Women in The Syrian Revolution

Ayat the little girl has become a wife and mother while now narrating her own experience with courage and pride. This is how Ayat looked in a documentary broadcast on “BBC Arabic” titled “Syrian Women”; adapted and directed by the wonderful Syrian journalist Lina Sinjab.

Ayat was a child when arrested under the accusation of “radicalism” because she was attending religious courses at the mosque. Inside detention, her grudge matured all the way through prolonged torture that she had to endure with her skinny and pale body inside security branches. After her release, Ayat suffered from continued threats by security members on the one’s hand and family pressures on the other. Her father was strongly with the Assad’s regiment and at that point, her news was severed in the first two months of the revolution. I thought she might has surrendered to her family’s will or she may had actually became a radical after all the tragedy she’s been through. And here she is today showing up wherein the revolution has changed her life and she participated in sparkling it. A beautiful and confident young lady who expresses herself clearly and freely even refusing to obscure her face in the documentary while speaking loudly and vibrantly as I have always known her.

Ayat is one of the many Syrian women whose lives were changed by the movement as much as they have participated in it. The documentary showed numerous examples of Syrian women in this revolution of all ages, levels of experience, social and idealogical backgrounds.

From the courageous activist Khawla Dunia to become a paramedic in a field hospital where she has no experience in medicine before. From a journalist who documents the revolution via pictures everyday with its atrocities as well as the few moments of love and joy to that lady who crosses checkpoints heading to the eastern suburbs to attend a demonstration and chant for freedom.

In the majority of the demonstrations that took place in the conservative eastern suburbs of Damascus, the women and young ladies were covering their faces with veils. Some of them abiding by religious or social traditions whereas the others covered their faces for security purposes. Behind those veils their voices were chanting for freedom and young children were jumping on their mothers shoulders. More often, there were pictures of martyred sons, brothers or husbands and each of those voices has a story of courage and hope that deserves to be told.

Moreover, some young women were not reluctant to perform missions that seemed sort of “suicidal”. Ayat talked about hiding pieces of weaponry in her own house for the members of the Free Syrian Army and aiding in smuggling a weapon once under her clothes across a checkpoint although she was pregnant with her first child!

Many other young women followed her lead but were not as lucky as Ayat; they got arrested at the checkpoints and have been missing in the darkness of security dungeons ever since. Other women became active with “FSA” as journalists and paramedics and I wasn’t surprised of what was announced at the end of the documentary that Ayat herself joined FSA!! That tremendous energy she had when she was nine transformed into relentless rage after those nine months she had spent in detention.

I hate weapons… and I do not wish they become part of the lives of thousands Syrian men and youth but at the same time we cannot overlook their bravery which is both amazing and scary.

The rest of women and young ladies maintained that thin line between the peaceful movement and the armed one. That young journalist who told us about a member of FSA who offered his “rifle” in exchange of her “camera.” That trade was never meant to take place but it expressed his willingness to live normally a few moments before his death.

After watching that documentary several times, I wondered if that journalist in SANA news channel, who described her self on papers as a “pro-Assad fanatic”, had the chance to watch Ayat, Khawla, Mariah and Maya.. I wonder how she felt and what she thought of?!

Personally, I felt mostly hopeful and how desperately we need it at the present time! Aren’t Syrian women the most beautiful in the world?