During the past three weeks, my outlook on some issues has changed or, at least, been altered somehow. That happened after my visit to Turkey.
On my way to the Syrian-Turkish boarders, I went through a gloomy country that I didn’t recognise; military tanks at the entrances of different cities and towns on the way from Damascus to Aleppo, – Homs, the city where I studied, was like a ghost of the city I knew, with military barricades and check points. When I got off the bus in Aleppo, I was asked for the reason that I came for Aleppo since I am a Hama native…
I had my passport stamped and entered Turkey on my way to catch a plane to Istanbul. I was tired and frustrated with too many events to deal with during the previous three months; my mother’s sickness, the unrest in my country, the continuous painful fear of arrest, the homophobic Syrian media campaign after the Amina Arraf hoax, the smearing campaign against Gay Middle East (GME), the personal campaign against me personally that claimed I am a fictional character created by Dan Littauer, GME editor, among many other things.
As soon as my plane landed, something that I have tried to bury in me got resurrected; in Sabiha Gokcen Airport, and I involuntarily started chanting the Syrian revolution chants.
A few incidents in Turkey reminded me of a few things about Syria I needed to forget; the ban on certain websites, the homophobic society, (hearing some Turkish expressions that I didn’t want to understand whenever I showed any kind of homosexual statement at some places)… etc.
Nevertheless, none of the above managed to prevent Istanbul, the charming city it is, in changing my outlook on some issues.
In Istanbul, I, Sami Hamwi, was interviewed by Mert Cimen for the SocialMediaWitness.net, while Dan Littauer was in London, taking into his own the responsibility to respond to our attackers.
In Istanbul, I took part in the Pride Parade; my first. Witnessing this event in a country with Muslim majority, where the rules and regulations are still homophobic to some extent was glorious and thrilling.
In Istanbul Pride, I decided to turn my anger against those who are attacking GME and me into more LGBT rights activism, and turn my despise to them and to Tom MacMaster into more writing and working with real sincere LGBT activists, especially after one fellow Syrian journalist and activist decided not to be associated with me after that smearing campaign.
Moreover, while chanting the Syrian revolution chants, I noticed Arab people looking at me smiling, and whenever I told anyone that I am Syrian, they used some Turkish expression I needed to understand, praying for Syrian people.
I came back to Damascus, more proud than ever, to be Syrian, to be gay, and to be important to the extent that some so-called activist are working hard to demolish what I dream of doing. The hell with them, and the hell with Tom MacMaster!!!
I came back to Damascus with the hope that we can repair the damage made by those who created and promoted the Amina hoax; I am now with even more determination to be politically active in this revolt against 48 years of oppression.
Today, the 10th of July, is the day of the so-called national dialogue which was boycotted by all effective and real opposition, Syrian regime continued to try to suppress any kind of expression that doesn’t comply with their rules, and it is the day of my fourth protest.
On my forth actual active participation in this REVOLUTION, I have been beaten, accused of treason, and of being a Salafi… One actually used the Arabic equivalent of “fag”, but because I was bleeding and in pain I couldn’t really say “yeah… that’s me, a fag, and I hate your employers’ guts”…