DeirEzzor – Sound and Picture
Sitting in the courtyard of their house in Alqosour neighborhood in Deir Ezzor countryside, Um Ahmed and her children celebrated their food. Um Ahmad put a little bit of parsley and salt on the bread for her children. This is their food in this forgotten corner of the world. Um Ahmed was embracing her children and thanking God for this plentiful blessing. She took a while to convince her children that parsley is just like spinach, and salt is wonderful, it gives a feeling of fullness. “We have bread, let’s be happy. Today, our lunch is parsley and bread”.
Um Khalid saw that painful scene as she was hanging her family’s laundry on the roof of the building. “This scene is clinging in my memory, my neighbor Um Ahmed, was sitting with her children in the courtyard of their house, eating bread, salt and parsley for lunch. This is the meal of the families in the besieged Deir Ezzor. May God help the people there” she said.
Um Khalid tried to describe the year of siege she experienced in Deir Ezzor while trying to hold her tears. She talked about all painful details and ending each story with “May God help the people there”. She left the neighborhood because she was sick and that life became more expensive inside than the richest cities in the world. Um Khalid could not endure all this torment and was finally able to leave her hometown after several failed attempts.
“The people there eat only one meal a day, and the drinking water is not always available. Children are not strong enough to walk. With the lack of food and preventions, the prices of food become crazy, that is why people are living on what was left of bread, salt and water” Um Khalid said.
Blood dealers are full while the poor are hungry
Um Khalid said: “Who have the money can eat, and those who do not have it starve to death, everyone who works in security forces and regime army has money and food. They even buy food at lower prices than we buy, and they have everything they need, while the rest of the people in the besieged neighborhoods cannot even afford to buy a loaf of bread. Blood traders and wealthy people in neighborhoods close to the regime, were not affected by the siege, they have all the necessities of life, and eat what they desire. These pleasures reach them through regime, in exchange for their services and support”.
Bread and water
Women grind remnants of dry bread, then they put a bit of dried mint and a small amount of spices. Um Khalid said: “spices also are unavailable there, so we put so little and we eat it with water. This meal became basic in our food and a luxury in the siege, May God help the people there”.
Climbing on buses
People from Alqosour neighborhood cannot find affordable transportation, therefore going to the University became so difficult. The high cost of fuel in the neighborhood makes moving by car or taxies a luxury for the poor people. That forced students to climb over crowded buses. “This is a risk, and uncivilized behavior” Um Khalid said “but they don’t have another option, there is no means of transportation available on a permanent basis because of the lack of fuel”.
Wheelbarrows to transport the injured
Um Khalid went out of her city, since the disease saddled and asthma patients simply die there. Injured are transported by locally assembled, which were used in construction work, to the military hospital where ambulances are not available. This hospital, which is controlled by regime does not receive the people from the neighborhood most of the time, as it only serve Al-Assad soldiers while families cannot find other places for medical services. The medical situation is worsening under siege, so people there simply die either from starvation or injuries due to the lack of medical care.
Since IS and regime decided to punish the people of Jura and Alqosour by this siege, 300 thousand people who live in the richest parts of the world of vegetables and oil dying of hunger, cold weather and disease. Who left in that forgotten spot, is fighting hunger with a little of water and salt, and cold weather with using their furniture as firewood. And as Um Khalid said “May God help the people there”