I dreamed about Bashar al-Asad last night, but can’t remember if he was a good guy or a bad guy

I don’t remember much about the dream, except for wondering: in the story of my dream, is he good, or is he bad? He wasn’t a political figure in my dream, he was just an average guy, an average character in an average story. But I’m not sure if he was the protagonist or the antagonist. Or maybe he didn’t matter at all to the story.

And somehow, I think this dream sums up as best I possibly can, what’s going on in Syria today.

I have some very dear friends who are currently gathered as an extended family, about 20 people huddling in a two-bed flat. Two weeks ago, I spoke with them and they said there was some fighting in their neighbourhood, but it was ok: they were still going out by day to take care of errands. I told them to get all their paperwork in order in case they had to flee and they told me that that was exactly what they were doing. One week ago, I spoke with them and they said two brothers and their respective families had moved in with them since their homes were no longer safe; now, my friends could hear the bombs shelling just down the road. A couple of days ago I spoke with them and they said they couldn’t leave the house at all because the fighting had come to their doorstep – I pleaded with them to leave and go somewhere safe and I was determined to find a way to get them to safety. I’ve now learned that they’ve all left their family home, gathering in the little flat of a relative in a neighbourhood which is, so far, safe enough.

Why is this happening? Who are the players? Who are the good guys and the bad guys? I don’t know.

What I know is that, even if the fighting stops tomorrow, my friends will never feel safe in their home again. Let’s say that, by some miracle, their house is not ransacked and trashed during the next few weeks and they can go home. They will fall asleep, possibly every night for years, to the memory of shells hitting right next-door. They will always wonder how long the peace will last, because they now know in the depth of their heart how fragile the peace is.

Even if the fighting stops tomorrow, the scars will remain. The generation coming into adulthood now will forever be marked, and the pains and memories will affect how they raise their children.

And I don’t know why.

Please do continue to join me in my adventure of a Syria of days gone by. Four years ago, I wrote this story based on the real lives of women from throughout Syria living in Damascus, and I am recording it in audio-book format as a tribute to the Syria I know and love, the Syria that is fading away, slipping out of our hands day by day. Please listen and, as you listen, pray for the dear women of Syria.

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