In April, 2014, I joined a delegation of over 40 people from around the world, visiting Syria in solidarity with their just struggle against an unjust, criminal, war from outside being waged on Syria. The premeditated nature of this war on freedom, war on human rights, is amply-documented (if you just step away from the chorus of the corporate media and larger “human rights” NGOs. Also well-documented is the fact that the vast majority of Syrians in Syria (and those outside) do not support this faux “revolution” nor the means by which the insurgents “rebel”. This vast majority flooded voting stations in Syria and embassies world-wide to voice their vote. [see also: The Real Farce: Media Distortions on the Syrian Elections, Jun 3, 2014, Counter Punch and Elections in Syria: The People Say No to Foreign Intervention, Jun 4, 2014, Ajamu Baraka, Oriental Review]
Even today, three days after the vote in Syria, Syrians were blasting music and dancing.
The delegation itself was in Syria for about one week, and I had the good fortune to stay on another two afterwards.
Today, I returned to Syria, via the Lebanese land-crossing at Masnaa, which 3 days ago was packed with Syrians eager to vote.
From the border to Damascus along the impeccably smooth roads, normal transit would probably take an hour or less. Due to valid security concerns, there are checkpoints every so often, transit is longer.
In my desire to highlight the humanity, and generosity, of Syrians, I note a few exchanges from passing through the checkpoints today.
At the first, I get the standard–and genuine–“ahlan wa sahlan” (welcome).
At the next checkpoint, seeing a soldier shelling a pea-pod, I called out “sahtain!” (to your health), to which he replied “ala qelbek” (to your heart), bjiblek besilla? (can I bring you some peas?), jumped over a road barrier and returned momentarily with a handful of pea-pods for me. “Hon, deifna el deuf.” (Here, we treat our guests.) Yes, peas…but it’s the idea that counts (and I was quite happy to see the peas).
At the next checkpoint, having eaten some of them, I offered the soldier on duty the remaining pods, to which he walked away to a booth and returned with fresh cherries for me.
(you’re thinking I was bartering my dinner, which could well have evolved)
I mention these simple, seemingly trite, anecdotes to highlight that while these soldiers are professional and are maintaining the security that the Western-backed terrorists would not like to see, they in addition retain their humanity,playfulness, generosity.