Starvation and the Search for an Alternative Homeland

Zaiton Magazine

Issue 56
Abdul Razzak Alkanjo


Recently, the regime has been working on implementing a policy of siege and starvation inside the liberated or besieged areas as a form of humiliation and applying pressure on the residents left there, assuming this is going to help it in evacuating those areas and villages of their indigenous people and alternatively establishing new zones where it can alter the nature of demographic affiliations and relationships, and dismantle their societal interdependence which dates back hundreds of years.

Therefore, the regime relied on cutting off roads, erecting checkpoints, and restricting passage of humanitarian aid and food assistance provided by local organizations and openhanded citizens, who find it very difficult to witness their trapped brothers starving after the regime prohibited them from food, milk, medicine, and even dry bread; ultimately forcing them to eat cat meat and tree leaves.

For despicable sectarian purposes, the ruling regime’s goal was to displace the population and empty particular geographical areas, in pursuit of creating a demographic change in the region while evacuating its indigenous people in favor of a filthy project backed by Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Iran’s mullahs.

The regime erected armed barriers and founded extreme difficulties against the passage and delivery of foreign aid arriving from donor countries; aid that has been recently flowing in very huge quantities to the extent that made ​​us question the motives behind such tremendous generosity! We might interpret that as being a subtle method of “encouraging” mass migration and building up for prolonged sustainability of such a catastrophic situation that might extend for a very long time without any end in sight.

Arabs have experienced this exodus back in 1948 after the Israeli occupation of Palestine. At that time they thought their journey to the local refugee camps or neighboring countries would be a temporary one, and that Arab armies will secure their return to their homeland after the first battle with the newly formed Zionist state’s army. However, several decades have passed while they still await that hope, a hope that have gone astray amid lots of conferences and negotiations, whereas the hope for desired solutions seems further away and much more complicated.

I was a child no older than six years when in 1948 Palestinian families got displaced and sought refuge in Syria.
One of those Palestinian displaced families lived in an abandoned house next to ours that wasn’t suitable for decent living due to shortage of most housing requirements. Of course, and because of the nature of our rural society, we used to visit this family carrying with us whatever we could of basic food needs. As a child I used to envy them for the few sardine cans stacked in the room’s corner; since it had no shelves. I could not take my eyes off the powder milk container, which wasn’t common in our society as our mothers still used to breastfeed their kids.
Back then I couldn’t find out how they managed to get this powder milk. I must have imagined they brought it with them from their countries after Jews expelled them from it. However, afterwards, I realized it was a form of free assistance distributed to them by some charity associations and international aid organizations.

The image of canned food and powder milk, which we used to controversially call “Palestinian Milk”, stuck to my memory for years to come, even after that family left to an anonymous place in Syria and their news got cut.
I used to listen to their story of displacement narrated by their crippled elderly grandmother while I watched her nonstop tears. She was certain they will soon return to their homeland when the conditions get better and souls calm down, and after “Arab armies” unite and liberate Palestine from the Jews. Those stories where not too different from the entertaining bedtime fairy tales our mothers used to tell use every night.

Time passed, we grew old and graduated from university, wasted our life in the job until retirement, more years went flying by; and yet the Palestinian refugees remain scattered of clan, family and relatives in diaspora. They still reside in hundreds of cities across all Arab and foreign countries. There is no single country on the face of this planet that has not been inhabited by Palestinian families. They managed to integrate with their new living environment to the extent of almost assimilating with it and losing their promised national Palestinian identity. The “International Community” granted them all sorts of food and living aid, as well as “tents” which eventually transformed into “camps” built of stone and concrete, until gradually developed into residential assemblies and living quarters.
They used to feel happy for giving Palestinian names to those assemblies and their narrow alleys. In addition, they got them supplied with various educational facilities offered to them for free by the UNORWA, a United Nations humanitarian organization whose buildings fly the blue flag. Meanwhile the Palestinians went on dreaming of seeing their own flag flying over their own land.

