Syria

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.

21 Responses to “Syria”

  1. Eduoard I weep tears for you and for Syria. The conflict is so awful and not necessary. I wish fervently it ends soon and resolves well.

  2. Edouard, it would no doubt be pointles to start a discussion on the topic.

    As always, the first casualty of war is truth. Historians still have to sort out the true history of 1944-1945 in Europe, buried (again) for decades to come in American archives, let alone that it would be possible in an ongoing conflict.

    Come you masters of war
    You that build all the guns
    You that build the death planes
    You that build the big bombs
    You that hide behind walls
    You that hide behind desks
    I just want you to know I can see through your masks.
    (Bob Dylan)

  3. I am desperately sorry, Edouard. What a criminal, stupid waste. Nothing in the world can possibly justify this. Total madness.

  4. Edouard, we sorrow along with you, you know that. So much so that words seem inadequate. Aleppo, especially, is in my heart!

  5. As Jeanne said, I also grieve with you. A terrible, terrible loss.

  6. Dear Edouard, I am so sorry to hear about the loss of some of your family and friends and as you know we both have friends in that region. It saddens me to think that the peaceful time when I was there is now totally gone — a time when there was the love of horses and people and laughter, and buildings like the old pink house in Aleppo looked as if timeless, and the souks were busy and colorful in brass and fabric. I keep, on my window sill, my little cast iron “owl” a gift from Radouan, found in the souks, as a symbol of the wisdom of that visit. The depth of human antiquity and spirit radiated from the earth we stood on humbling us, by all that had gone before — and now this? I could never have dreamed this day would come. My deepest thoughts for you and family and friends.

  7. Stay strong Edouard my thoughts are that after all this is settled you may be a vital link to gathering and reestablishing the Syrian horses. You have been pulled out and set aside for some reason.

  8. Tim is exactly correct. This insanity will wither and fade out and when it does someone with courage will need to be on hand to help re-establish and preserve that which cannot ever be washed away. And it needs to to be someone who is honest and knowledgeable. That would be you.
    Best wishes
    Bruce Peek
    PS I’ll start praying for you guys.

  9. Also my thoughts and prayers are with the people of syria and hopefully peace will come soon. The love of the arabian horse is a strong bond between different people and has facilitated friendship above political or religious borders.
    We all look forward to the time of peace in the whole region and this blog has its share in it. Thank You, Edouard

    salaam – shalom – peace

    Matthias

  10. Words cannot express the feelings Edouards. Syria and Homs and all the other Syrian cities are very close to our hearts beside being a dear part of my own family history. I am very sad to know that you’ve lost beloved people there. My sincere condolence. And very sad too to know that the whole world is loosing history and culture there. Those who got to visit Aleppo and Homs and the other Syrian cities and walk their streets and breathe their culture, can see what you mean. It is not about destroying some nicely architected old houses and killing some rare horses, but about killing human history and invaluable cultural heritage. Killing present is always a big crime but present can be reborn, but killing history and heritage is irreversible and unforgivable. It is a loss for all the humanity and a shame for the whole world who lets those insane and brutal rulers kill innocent people and destroy a great heritage.

  11. Edouard,
    Décontenancé d’apprendre tant de mauvaises nouvelles, je voudrais t’apporter un soutien sans faille, en mon nom propre mais aussi au nom de l’Uscar, dont les adhérents suivent assiduement ce blog.
    Sois fort, porté par la passion

  12. Edouard,

    The greatest poverty in the world of humanity is the voiding of love. Be
    ‘Careful all of us, that we do not void ours. I too share in this great sadness, Edouard. JNH

  13. Oh Edouard, I am so sad for you, I cannot even imagine what it must be like to see the places in your heart embroiled in senseless conflict. So much of our modern culture originated in that part of the world and the thought of it being wantonly destroyed breaks my heart. We can only hope that wiser minds prevail and this, too, shall pass and the healing can begin.

    Stay strong, you will be needed when reason again prevails.

    Pamela

  14. en espérant que tous ces morts et ce gachis ne seront pas inutiles et qu’il en sortira quelque chose de meilleur mais c’est bien triste tout cela et malheureusement en général mais pas toujours,c’est le pouvoir et l’argent qui mènent le monde et j’ai bien peur que l’humanité aille dans le mur pour diverses raisons.
    Je pense bien à vous ainsi qu’à votre famille,vos proches en syrie et à tous les inconnus de ce pays.

  15. Dear Edouard
    My deepest condolences for the loss of some of your family members & friends, and for the loss of your ancestors’ land & History.
    I hope it ends soon, satisfactorily.

  16. I am so very sorry for your loss. I cannot imagine how heartbreaking it is for you to be watching this nightmare unfold before your eyes and to be able to do nothing to stop it.
    I saw your post the other day that said “How can I cry for the horses when there are children who are dying every day”. I pray to God for you, your family and your beloved country and ask that these terrible times soon be ended. Keep strong…some day it will be over, God willing, and your people and country will need you to help them rebuild.

  17. Dear Edouard,

    I have been following the horror in Syria (part of Mandour’s breeding is Syrian)and can barely stand to read about it. But unlike you, I have no ties and have never been there. In trying to imagine your grief I imagine Paris being destroyed or my beloved Nantucket and then I get a brief but bitter taste. I am deeply sorry for what you are going through. For the record, I think it’s perfectly acceptable to feel grief for the children and innocent people who are dying, and also for the horses. For life and beauty to be snuffed out is repugnant. My very best to you.

  18. Edouard, I am so sorry for the troubles of Syria. My heart and prayers for peace are with you and your family…May this injustice end somehow soon and peace once more prevail over your great country. My best to you and safe travels.

  19. Edouard, words can not describe the feelings I have reading your post and seeing the photos. We can not know how it feels to see this happen to the places that we grew up and loved and to our family and friends. This world and the senseless death and violence never cease to amaze and horify me. I pray this will end soon for you and those you love who have remained there and that you may begin to heal. Much love to you. Lisa

  20. I have been struggling how to put this into words without getting all polemic about it. What is it about people who have power- which does indeed flow from the barrels of the guns they command, who feel threatened enough to cause them to wreak such destruction? No doubt they can rationalize their insanity in some fashion with words. One look at the devestation caused by this behaviour by poeple who Edouard says used to live together and got along in an ok way should demonstrate to the most purblind power hungry pighead around that while they may think they are destroying and defeating their enemies they are really destroying themselves, their future and the future of their children. God above must be watching this and shaking his-her head in sadness at what his-her children are doing to each other. May you always be strong Edouard.
    Bruce Peek

  21. Edouard, I cry as I write this. Beautiful Syria, the history , the horses, the people. I have always thought of Syria as a special place, and the horses the best in the world.
    Only if we could have again the beauty and aura of Syria. The people there are amazing, and Syria and it’s people will rise again. So will the horses

    God be with you and Syria.

    Margaret Dubois

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