“We are the living dead now.”
A Syrian woman has shared an emotional Facebook post describing what she would tell her younger self on the day the Syrian war started.
March 15, 2011 is the date when anti-government activists began their uprising and so is widely regarded as the beginning of the unrest.
Lina Sergie, who is director of the Karam Foundation – a non-profit organisation on a mission to build a better future for Syria, has posted about her regrets over the protests she witnessed starting that day.
“More than anything, I wish I could go back to that day and tell my younger self everything I know now,” she wrote.
“I would tell everyone I knew, ‘Shut your computers and close down Skype and Facebook and your romantic dreams about a revolution. Put your cameras away. You will be killed for recording the truth. The truth is not worth it’.”
She goes on to talk about the awful events that followed the first protests, saying: “I would tell 2011 me, ‘Smother that awe and pride that swelled inside of you when you watched the first protests because those intoxicating, fearless, witty, inspiring videos will soon be replaced by videos of death, funerals, torture, torn limbs, burning bodies, drowned children, and horrific scenes and you will not be able to turn away from and you will never be able to erase from your memory’.”
Many of the things Lina discussed in the post are incredibly heartbreaking.
She explained that she made friends from across Syria online who later died and left her “heartbroken with survivor’s guilt”. And she described “living among monsters capable of crimes worse than anything you can even imagine”.
And, poignantly, she tells her younger self: “We should have never believed our people’s blood had value and our children’s lives were worth saving. We should have never believed that we deserved freedom and dignity.”
She added: “I would tell all our younger selves, ‘Kill your dangerous dreams and be content with living the half lives you have because that is better than to be among the ones drowning with sorrow, regret, and shame. We are the living dead now’.”
She also apologised to her younger self. “I would tell her and all of you, ‘Silence your voices’,” she wrote. “Turn back around. It’s not our turn this time. Maybe in another lifetime, but not this time. I’m sorry.”
People have commented to support Lina on her words. One Facebook user wrote: “You spoke what is on our mind…but please don’t lose hope…”
Meanwhile, another commented agreeing with Lina’s sentiment of talking to her younger self, but said: “I read every single word you wrote and pictured myself telling my pre-revolution naive virgin self all of that, too, as I read along. But I can’t like it, because I still have hope. For me it’s not over yet.”