As Syrians, we didn’t feel this outpouring of humanity except after we ended up in their shoes.
Since the very first peaceful days of the Syrian revolution, the regime resisted it with arms, killings, and detention, forcing many of the residents to flee and migrate. The borders were left wide open to facilitate an “easy exit” and entry to neighboring countries without any sort of monitoring; borders of which before not a single “wild hare” could cross without permission. In a record time, areas were designated, tents erected, welcoming committees formed and “hot” meals distributed generously to the arrivals. In honor of the newcomers, they installed entertainment theatres for the children and equipped field hospitals and schools, amid bewilderment and astonishment of the surprised arrivals. This spurred the displaced to call their neighbors and encourage them to flee and move away from the danger zones and bombardment they were subjected to by the stupid bloodthirsty army of the regime, that threatened their lives day and night. Palestinians lived their catastrophe and it lasted for a long time… They dreamt of going back home, hoping that the recurring false promises of the international community will materialize, only to find out that the aim of all the promises was to pass time and devote coexistence with the status quo imposed by the pro-Zionist world. Three years have passed on our fellow Syrian refugees and they’re still dreaming of going back, spending most of their days searching for that humiliating “food basket”, which has become very hard to find lately, especially when they hear and see views of the devastated hungry cities and besieged areas, where barrel bombs are dropped on the heads of their residents.

In the past, the entire international community colluded against the Palestinians and Muslim Bosnians, and now, the same incident repeats in the Syrian land. The busy world preoccupies us with conferences and negotiations, passing the time that may only be felt by those displaced, had their houses destroyed or lost their families.

What makes us more and more doubtful and skeptical is the fact that some states are -thankfully- offering Syrians “political asylum” and facilitating transit across their lands to the borders of other countries. Now whatever the case may be, Syrian citizens still long to return to their homes and to their jobs in homeland, only because they haven’t departed as tourists, but fled from injustice that fell upon them and forced them to move away from the danger that threatens them on daily basis; be it by shelling, death from starvation, or vanishing behind bars.

We used to believe that possible solutions will be within reach and practice, and that our wounds will quickly heal. But we realize that the scenario is getting more complicated day after the other with a never ending cycle of violence and bloodshed, fueled by multi-facet international intervention which has planned to make the Syrian land a battleground for settling political conflicts, point scoring and exchanging interests and influence.

Syrians will not compromise their dignity in exchange of a target-unknown livelihood, and shall not accept permanent residence in alternative countries even if it was in the magnificent palaces of the West.

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كيف قامت الولايات المتحدة بتشظية الثوار في سوريا

وزير الدفاع تشاك هايغل Chuck Hagel (يسار) ورئيس الأركان العقيد مارتن ديمبسي Martin Dempsey يقدمان شهادتهما أثناء جلسة لجنة مجلس الشيوخ لشؤون القوات المسلحة فيما يخص سياسة الولايات المتحدة تجاه العراق وسوريا والخطر الذي تشكله الدولة الإسلامية, والتي انعقدت في 16 أيلول في الكابيتول هيل Capitol Hill في واشنطن. (تصوير كيفين لامارك Kevin Lamarque -وكالة روترز)

وزير الدفاع تشاك هايغل Chuck Hagel (يسار) ورئيس الأركان العقيد مارتن ديمبسي Martin Dempsey يقدمان شهادتهما أثناء جلسة لجنة مجلس الشيوخ لشؤون القوات المسلحة فيما يخص سياسة الولايات المتحدة تجاه العراق وسوريا والخطر الذي تشكله الدولة الإسلامية, والتي انعقدت في 16 أيلول في الكابيتول هيل Capitol Hill في واشنطن. (تصوير كيفين لامارك Kevin Lamarque -وكالة روترز)

