Jan 19, 2013

The Architecture Student from Aleppo

As part of our effort to highlight civilian stories, below is a conversation between Syria Deeply and an architecture student from the University of Aleppo. She is in her final year and working on her graduation project. This conversation predates the latest blast at the university’s architecture school. Luckily, she was absent on Tuesday, January 15, the day of the tragic incident. At her request, we are not disclosing her name. The text has been edited for clarity.

Yesterday, I saw four different traumatic scenes on my way to the university. These four scenes have shaken me deeply.

The first scene was when I was passing near a neighborhood, which is inside the area that sees heavy clashes. It is considered to be a hot spot. There were over one hundred people gathered in one corner, waiting for the right moment to cross the area. A woman watching the crowd told me that residents just evacuated their homes, but they want to go back to bring some of their essential belongings.

There were old men, women, and children waiting in the crowd. It looked like a border checkpoint…


Credit: Syrian Revolutionary Memory Project

The second scene still troubles me. There was an old and powerless man sitting on the sidewalk, putting his arms around himself, crying continuously. He was not a beggar. He didn’t open his hand and he didn’t accept any money. Only God knows what was his suffering or his loss!

People were passing by him, ignoring him. I curse the day an old man under the sky of my country would come to this miserable situation…

Then, on my way back home with my friend, I saw tens of children, women, and men carrying bottles and gallons of water. The children were laughing; the women were depressed, while the men looked broken.

The forth scene was a man and woman in their fifties walking hand in hand beside me on the same sidewalk. They looked very worried and sad. I heard them speaking about their children living abroad for work, or to escape military service, or just for safety. Meanwhile, the couple were staying alone watching over their home. That was the moment I felt guilty for thinking to leave the country and continue my studies abroad.

Four scenes made me pale like a wall, and I still bear that defeated spirit till this moment. How worse can it get than what we are suffering now?

The answer to her question didn’t wait too long. The latest blast in her faculty claimed the lives of more than 80 students and wounded hundreds. The conflict in Syria proves each day, that there is always worse than bad.

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