And You’re Still Dead

ترجمة النص الى العربية في الأسفل

Do you remember when it all started? I think I added you on Facebook. I met you the day before at Sham Mahal bar, you, Salina and Kinana were organizing this movie screening club. The first movie you screened was SlingShot Hip Hop. I remember we were talking about losing weight, but you were proud of your belly. “Without my belly I wouldn’t have managed to drink my coffee when I am laying down on bed,” you explained.

I remember your hair, that magnificent smile of yours.

You were reading my blogposts, you said to me once on gtalk. I was thrilled. You and I got closer when the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt started. Do you remember those days? We were alive again, no, we were born for the first time in our lives. Look at me smiling just by remember those days. Our time has come, we all knew it.


You were one of the organizers to the sit-in in front of the Egyptian embassy. You were about to be detained if Lina hadn’t pulled you from their hands. I need to tell you something, whenever I see Lina I feel you’re with us, sitting on the third empty chair next to us. Listening. Bassel, do you miss me like I miss you terribly? It hurts, Bassel, you need to do something about this pain. No one else could.

Lina and Bassel marching for Palestinian rights in Lebanon,  July 1st 2010.

Lina and Bassel marching for Palestinian rights in Lebanon, July 1st 2010.

You sent me a message when Days of Anger was announced. You and I were sitting in Rawda cafe, waiting for a miracle to happen. In the cafe, we were the only civilians, the rest were intelligence in disguise. Then we decided to leave before they come to us. But they did come as soon as we were leaving. “Give us your IDs,” five men showed up asking in authoritative tone. “Why?” I asked in fear. But you just handed them your ID, your face turned yellow. They checked your name and let us go. “It’s not him,” they murmured as they left us be.

We agreed together later on that showing up in that day was the stupidest thing we ever did in our lives. It’s stupid, but we were children hungry for a little bit of inspiration, right?

Then the revolution in Syria started, and you were funny Bassel, really, I was posting the updates on demonstrations occurring and you were sending me messages: “Razan, you’re crazy! Make an anonymous profile, they’ll catch you!”.

But who would believe an unknown person, Bassel? That’s why we used our real names to spread news. You were traveling with your motorcycle at the time, and I had to leave to Lebanon quickly when Amer was detained. Good times.


Then we returned. You returned for good, you died, Bassel. You died in the land you worked for till the last breath. Till the last breath. Your eyes closed or was it them who closed them for you? Why do I need to know all this?

I sometimes feel shocked, that you’re still dead. Because you’re not disappearing, at all, from my life. I keep mentioning you in conversations, laughing at you, I keep seeing your photos on my accounts.

Bassel, I don’t get how you’re still dead. You’re one of my best friends, and it’s not getting easier, and time is not healing shit, and thinking about you still makes me cry. Do you understand? We’ve lost so much of our humanity, we’ve became numb to news, but you can still make me cry. How can you be dead to me, Bassel, when you’re the one who’s making me human again?

You need to know this, I envy you, really. You were in love, I loved how you were telling me about her when you were in Homs, all you talked about was her. And I was just giggling. That damn boy is in love. That was four days before they killed you. Four days.

Bassel Shehada in Homs, this photo was taken one hour before he was killed by a mortar grenade on 28th. May 2012.

Bassel Shehada in Homs, this photo was taken one hour before he was killed by a mortar grenade on 28th. May 2012.

The last time I saw you it was in Damascus, Sarouja. I held you and told you: you know that you’re very dear to me, right?”. You held me back and smiled. You said nothing. When I first heard that you died, I thought about that scene so many times. I thought to myself “why didn’t he say anything back? wasn’t I dear to him too?” and I cried a lot Bassel, can you imagine? You died and that’s all what I thought about for first few minutes. Then she told me that you liked me a lot, you even defended me countless times and I had no idea. I had no idea.

Ever since you died and I am becoming this expressive person, “I love you,” is what I keep telling people. “I love you” in case something happened, so you would know how I felt towards you.

No one will read this long post, right? But it’s for you Bassel. Be patient with me, I still can’t believe you’re dead.

النص بالعربية هنا


29 thoughts on “And You’re Still Dead

  1. Terence Clark says:

    I watched this blog throughout the liberation in Libya, and when Libya was free of Ghaddafi I kept it on my list of blogs to track, but I didn’t read it so much anymore. Until today.

    I’m sorry for your loss. I’m sorry because, while I don’t know Bassel, I know you aren’t the only one mourning his passing, who can’t believe he’s gone. And I’m sorry because I know he is not the only one. By far not the only one. In the news they are all numbers and it is perhaps easy to forget that every one of those numbers leaves behind smiling pictures and those who can’t believe they’re gone.

    Thank you for taking the time to share this.

  2. Roy Maki says:

    We were friends, too and ya it’s hard to cope with his earthly disappearance .. thanx for writing this and sharing your experience with us.

  3. dhotel says:

    Your post will be read and your words will burst into tears many people. Don’t think you ‘re alone, and what you say is right: for you, Bassel still dead will always be in your heart and it will not be sad. Courage, Razan, vous ne serez plus jamais seule de toute votre vie.

  4. Francesca Markus says:

    I read it. I prayed for you when you were detained. Just a cowgirl in a ponytail way the fuck out in Arizona, USA. I prayed for your release. I prayed for your life. I prayed for your friends. I prayed for your country and your people. Every day I pray. Syria is not forgotten, and neither are you. We are hurting here, crippled by corporate greed, stifled by vanishing freedoms, haunted by memories of our own loved ones and our lives past, frustrated with a fat, spoiled government that shows neither us nor you the compassion we all deserve. So we pray and appeal to the Divine. I am so grateful you are alive. I am so grateful you still use your voice. I am so grateful that our souls have connected.