جونا  شولهوفر Jonah Schulhofer-Wohl

22 سبتمبر  أيلول 2014

دفعت نتائج عملية التصويت -التي جرت الأسبوع الماضي في الكونغرس- إدارة أوباما خطوة إلى الأمام نحو القيام بعمل عسكري في سوريا كجزء من استراتيجيتها الجديدة لمواجهة الدولة الإسلامية (المعروفة سابقا باسم الدولة الإسلامية في العراق وسوريا، ISIS) كان الفشل الأمريكي في اتخاذ إجراءات حاسمة  في وقت مبكر لمنع حدوث فراغ في السلطة في سوريا عاملا مهما في صعود هذه الأخيرة. كان من الممكن اتخاذ هذا الإجراء في وقت أبكر من هذا بكثير، وكان تشرذم وتشدد المعارضة السورية المسلحة أحد الأسباب الرئيسية لعزوف الولايات المتحدة عن القيام بذلك. لكن هذا القلق حول القيام بفعل ما في سوريا والذي يجعل من طبيعة هذه المعارضة سببا للتشرذم والتطرف هو أمر خاطئ. استمر في القراءة

هل ينتصر السلطويون؟

الترجمة منقولة عن موقع الجمهورية

مايكل إغناتيف Michael Ignatieff
ترجمة : كرم نشار


في نصّه المنشور في ذا نيويورك ريفيو أوف بوكس، يقدّم أستاذ العلوم السياسية في جامعة هارفارد مايكل إغناتيف دفاعاً كلاسيكياً عن الديمقراطية الليبرالية وتقاليدها الدستورية. يبدأ أولاً من السياق الدولي، حيث يرى في الصعود الحالي لـ«البرزخ» الروسي-الصيني نموذجاً جديداً لـ«العصرنة السلطوية» (authoritarian modernization) التي لطالما جذبت الكثير من الغربيين. ثم ينتقل بعد ذلك لينسج من خلال مراجعات نقدية لأربع منشورات جديدة أطروحته القائلة بأن إعادة البريق والفعالية للديمقراطيات لا يكمن في «فنون الإدارة» وانما في الحيوية الدستورية القائمة على القضاء المستقلّ والمسائلة التشريعية أولاً، وفي كبح جماح سيطرة المال وأصحاب المصالح الفئوية على العملية السياسية ثانياً. استمر في القراءة

On the displacement of Mosul’s Christians

Ziad Majed

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

 There are several levels of approaching ISIS’s crime of displacing the Christian Iraqi citizens from their land in Mosul (and the Nineveh plains) last week.

The first of levels is the crime per se. It’s a level of uprooting and expelling a group of human beings from their country in addition to what was narrated of marking their houses with letter “ن” [the first letter of the Arabic word for “Christians”], in an act of religious discrimination towards and against them. This of course encompasses assault and a terrible collective persecution against individuals just because they belong to a particular religious group. استمر في القراءة

البيت الأبيض يستثني الغارات الجوية في سوريا من الالتزام بمعايير “منع سقوط المدنيين” الصارمة

البيت الأبيض يستثني الغارات الجوية في سوريا

من الالتزام بمعايير “منع سقوط المدنيين” الصارمة

وسط تقارير عن مقتل نساء وأطفال في الهجوم الجوي الأمريكي، مسؤول [أمريكي] يصرح أن معيار “شبه المؤكد” غير معمول به.

مايكل إيسيكوف

أخبار ياهو | ٣٠ أيلول


اعترف البيت الأبيض للمرة الأولى أن المعايير الصارمة التي فرضها الرئيس أوباما العام الماضي لمنع وفيات المدنيين جراء هجمات الطائرات بدون طيار لن تنطبق على العمليات العسكرية الأمريكية في سوريا والعراق.

