Last Saturday, I watched the remarkable documentary ‘For Sama’ on channel 4. The documentary showed the Syrian revolution through the eyes of Waad Al- Kateab as a mother and as a woman.
‘For Sama’, was Waad’s way of documenting to her daughter, Sama (which means ‘sky’ in Arabic), why Waad and her husband, Hamza, decided to remain in Aleppo and not flee like many of the Aleppo citizens did! It was the same reason the Syrian revolution started! Freedom! And to gain freedom back to the people of Syria, the Syrian people had to be resilient and not give into the threats imposed by any party trying to compromise the freedom of Syrian people. Sacrifices had to be made and most of them were very costly. But Waad and her husband alongside many of the Aleppo citizens were astonishingly strong in the face of all the destruction, attacks, targeting and the unmerciful siege. Standing up for their cause and freedom, documenting and reporting to the rest of the world the atrocities occurring on the ground against civilians. With no discrimination of its victims, air strikes were carried out on a regular basis.
The documentary was heartbreaking, and you must be warned that the content is highly sensitive. By the end of the documentary my heart had mixed and complex o feelings. I was happy that Waad and her family made it to safety, but also shared Waad’s heartache of feeling that sacrifice was in vain.
The fact that many of the children in conflict areas only know the sky full of jet fighters; the sky for them is where those bombs come from is a brutal and bitter reality. Many of these children were born in the war and so for them the sound of explosions caused by air strikes is something of daily occurrence. Many of them can name the different kinds of weapons used for attacking their cities as well as identifying them, barrel bombs, Kalashnikovs, cruise missiles to chlorine gas. The first word some of these children could have said would be ‘strike’ or ‘siege’.
On one hand, remaining in the midst of such unbearable situation as a parent could be seen as one of two things. ‘To leave the city would set the worst example to the children that it’s better to be selfish to run and save yourself’; on the other hand, by staying meant that you are ‘putting them through hell’ as Waad suggests in the documentary.
I can hardly imagine the stress, and fear they must live in. Yet, their hope of an equal Syria, a free Syria is higher than those fighter jets could ever fly and deeper than those strikes could possibly reach. Many of Syrian people choose to stay in their homeland, in the cities the grew up in, on the sands they first learnt to walk over. And although the air is polluted with suffocating dust, poisoning chemicals, and deadly smoke caused by the daily airstrikes; they will never forget the sweet smell of the beautiful Ash-Shâm.
I can imagine how hard it was for Waad to document some of the horrible moments of people being carried dead before they arrive to the hospital that Waad’s husband, Hamza, had established with others from Aleppo. But she felt that by reporting these magnified inhuman circumstances, it would lead to the international world reacting in the most human way there is. Millions around the world have joined Waad in the hope that, when the international world becomes aware of the miserable and cruel situation that civilians have been put through for the mere fact that they asked for their inherited right to be free, the appropriate measures will be taken to help those civilians. Instead, they were told that their only way to survive is to surrender.
How devastating must it’ve been for them to leave their beloved Aleppo, not knowing for definite whether their children will have the opportunity to see their motherland! But the hope that they will be the ones building it remains in their hearts and souls no matter how far they went.
One of the things I liked about the documentary, was that Waad showed the beautiful side that no siege or air strikes could ever kill.
The way people were hand in hand through the struggle. Each doing what they can to help others. The caring for friends, neighbours, and strangers was tremendous!
Although, the situation in Aleppo was only getting worse, the laughs, the celebration of love and unity, and the lovely sense of humour people had never disappeared!
But the reality is, that a nation can rise above all the destruction that have been made! Weapons can kill millions and demolish cities, but it could never kill the hope that a nation have of becoming free!
Around the globe there are millions that are standing in the face of injustice and corruption! The sacrifices they go through are beyond imagination! The power these nations represent is extraordinary!
Because, standing for what is humanly right and just is a strong feeling that makes us stronger than the weapons human kind invented. It is a higher level of power that cannot be reached or eliminated!
It makes the sacrifices we made never go in vain no matter how long we have to wait!