The emptiness within – April 2017

To all Syrian Christians spread all over the world today out of necessity, let people discard the stigma associated to refugees. Let people understand that there is no need to be afraid of a refugee, instead be afraid of those who made them refugees

In our present time, the world has witnessed Syrian Uprisings turn violent, leading to the descent of our beloved country into a ferocious civil war. Consequently, us Syrians, were forced to become refugees out of the greed of some who deemed that the redistribution of wealth has now become necessary. The business of war, has led us to scatter around the world out of necessity, while many industries such as the gun industry flourished at our expense. We have simply become collateral damage as well as a bargain card in the hands of those who want to impose their beliefs within the international community.

I have left my country in 2011, and since then, have never had a bad memory of Syria. Although I sometimes hated many aspects of my life in Syria, and occasionally longed to leave it, I now only remember the good and the beautiful. I took you for granted my beloved Syria, but please take it as a compliment, as people only take those closest to their hearts for granted. I miss you, not because I can’t have you, but because I now know the value of you.

As my organized husband booked our tickets for out Easter Break in the South of Spain, he made a comment about the fact that Semana Santa will be overcrowded during our stay there. I overlooked the comment as I was busy adjusting to my new life in Denmark, making new habits, new routines, and accepting a new culture. Little did I know that my trip to Spain during Easter week, will be a trip down memory lane.

As we got our keys to the Granada apartment we rented, I noticed a group of Christians walking out of the church, around the city and back to it. I directly remembered Good Friday in my city Aleppo, where we used to visit seven churches as part of our cultural habits. On that day, most Christian shops would close, and one would notice families or youth groups walk together in and out of churches where they would say little prayers in each as part of this pilgrimage tradition.

This tradition typically started at 15:30 and ended at 22:00 pm in the popular city square where one man sold toasted bread with your choice of thyme or cheese in one of the corners of the square.

The sight in Granada of people walking out of the church, awakened all of those memories, and reminded me of the efforts of the Scouts members in mobilizing Aleppines around the city to maintain order. A perfect order that is now non-existent in Syria. Or maybe it does but I can’t see it .

Such traditions existed for a whole week in Spain, and filled a gap of emptiness that I had in my heart. Nevertheless, the emptiness was bright as I only remembered the good and the beautiful. As I scrolled down my facebook page, many of my friends and family all around the world, expressed feelings of nostalgia to the Easter traditions in our city. They too felt that emptiness, that they filled with a Rosy Memory of their beloved Syria.

To all Syrians sitting in a corner of a classroom, trying to learn the language of a country that will “temporarily” be your home; when somebody asks you what’s the difference between “here” and your home, you always tend to describe it in a beautiful way. Merge your traditions with those of the people of your new home. Adapt and fill this Rosy Emptiness within. Let everybody smell the aroma of the toasted bread with thyme and cheese, from the corner of your new home, This project is the story of my pilgrimage to fill the Rosy emptiness during a Holy week. .