Take Off!

Oh Damascus, the summer is back again.
And my wings are, too.
My yearning to you cries out: "Take off!"
And the wind calls upon me.
The voices of my friends,
Her eyes,
And the promise of a possible tomorrow...
Everything I love
Has stolen sleep from my eyes
Then went to sleep.

From a song by Fairouz to the lyrics of Said Akel.


Suicidal Battle


Maysaloun Street: In memory of the Battle of Maysaloun, a suicidal battle fought on July 24th, 1920 to defend Damascus against French forces. Defense Minister Youssef Al-Azmah was martyred during the fighting.
Although he knew that his poorly-equipped army will be overwhelmed by the French, Youssef Al-Azmah, Defense Minister of then newly independent Syria, did not want Damascus to be an easy get for General Gouraud, so he led 4000 men to fight the French army at Maysaloun, 25 km to the west of Damascus. The battle lasted for a few hours, the Syrian army was defeated and Al-Azmah was killed. For Syrians, he became a symbol of courage, sacrifice and dignity.


Golden Flowing

River Barada in Downtown Damascus.

Barada used to be known as the "artery of Damascus." It irrigated the oasis of Damascus, which largely consisted of the beautiful orchards of Al-Ghouta. In old times, the river was famed for its purity and crystal-clear water. The Greeks called it Chrysorrhoas: the golden flowing. There is even a biblical reference to this reputation: In the old Testament, when Naaman the Syrian was asked to wash in the Jordan, a muddy river, he complained saying:

"Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the rivers of Israel?"
Abana is today's Barada, while Pharpar is probably either Al-Aa'waj river which also flows down Mount Hermon to Damascus, or Taura, a branch of Barada.

During the second half of the 20th century, Damascus quickly expanded. It's now home for almost 4 million people. The quick expansion of the city, the increasing consumption of water and the destruction of Ghouta by concrete residential blocks, resulted in the eventual death of Barada. The river that used to flood central Damascus every year is now almost completely dry in Summer. It flows at its highest level for a short time after the end of the rain- and snowfall season. This picture was taken in March.

Back to life!

I'd like to thank you all for your kind comments and wishes. I did well in the exam al-hamdullillah. I will start blogging again very soon :)