وجاء تصريح البيت الابيض لأخبار ياهو ليؤكد أن هناك سياسة اكثر مرونة مطبقة في هذا الشأن، ردا على أسئلة حول تقارير تفيد بأن ما يصل الى عشرة مدنيين من بينهم نساء وأطفال صغار قتلوا عندما أصاب صاروخ توماهوك قرية كفر دريان في محافظة إدلب السورية صباح يوم الثالث والعشرين من أيلول/ سبتمبر. استمر في القراءة

Injustice and Shades of Darkness

Baseerah Magazine

Issue 9



Diamond Shine

Murmurs rose. Frightened words prevailed. Is he going to be defeated? Is it possible?!! He had a promising future and everybody was counting on him. Yes, he was still a young man but possessed a mature mind, a spiritual heart and learned quickly. But why now, though his enemy is on his final legs, and after all these strikes, is he tumbling against him Ok, it is true international experts were aiding his enemy, but this doesn’t matter. He possessed an unusual strange supernatural weapon called justice…. But look, why has his weapon become rusty and the hand that carries it starting to tire!! An attempt has to be made to aid him and find out more about this strange rust. استمر في القراءة

Child Labor Amongst Syrian Refugee Children

Zaiton Magazine *

Issue 64

* A weekly cultural intelectual Magazine issued by the free youth of Idlib (Facebook page, ISSUU site).


Mohannad Al Nader

Mahmoud is sixteen years old and the eldest of four siblings in his Syrian family whose provider was injured and disabled during the war. Mahmoud became the breadwinner of his refugee family in the Turkish city of Gaziantep. He works at a restaurant for ten dollars a day from seven in the morning to nine at night. Despite the work’s difficult conditions and the responsibility placed on his shoulders, he feels proud to be supporting his family. Difficult conditions have forced many Syrian refugee children to work long hours for low wages. In addition to the danger that they face during their work, they miss going to school and the education that could make their future brighter. استمر في القراءة

Helegists of the Poor

Al-Baseera Magazine


Issue 7



“Hegelianism of the poor” is a sarcastic phrase. It is well known that Hegelianism was in its heydays a revolutionary and elite ideology in principle, attributed to Hegel (1770-1831) the founder of the German idealistic philosophy. However it remains mere theories and presumptuous ideas generated from a thought that is nothing but an intellectual luxury, similar to all dogmas and intellectual approaches preaching such ideas that carry false promises, like Stalinism, Marxism, sectarianism,… and which we can label as “Hegelianism of the poor”. It even can be generalised to all forms of neo-colonialism around the world, for example France’s president Hollande’s visit to Africa, as a sarcastic example! Accordingly I here generalise it to our intellectuals who deserve this label. استمر في القراءة

A Revolution for Preserving the Revolution

Khaled Kanawat

11 May 2014

Souriatna Magazine*, Issue 138

* A weekly newspaper published by the free youths of Syrian


Syrians wonder how the inner core of the Assad’s regime has to this day maintained its cohesion and never crumbled or cracked, except in the one case when the U.S. punitive strike was imminent when we watched fleets and aircraft carriers on satellite channels. This core, which floats on a sea of Syrian blood, will only fall at once and in its entirety. Thanks to its cohesion, it controls all of the state apparatuses and institutions–most notably the military establishment—through a tight network of ideological and sectarian loyalties and self-interests. Members of this network support the regime and oppose any change in status quo in fear that it can affect their interests and bring them to trial. استمر في القراءة

Swingers before and after the revolution

Zaiton Magazine *

Issue 63

24 May 2014

* A weekly cultural intelectual Magazine issued by the free youth of Idlib (Facebook page, ISSUU site).


Abdul Kareem Anees

Any close observer cannot ignore the radical changes to those figures that have lived through the successive events of the revolution; whether it was the denial of it in the beginning or the belief in it during one of its various stages.

These figures can be simple personalities, neither popular nor known among observers, but the variables, twists, and turns in the track record of these ordinary figures should be read, and we should invest in understanding the changes in their personalities to enable observers to best evaluate and study the origins of the revolution and its dependency on individuals, in the midst of its historic turning points. استمر في القراءة