Finding the One True Syrian Self Again

In 2011, the Syrian crisis started. The values of kindness and appreciation to others, along with the concept of one country suddenly disappeared. The war pushed people to hurt each other verbally, emotionally, and physically. People killed, hurt, displaced, stole, and kidnapped others based on characterizations that did not matter in the past. However, political views, religion, sect, origin, ideas, and even social status started to matter and each one of these characterizations changed the way you are treated.

Our selfishness and belief that we can step on other’s rights because we are the better are what led to our destruction. The destruction went beyond property or material damage, it was the destruction of the human soul; people showed each other no mercy. It was as if they were stripped of their humanity. As a result, those who had power or could access it abused it, exploited the vulnerable and weak, and turned war into business.

The kidnapping was commonplace in Syria. People were kidnapped in exchange for money. It did not matter whether it was, far or close from the city, alone or with a group of people, rich or poor; there was still a chance that you might get kidnapped. People were being kidnapped in front of their houses and in public. No one dared to interfere, everyone was afraid of getting involved or hurt which was why kidnapping was the most common act of the war.

However, aren’t there exceptions to every case? Is it possible that every Syrian is selfish?

The story that I am about to tell is going to answer these questions.

Once there was a young man, let’s call him Fadi, who had a normal job in a public-sector institution, and like every institution, there were employees with different backgrounds, different religions, different political views, and even different sects. They all worked together in harmony and these differences did not affect their working environment. One might think that these employees are obliged to work together in harmony. However, this was proven to be wrong. When this young man exited the building after working hours, he was heading towards the bus when a car pulled up in front of him and two guys in masks stepped out of it, grabbed him, and tried to push him towards the car where their two companions were waiting and scaring people off with their weapons to prevent them from interfering.

Everyone was shocked. They all stood there watching their colleague fighting for his life. They were all scared because every time they tried to step in, the abductors fired to the ground. However, while some people were scared, others were not. Some people did not care about the guns and stepped in to pull Fadi away from the abductors until finally, they set him free and the kidnappers drove off in their car.

When I heard this story all I could think of is how amazing and brave these people were. These people had jeopardized their lives for someone who was neither a family member, a friend, not necessarily a member of their community. This act of selflessness gives me hope that Syria is still the same and that war didn’t destroy us completely.

This story is a simple example of many stories where people in Syria stood together during the crisis, despite their differences. Whether in a similar situation or in other situations, some Syrians still have morals and respect. It is these people and their acts of solidarity that make me believe that we can find the true Syrian self again. The self that promotes respect for everyone no matter how different they are, promotes harmony with others and promotes support for everyone in both the good and bad days. Only with these people will we have hope to rebuild a peaceful Syria.

Written by Sara Harba, a current intern from Syria at the WYA Middle East office.