A March of Love for The Dictator Killing His Own People

Hasan Almossa
4 min readJul 8, 2020

Stories of Syria’s Tears

We were in the middle of the first class when the bell rang and we were asked to gather in the school square outside. Despite being shocked at first, we were later happy to leave our studies and get out of class, albeit, our happiness was transient. A whisper struck my ear:

“Maybe the security forces have come to arrest the students who participated in the demonstrations!”

My heart began thrumming with fear, as I have already heard stories about the security forces’ methods of arrest and torture: the ghost, the tire, the flying carpet. I thought they would come to arrest me, as many had seen me taking photos and filming at the demonstrations.

On the stairs between my classroom and the square, I lived long moments of terror that lasted for centuries. With every step, I imagined myself blindfolded, walking through dark basement hallways to reach a torture cell, its walls painted with blood and, behind its bars, several savage monsters were waiting to eat my soft meat.

When I reached the iron fencing that separated our classroom from the square, I remembered the story of the young man who was injured alongside my brother, one of three men who lay in front of the tank. His story had reached our house, and people said that he was arrested at the hospital before the doctor managed to examine him, and no one was allowed to treat his wounds. He was bleeding while they transported him to the Idlib Central Prison, where he was put in solitary confinement for days before another prisoner was allowed to help him, not out of compassion. The forces did not want him to die, they would lose torture material.

That was the reason my family hid my brother for more than three months, even from our nearest neighbors.

Once we had gathered in the school courtyard, my eyes searched for the soldiers who would appear at any moment to arrest me. The school director shouted, ordering us to shut up and listen closely to what he was going to say. We forced ourselves to listen to his husky voice.

As usual, he said a lot of things about the homeland; patriotism, loving our leader. He warned against outside factors who wanted to destroy our country and praised the ‘great’ reformations that had been implemented by Mr. President.

I knew that most of the people in the country hated him, the students for one set of reasons, and the adults for another. I didn’t know at that time why people said that he was a missionary for Shia Islam and in contact with Iran, and that he was paying 100,000 Syrian pounds for those who converted to Shiism.

Anyway, on that day, the director ended his speech by saying that we had to get on the busses moving to Idlib to take part in the march in loving support of the leader. His words hit me like a thunderbolt. What sort of love and loyalty was he talking about?

Yesterday, the leader’s soldiers shot my brother and his friends. They even killed another boy in my class, one of the kindest and most polite of all the students. I felt the devil of stubbornness mounting to my shoulder and whispering inside my ears that have just been banging with fear a while ago. I told myself I won’t go to the march.

The director kept repeating his threats, trying to convince us that we should do this out of love for the leader. He said it was our choice to participate, yet, he also waved the card of harsh penalties to face all abstainers, including school expulsion. He repeated that we must go out of our own free will, and no one would be forced to go.

Despite all these threats hanging over my head, I left the others on the way out of school, under the pretext of going to a restaurant to get a sandwich. I stayed there until the march proceeded upon the path of love and loyalty to the soldiers who shot my brother. At the time, I did not think of the consequences, but the others went away, and no one noticed who was missing and who was marching.

Day by day, the population of the village thinned. The arrests began to alarm the villagers, and people felt they were living in a prison. Security forces spent nights searching for the leaders amongst the protesters and those called “sprayers” who sprayed anti-regime slogans on street walls. My mother and brothers gained the habit of sleeping with their clothes on. My father was afraid security forces would come and break down the door as they searched for my brothers, particularly my injured brother. His intuition was right. That horrible night, we heard a violent knocking at the door before the sun dawned upon us with its warmth.

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(Author )by Hasan Almossa

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Hasan Almossa

Syrian - writer & Founder of Kids Paradise nonprofits - Author of I Was Born Twice : twitter x @hasanalmossa