Time and Questions

I have a hard time remembering dates, the traditional way of relating to time that is, it’s not that I lose track of time, but my understanding to time now differs from how it was, well, before my first detention I guess.

I used to be a calender person, I have stuff to do in my day, and I have goals to achieve in this month, I try to. Now, time has become turning points instead. For example: I understand time and history when someone says: “when the army raided Darayya,” or when someone asks me “do you remember the Hour Square massacre in Homs?” Yes I do, I remember all of these, but I don’t remember the dates, the months and days that pass.

Time moves rapidly in Syria, that’s why it’s hard to get hold of it. So you remember turning points instead that develop through time. Just a while ago and while I was chit-chatting with friends, I remembered that I was terrified of detention, I was surprised that I don’t easily remember the first fear, because all I think about about, all my energy can only “have time” to current fears. Current fears live with my day, I worry for my friends in Damascus, and I cannot bear the fear.

For example, our first fear of detention is not in any way the same current fear of it. Today, we celebrate the release of detainees because it means they are made it out alive, the usual sentence we used to say to such occasion “thank God you’re safe and sound” is actually now meaningful, not rhetorical like “happy birthday.” It’s not a casual thing you say anymore. Our fear of detention now is different from how it was two years ago.

When I read “timelines” of the revolution on some major sites that the revolution started in March 15th, I don’t find myself relating to this date, because I lived those days, and I know that many protests occurred long before that worldly-acknowledged date.

Time is no longer the time the I used to understand and relate to. It turned into: when my friend was walking to his care on his way back to Damascus but a shell killed him, when my friend was dying alone in his detention cell after being tortured and prevented from medical care, when I was hearing voices of detainees being tortured for half an hour, daily, for two months, when I was reporting to Air Force Intelligence with my SCM colleagues. Time became wounds that live in your brain and prevents you from relating to anything but to the image and the sound of that very memory.

Time moves rapidly in Syria, and against the world.

The past week, for example, many activists in Damascus were calling for help from their friends to find them doctors that would volunteer in field hospitals in shelled suburbs of Damascus. Doctors are now scars in Damascus and there aren’t enough of them that would cover all field hospitals. “Anybody, we just need anybody,” is the common line we are hearing. Two days ago, there was an open call on Facebook for doctors in Syria to join the revolution and help the injured in need of medical care. It’s the first time that I see such call, which reflects how the situation on the ground has gotten even worse. “Even worse,” silly way of describing the situation, really.

An injured could die due to the lack of medical care. Doctors are targeted by the regime, tortured when detained, and often get killed.

Time exists as an urgency in Syria. You hear activists say “I wish I had more time to do this or that,” most activists have turned into relief activists, because no one would fill in this gap. In many field hospitals you find a grocery store owner is helping the injured simply because someone has to, and there aren’t doctors around.

My friends have lost their friends. My friends are now in pain and I cannot call them and be there for them. I cannot bear it, I want to be with them, hold their hands, protect them, I cannot call them and say few words. It doesn’t work that way, you actually have to be there for each other. The usual way of comforting one another no longer applies.

There is no time to process the pain, there is no time to do what you want to do, there is no time to read and answer questions.

Questions. I am hating this word. People love to ask questions about certain topics in Syria and their favorite line is: “we don’t know what’s happening in Syria, it’s confusing.”

I sit in my chair trying to think of a diplomatic reply. “Confusing”?

People don’t ask me what’s happening in Syria, I love people who ask these questions, but I despise people who come to me and look me in the eye and ask me to ease their worries from, umm, “imperialist agendas,” from “Islamists,” and from “FSA violations of human rights.” People like these don’t genuinely want to learn, they just want to “chit-chat” about my pain. The pain that lives in me day and night, I remember Lina’s voice coming from the other side, “I am tired, Razan,” and I know that when she says that, it means that she really, really, can’t take it anymore.

But some people who are “confused” about Syria’s popular revolution and want us to give them “guarantees” that Syria won’t be subject to imperial powers, nor to Islamic control, tell you in a straight face using some intellectual phrases and historical references that I should be “working harder” and “thinking harder” on how I should “preserve” our revolution goals they he or she supports, but is so confused about.

Questions. People have questions. I get that. But don’t come and tell me you’re in solidarity with our revolution. People in solidarity would first open a discussion with questions like: “how is your family and friends?” or “what can I do to help?” before you come and dictate me how we should be “worried” about your definition of a “successful revolution.”

People in solidarity are easy to feel, they’re compassionate and would listen more than talk, you on the other hand, intellectual, are a waste of my painful time.

Solidarity, such a difficult task, but it would tell you the difference between fake and genuine supporters.

To those in solidarity with people’s right to self-determination worldwide, I raise my morning cup of coffee to you, I love you, and my day would always gets better because of your emails, messages and phone calls.

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17 thoughts on “Time and Questions

  1. northernsong says:

    This is a beautiful writing on the true meaning of solidarity – listening, hearing, supporting, rather than inquisition, judgement, and ultimatum. I believe what you’ve said about solidarity here is true and just as important in the case of Syria, Palestine, Turtle Island, or any other struggle.

