Story of a Syrian Prisoner

Translated by ; Aishah Barazi

A year ago, he was a young man smiling with hope and his worries were behind his back. He remained like that even after his first detention experience that lasted for 3 months shortly after the beginning of the revolution. That day we explained the phenomenon with the spirit of youth that confronts all odds and defies all horrors the Syrians are experiencing inside the regime’s prisons which resemble nothing but hell. At that time, all detainees used to flash the victory sign when released from their dungeons and their pains were lost in the middle of laughs and chats as if they were in a trip! The detention’s circumstances have not changed much since then.. the hellish torture and bones squishing mania of the wardens yet something else has changed.

Today, after his second detention experience which lasted for an entire year, one can barely recognize his old features. His half-smile does not have that ray of light that used to sparkle in his eyes a year ago. His young tormented body turned into a shadow and pain is evidently showing in every turn and curve of it that he cannot hide it this time.

He is speaking intermittently about that dungeon or group-detention cells, about the electric baton or the ghost (handcuffed behind the back and hung to the ceiling by the tied hands or feet then beating or electrifying the victim) and about hundreds of bodies sharing a few meters of space and loads of pain. Even so, what is new about all of that? Nothing.. This has been the case all the time inside the prisons.. Perhaps the whipcord’s of floggers have become fiercer by one or tow degrees but they still cannot out perform themselves anymore for they have reached the peak long time ago. The number of torture “parties” might have increased a little though it does not explain why this young man turned so old in 12 months only!

He was so proud that torture did not leave scars on his body like many of his friends. Some of their wounds are still oozing until now, as he said. The stories have not changed much. Those who were not killed while tortured; were killed by some thing else. He and his detained friends bid farewell to many other detainees who died due to the lack of oxygen! There isn’t enough air in that match-box dungeon where dozens are stiffed.. Unfortunately, air is not like a bread roll; you cannot get by sweet-talking the warden or stealing it from a detainee drawing near death. There is no way to get oxygen to breath so they had died simply.

Many had hysteric panic attacks.. why would someone maintains his/her sanity after two years of no sense or logic in everything around? Why not (s)he screams like crazy when in real life rationalism did not prove useful with anyone? The sounds of frightening and desperate screaming are as scary as those for one under torture.

Things have not really changed from what they were before, except for the fact that news of swift death has distracted us from the tens of thousands who are facing an abhorrent and vile death in stages. The revolutionists were not defeated nor the beast surrenders. The more our youth steadfast, the brutal those monsters become. This is how a young man changes in a matter of twelve months. This is actually what it took him so that his soul wouldn’t break nor his body to fail him. Wonderfully, our country resembles this young man and what he has become whereas the whole indifferent world resembles that prison’s warden.