Naila Bozo writes: I recognized the importance of Syria in my life through my separation from it. The hours before going to the airport made me feel weak. The departure from Syria was a small but recurring trauma. I was not merely putting kilometers between Syria and myself; I felt I had travelled for centuries, travelled through galaxies as soon as I landed in Europe. Only a few hours after leaving the country, Syria felt like nothing but a hazy memory.
I do not know if I can put a claim to Syria as my home but that sunbaked, dusty country with the coincidental palm trees scattered by the roads, with the empty red bags of potato chips blowing in the gutter and the sound of Umm Kulthum owns me. I can still conjure the warmth of the yellow taxis’ leather seats under my fingers.
The claim to a home has grown more complex with the war in Syria. On one hand, there is a wish to be united with all Syrians against the dictatorial regime of Bashar al-Assad but on the other hand, one cannot ignore the Syrian armed and political opposition’s dubious alliance with Turkey, a state that has violated Kurdish rights for decades and recently intensified its crackdown upon Kurdish civilians and fighters. Today, the mutual mistrust between Syrian rebels and Kurdish fighters has intensified due to the former being a loose coalition that includes several formations within the so-called moderate Free Syrian Army that have varying degrees of affiliations with groups like Islamist rebel group Ahrar al-Sham and al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria, Jabhat al-Nusra while the latter is being accused of carrying out an expansionist agenda facilitated by U.S. and Russian airstrikes. [Continue reading…]