  2. UmmYoussef says:

    I am reading your blog for a while now but I haven’t find anything useful or at least smart to say. All I can say is that you have all my respect, just as all Syrians do. I am not Syrian… But I spent few years there now, is even mentioned in one of your posts the name of my area…
    I left 4 months ago because it was too dangerous to keep my little son there. I won’t say that I’ve lost so much…Because comparing with people who are still there my lost means nothing. Is true the last months there I felt as if each day was my last day. But I am alive. Some of my family, some of my friends are not. And nothing will ever bring them back to me.
    I am so ashamed that my country does nothing, that Europe does nothing to help Syrians. I am getting so crazy when people feel sorry for me just because I was there. Well I am going to tell you what I’ve told them as well: 3 years of Syria means more than the rest of my life spent in Europe. Syria and Syrians gave me so many lessons: about love, kindness, respect, faith, generosity, humanity. It’s because of that place I am what I am today. It was there where I made peace with myself, finally understood what I am and what is my purpose in life.
    And if I ever wish for something is for my son to grow up there. I really want to come back. I wish I’ve never left but I still hope that one day I will give back to your country some of the amazing things I received from it. I believe in Syria, I believe in all of you. Stay strong!
    We are praying for you!

  3. Momoftwo says:

    I heard the CBC’s piece yesterday. I cringed when he asked you if “it was worth it.” I want you to know that there are people who do want to know about daily life in Syria; about what’s happening to schools, hospitals and postal services; who want to know how people are eating, if they are able to relax and how they simply get through each day. There are hearts that are open to education, who strive to be good listeners and above all, to ask the right questions. I hope that your parents are ok and you are able to maintain comtact with your siblings (if you have any) and extended family.

    With thoughts of peace from British Columbia.

  4. Slow Command says:

    Razzan, I find it pretty disturbing when you as a popular (=influential) blogging Syrian activist say in the most recent CBC interview that Syrians anyway have a short life span and don’t expect a long life. And on the question whether you would have gone active if you would’ve known the death toll before the uprising started you right away answer with “Yes”. I wonder who is more radical then. Being radically in love with the thought of “freedom”, but taking in count to have for a looong time a miserable life in front of you when you stay in a destroyed country, shivers me. And this comes from a woman! You must be so full of hate of the Assad Regime (no wonder, you mentioned you were a few times interned which is not funny), that you must have forgotten history. What happened mostly with those countries which went through a bloody “revolution”? Because at this point you have made a difference between a bloody revolution (e.g. Syria, Egypt, Tunesia, Lybia) and a peaceful “revolution” like the unification of Germany or most of the other eastern European countries after the Iron curtain fell. You can name it revolution or upraising or spring. But in one thing you forgot to mention: the foreign interests in destabilizing Syria. I have never been in Syria and don’t know any Syrians, but every child can figure out that Syria (neither the Assad side, nor the revolutionary side) is -obviously- not producing their own weapons. They get them from countries which have certain interests in your country. so, pleaaase, with your influence on so many fellow countrymen and women fighting out there, don’t try to tell them that it’s about freedom, it’s not. On the question whether you are worried that (other) radicals may take over your revolution or not you answer something like “this will not happen”… aha. Half of the country is destroyed, over 70,000 killed. For WHAT? You can only excuse them with the cause of freedom? The fight must go on so that the 70,000 did not die in vain? You are truly an iron lady and proably have lost your sense of life. I really wish that you get out of this mess in one piece and everything will work out. But at the end you need to ask yourself, was it all worth it? While the neighbouring countries continued their prosperity (ok, forget Irak for a while – THAT’s another chapter in historic stupidity) Syria slowly destroyed itself, only to be reconstructed by western countries who make a nice buck in getting all the construction deals. Please let this sink in: we, the cultivated countries still do what we do since thousands of years: we destroy other countries once they develop too much on their own to either rebuild them for expensive money or leave them in poverty for quite a while to be really dependent on us. THAT’s how life circle is running nowadays. So, in a certain way you could actually take the formular for real: “you are either with us or against us” – that decision is up to you, your family and friends and all followers of your blogs, twitter and Facebook.

    Ok – so I said it – hopefully you will not crucify me for tellying you only the truth.

    • Razan says:

      I find it really disturbing to describe what you wrote above as “truth” when you admitted that: “I have never been in Syria and don’t know any Syrians.”

      Since you don’t know Syrians and haven’t been to Syria, how about you listen when Syrian speak on Radio shows for a change? I think that’s the only “truth” you need to learn.

      • Slow Command says:

        Look, I listened to what you said on CBC radio, didn’t I? So, here is the freedom of speech. I have been in a country which went through a similar “revolution” and it went bad, very bad. I really believe that you and all your followers are fighting for a good cause. But reality is that you do not have control of things that will happen. There are other powers that will “direct” and stage and use people like you for their political & economical goals. So, whatever you do, you need to understand and accept this, maybe then you will succeed in some sort of controlled democracy in the aftermath…

  5. Lodewijk Langeweg says:

    Yes, criticism on Assad and the Syrian government has been strictly prohibited and punished so far. Understandable that there was protest against that. But what would happen in your beloved country if the armed opposition took over power there?

