DeirEzzor – Sound and Picture

3 years since my father’s death “Abu Aref” The man who was loved by all people in our neighborhood, I still remember his eastern face and his strong voice. He was killed for no reason, only because he was in Al-Jura neighborhood when the regime security forces and army stormed in 25_6_2012, in order to terminate the revolution, killing 370 civilians in cold blood.

His spirit did not leave the family in spite of the emptiness he left by his departure. I had to bear the responsibility of the family, who refused to leave the house in which each of its members grew up in. Despite of suffering, the decision was inevitable not to leave my father alone in his grave.

Months passed and we kept on visiting his grave, taking care of the stones on his grave in the middle of the cemetery where all other martyrs were buried. It was a small cemetery, each grave has a tree next to it. Elkin, cypress, palm trees, but Elkin were the most prevalent.

My mother used to go out every Friday with my little sister to visit the grave and watering Elkin tree on the right side of my father’s grave. I can still remember the day when we purchased the tree from Alqosour nursery for 100 Syrian pounds. The tree was small placed inside a black bag, but it is a big tree now, as big as the sadness of separation, destruction and bombing and the number of martyrs who were lying underground.

Everything was growing up fast, but life, as it was narrowing little by little, and things were changing around. No voice was louder than the voice of the fire, while Al-Jura neighborhood was safer than other neighborhoods, even though it was occupied by the enemies of my family and many others who also lost family members.

But it worsened. Safety no longer existed. IS took over the liberated areas, and killed many of the revolution men. IS fighters were monsters or even worse. Since they entered, black covered my city. IS did not entered regime areas rather it sent her evil spirits to siege 250 thousand civilians in those areas, including my family and my father’s grave, preventing the entry of food, heating fuel and medical supplies to Al-Jura, Alqosour and Albaghlia which are controlled by the creator of IS; Assad regime, which in turn prevented people from going out of its regions to the dark part of the city in which the food is available.

Since the start of the siege, I started to forget about my father’s grave. Hunger, thirst, power outages, the cold winter and the lack of necessities of life forced us to oblivion. My mother and my sister no longer visiting the grave, no one takes care of stones piles over it, even Elkin tree we couldn’t see how it grew during our absence. Now the important thing is to find food to eat and get a little fuel for heating, the life is getting harder day after day.

Tomorrow we will complete a years of siege. It’s so cold on this day. On the third floor of our house, my mother and my brothers and sister were shivering from cold. We don’t have anything to burn and no money to buy fuel or wood. We used every piece of old cloth for making fire.

“What do I do?” It was in the middle of the night. I slept and the dreams took me away. I always dream that the siege is over and that we live as human beings again. But, that night, my father visited me in my dream and asked me to visit his grave and there he will provide us with security as he used to do during his life.

I woke up in the morning and went out quickly toward the cemetery. A lot of people there were pale and exhausted from hunger and cold, but something strange was happening. They all were cutting down the trees planted next to the graves!

I stood in silent watching around and then I sat down. The scene was spinning around me. I lost my balance, and in a moment I came back to life. I recovered the dream, my father wanted me to see these people and he wanted to give us Elkin tree which was right on the edge of his grave to provide us warmth.

I walked towards one of the people there, borrowed an ax and made it to the tree. It grew very fast during the period of my absence. I cut it and divided it into pieces, and then took it to the house.

Everyone was surprised and wondered about the source of firewood, I told them that I managed it. At the sun set time we sat up the fire and warmth returns to the house and my brothers slept. My mother couldn’t sleep, something was worrying her. She asked me:

– Please tell me, where did you get the firewood from, is it stolen?

– No, Mom, I don’t steal.

– Where did get from then?

– From here.

– What do you mean by here?

-Frankly, this is the wood of the tree we planted on my father’s grave, don’t be sad Mom, I’m not the only one, everybody in the siege areas are cutting of trees that were planted at the graves of the martyrs.

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Sound and Picture organization: We are a group of Syrian human rights activists. We noticed the lack of bodies which document abuses against civilians inside Syria, therefore we decided to establish this project, it is specialized to document the violations which have committed by all sides in the ongoing conflict in Syria against civilians in a professional way. The organization is documenting all kinds of violations, and working on the accounting for the groups which committed these violations by the international community. The organization is completely independent, and does not follow any political or military bodies, whether inside or outside Syria.

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