is going on in Syria, and Aleppo and Homs in particular, where I spent the nicest childhood and teenage days. Ever since things have started taking an uglier turn over the past months, I have lost all sense of joy and laughter, and I now find that life has no taste. A part of me is collapsing before my eyes, as I am watching (and sometimes even looking away) powerlessly.
I lost an old uncle in Homs, family members were wounded, and most of my extended family has been displaced from Homs and now Aleppo; my grandfather’s house in the old Christian neighborhood of Hamidie in Homs has been reduced to rubble, and many of the places I grew up in no longer exist.
For those of you who do not know Aleppo, it is the jewel on Syria’s crown, one of those rare and precious places like Rome, Paris, Istanbul or Fes in Morocco or Ispahan in Iran, which if destroyed, would bring down with it a sizable chunk of our collective human heritage.. it’s the oldest city in the world, a place where cultures have converged for millennia, where Arabs of all faiths, Turks, Kurds, Armenians, Circassians, Chechens have lived and blended together and created an urbane and very refined civilization, with a unique culture, history, antiques, poetry, dialect, music, food, and architecture; it’s one of those places the thought of which lets you sleep in peace at night, knowing that it still safely exists on the other side of the globe, and which you long to return to for the rest of your life.
I don’t feel like thinking about horses or writing about them anymore; most horses I knew and loved there have died or will die in the next few days in the fighting around Aleppo, but some will no doubt survive and breeding will start all over again when things will settle down, so I am not that worried about horses. Rather, I am grieving over the lives and hopes lost, the destroyed homes and childhoods, the shattered families and memories, the pain and anxiety of exile, the sorrow in the hearts, and above all the hatred and distrust sowed among neighbors and friends from different origins; it’s too painful and personal to write about in a dispassionate way, so I will not even try.
You will realize that I never took a political stance on what’s going on, because I have friends and family actively involved in both sides of the conflict; those of you who know me enough, however, know that I have strong opinions on the subject, but they do not belong to this space.