    Look what is happening to demonstrating women in Egypt now that the same Muslim fundamentalists took over there:
    “Egypt: “Women Ask To Be Raped!”
    http://www.nodeju.com/6973/egypt-women-ask-to-be-raped.html

    Christians and moderate Muslims are now being persecuted and slaughtered in Syria. Beheadings in the streets and the killing civilians who refuse the join the armed opposition are now daily occurrences. Whole families -including children- are being murdered al-Qaeda stile, the atrocities being imputed to the Syrian army in good false flag fashion.

    To be frank, I would rather live under Assad and keep my criticism to myself and my friends -swallow it- than under a regime of the Jihad fighting mercenaries-terrorists there.

    If we see the results of the revolutions lately, one wonders if they were worth all the suffering. One dictator falls, and a worst one takes his place…

    From Amsterdam with love,
    Lodewijk Langeweg

  6. Lodewijk says:

    Bloody revolutions there have been many. Dictators come and go. It seems in the long run nothing basically changes. There is still tremendous suffering in the world, regardless of all the blood that has been shed for change. The changes turn out to be mostly temporary only. Then a new wave of suffering ensues in one form or another.

    Yet there is very good reason for hope. The real changes can only take place with a radical shift in awareness, a shift that has not been seen before in human history. It is therefore completely different from everything we have seen and known before. It is therefore really new.

    This is a change that is not -or seldom- reported in the news media, and yet it is longed for by everyone, be it mostly subconsciously still.

    I’m referring to two phenomena, both have to do with a kind of “waking up” as if from a nightmare, which this world is in a sense. It is only from that state of a new awareness that real positive change is occurring and will do so increasingly.

    Have a look at these two ways in which the new awareness is waking up in an increasingly large number of people, including in many who were “dictators” before to those in the their surroundings or the people under their influence:

    “How Near-Death Experiences Are Changing The World”

    Just one example out of many interviews with many people:
    “Awakening”
    http://conscious.tv/nonduality.html

    Many more people talking about their awakening:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/conscioustv

    “Buddha at the Gas Pump”
    http://www.youtube.com/user/BuddhaAtTheGasPump

    “Never Not Here”
    http://www.nevernothere.com/guest-grid

    I would say: “Pray that all those -without exception, regardless which side they are on- involved in the conflict in Syria may find the deep inner peace that is their true nature, and may that inner peace manifest in this world.”

    Much Love and Strength to you in this for you very difficult time.

  7. Lodewijk says:

    My 2 previous posts were removed. I hope at least this one is allowed. Otherwise you are simply not being honest, and want to give only a one-sided view of what is going on in Syria.

    I don’t belong to any religion, but that is no reason for me not to feel for the suffering of these people, just as I do for the imprisoned mates of Razan.

    “Syria – The Fear Within Christians and Other Minorities”

  8. Lodewijk says:

    Oops, my sincere apologies. After posting the ““Syria – The Fear Within Christians and Other Minorities” post, I saw that my last previous post appear with “awaiting moderation.”

    The video “How Near-Death Experiences Are Changing The World” (part 2) refers to part 1. Part 1 seems like some kind of Christian proselytizing, but after a while it becomes clear that it isn’t. The maker shows that a Christian might see Jesus as a savior, a Hindu Krishna, a Buddhist the Buddha, a Muslim Mohammad, etc. Many of those who had an NDE saw those personalities as beings of pure Light, and themselves as well. That is because the being of Light is in truth our true Identity.

    Only the awareness of our true Identity -of Who we really are, including Who everyone else really is- will bring the desired peace and happiness to us all. And it is -slowly still- developing, and will do so exponentially.

  9. Lodewijk says:

    Thank you for allowing the above posts to appear. To get to the actual practice of experiencing inner peace, and thus share it with your beloved ones and everyone else in this world, that this peace may enter the world, replacing conflict and hatred with itself, here are two guided meditations leading to that. You need nothing else to be a transmitter of peace. Others will resonate with it even when they would not be consciously aware of that or where it is coming from.

    These two practical exercises are meant to transform any suffering one might experience, a suffering that is one’s share of the suffering the whole world is undergoing. That it may lighten the load of everyone, even if that would be on a for most of us still unconscious level: the “collective unconscious” as it has been called. It begins by allowing everything to be as one personally experiences it, no matter how unpleasant one’s experience might be at the moment:

    “Allowing Everything to Be As It Is Meditation”
    http://www.oprah.com/spirit/Adyashantis-Meditation-Allowing-Everything-to-Be-As-It-Is

    “Not My Will, but the Heart’s Will Be Done”
    http://www.oprah.com/oprahsbookclub/Audio-Meditation-Not-My-Will-But-the-Hearts-Will-Be-Done

    This is true prayer, the willingness to lighten the load of the world by bearing one’s part of it, and thus allow the inner peace and love that is hidden under it to come forth, shared with everyone by this willingness.

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