  5. Shevan says:

    رزان باسل كل الأصدقاء هذا هو قدرنا بسوريا أن نودع الأحباء الواحد تلو الاخر باسل كان فراشة نسمة ربيع بشتائنا السوري البارد القارس المتجمد الدامي الحزين المتألم المصلوب الذي ينتظر الربيع العربي السوري المنشود الذي لم ولن يأتي إلا بموت الفراشات الجميلة من حولنا التي
    ستعطي للحياة معنا جديد ولادة جديدة سورية حرة متألقة نقية جميلة خالية من كل الحشرات المؤذية

    أشعر بالعجز بالألم عندما نودع الأحباء والأصدقاء الواحد تلو الأخر لا أعرف لماذا أشخاص رائعون جميلون كباسل وغيره من أزهار سوريا وأيقوناتها الرائعة يموتون يذبلون يقطفون قبل أوانهم وأشخاص قذرين مجرمين تعطيهم الحياة العمر الطويل
    هل في هذه الحياة من عدالة ؟؟
    باسل أنا أيضا أفتقدك وأفتقد إبتسامتك الرائعة
    كم نحن بحاجة لأكثر من باسل في واقعنا السوري الحالي
    باسل إشتقنالك

  6. Inge says:

    Beautifully accurate. I was contemplating very similar things when I was crying because of a friend that love dearly, and that I lost over two years ago. No, the pain of missing doesn’t go away, but neither does he. And I wouldn’t want it any other way, unless he’d be alive.

    I have that feeling of intensified love too. Or maybe it’s an intensified awareness. But it’s so important to stand still for caring for others to fight the desensitization that smothers the outrage.

    Thanks for this post, love inge

  7. Sharon Nelson says:

    I feel you reached into my heart and put it in writing. ‘No-one will read that long post’? On the contrary, you are living in times many of us in the rest of the world cannot imagine. But you have made this piece universal. Every word hurts. Every word cries. Every word speaks of a human condition that is inevitable and devastating. You doubt that people will read it. I will never forget it. Thank you. And take care.

  8. Hummingbird says:

    We lost many friends in many ways, we lost them to death, to different stands, to depression, and to the unknown. So many love ones we lost.
    I am numb too, I am in the phase of nihilistic living. One thing that keeps me conscious, one thought plays on and on and on in my head about a crazy girl dancing barefoot. The day we witness a new earth called Free Syria, I imagine myself dancing barefoot in Umayyad square.

  9. ws says:

    All these people killed, bodies maimed, lives destroyed, cities decimated. I’ve noticed I’ve started questioning whether it was all worth it.
    Then I think about it, and I realize even before we stood up and said enough, they had already been killing us and destroying all that’s beautiful in our homeland.

    They killed us every time one of us was thrown into jail for saying something they didn’t approve of. They killed us every time they abused one of us, tortured one of us, or humiliated one of us They killed us every time they falsely arrested us in hopes for bribes, or took away our successful businesses that were feeding our families. They killed us 20,000 times that fateful February in Hama.

    The tragedy is not that we stood up, it’s that we waited this long.

    It is destroying me to think of all the good people that are getting hurt in this. All these beautiful and brave Syrian youth, who fought, struggled, died and got hurt so that future Syrians will not have to live through what their parents did. Today hundreds died in car accidents, of old age, from diseases – but Bassel died in the most noblest of causes, as a voice against injustice and tyranny. I would hate for anyone to think that Bassel or any of the beautiful people that were killed in this tragedy died in vain. I have never met you, or Bassel, but I swear I love you so much. We all do.

    Before this hideous regime took over, the Syrian people were one big family. Drop the name of a family from AlMidan to a grandfather in Homs, and he will likely be able to tell you the entire family tree for that family!

    And to think the people that are doing this to us are not some foreign invaders, but were our neighbours! Forget the government for a second and the security apparatus, people let this happen.

    You spend more than a few days in this world and you realize that a lot of people are self centred, shallow or vain and then you meet or hear about people like Bassel and you wish you can hold on to him forever.

    I cannot pretend like I knew Bassel as a person or that I can even begin to relate to what you’re going through………

    If there’s anything I (or anyone else) can do for you, please let me know. I’m sorry for the long rambling comment… I just had the urge to say something.

  10. Jitka (Czech rep.) says:

    How strong and touching… you’ve got a gift, your writing is accurate and mind-boggling… Stand strong, you and your countrymen aren’t forgotten!

  11. nader george says:

    How would u think that no one will read this! We barried alot of ppl in egypt, i knew some but no close friends! Im heart broken about them so i cant even imagine how u feel! My heart is with u and i really admire ur courage :) always be expressive
    Nader from Egypt

  12. Samy Harmoush says:

    “I sometimes feel shocked, that you’re still dead. Because you’re not disappearing, at all, from my life. I keep mentioning you in conversations, laughing at you, I keep seeing your photos on my accounts.”

    Time moves forward yet our hearts remain in the placid pool of our memories. Though you may not see him, he remains with you – in this is the beauty of your eternal nafss.

    “I held you and told you: you know that you’re very dear to me, right?”. You held me back and smiled. You said nothing.”

    Our existence is eternal. May you have an eternity in heaven to smile back at Bassel and say nothing for love knows no words.

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