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Anonymous, from the armed resistance of East Aleppo
We started the revolution with completely peaceful protests, for freedom, for the peace, for the democracy in our homeland, and also to let al-Assad’s family down after 40 years of dictatorship. When the governments faced these peaceful protests they answered with live bullets, and by that they showed that they would cling on to power at any cost. Even the cost of killing the children of Syria.
The government considered that each city that joined the protests against them was an open front for them and a legitimate target to bomb, kill or detain innocents people. Although in al-Assads Syria being detained was often the same as being killed, only more painful. They arrested the demonstrators, tortured them or raped if they were women. After a while, they gave their bodies back, or just informed the families that their children was dead and that there was no body left of him/her.
Me and my friend had been silent so long and just watched. We had seen soldiers and gangs loyal to al-Assad kidnap and rape women. We had seen the regime arrest, torture and kill young, old and even girls. But all those years under the dictatorship of Bashar al-Assad, we all had a dream of something else. So when the revolution came, we had nothing to lose. We felt that we needed to fight back. This was our chance to change our lives and the next generation’s life. We decided that it was better to lose our bodies than to lose our respect or our humanity. I made my decision to hold the gun with the others and build my dreams on it. I was talking to my gun every day, telling it how heavy my dreams were, and how I was supposed to keep holding it until either I met my dream or I met my death.
But I wasn’t familiar with killing. I was not supposed to be anything rather than a revolutionary, and I had started to love myself and love the revolutionary I had become. But in the first fight, we were gathered around a tank which was without ammunition while the professional fighters were spreading fear in our hearts. It was like a brutal farewell to the peaceful protests. We started to walk to reach the target. It was a place with clay houses where soldiers of Bashar al-Assad was deployed. With every step we were taking, I took a step away from myself. We were to meet the enemy with some of it’s own methods. Violence. It was the hardest day of my life. Would you have done it for your freedom? For your family?
On my right side, my best friend was kneeling on the ground and he whispered in my ear that the battle was about to start. Everyone was waiting for the first bullet. The silence before the war was so loud I couldn’t hear anything else.