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Revolution Journal – September 2011

Revolution Journal – September 2011

The few months before September had been exhausting – the need to be always careful, always calculative, and always vigilant is completely draining. We had to be cautious – nobody wants to be in an Assad prison. In August, while my mother was in Damascus with me, I left my laptop open on my blog and went out for a cigarette. Since I am out to my sisters, I never felt a need for “hiding” what I do. It was a mistake at that day because my nosey uncle read the blog and found about everything that I had done and had been planning to do up to that point.

September started slowly as I was still recovering from my self-enforced quarantine after the scabies episode. I started to socialize with my gay friends more at the beginning since it was the Eid. Diyar had already left for Qamishly, so my fatherly behavior had to come to a pause, which turned out later to be an end because Diyar never came back. All the Kurdish kids working at al-Hijaz knew what Diyar meant to me, and they tried to talk to me about him . This made me miss my nephews and nieces more, so I tried to plan a visit to Hama.

At the same time, my friends started distributing leaflets more often. It was almost on a weekly basis. I coupled with a girl to do the distribution together since it is better to be in a “straight-looking” couple while doing this insane act in Damascus. We had to cover our fingertips with blasters sometimes because the government fingerprints all Syrians for the ID cards. My friends wanted to spark movements in the Christian areas in Damascus – I wanted to help them and be there for them. I wanted to plan my Hama visit so we can all benefit from it – we needed correspondents in Hama and the neighboring towns, and we needed more stories for foreign publications that were interested in the plight of the people instead of news reporting, which seemed to be anybody and everybody’s job at that point.

An incident happened, my sister made a mistake that spurred my uncle’s rage against my sexuality, and they started threatening me. It was strange for me to be in the vulnerable position I used to help people get out from – it was also a shock. At the beginning, my sister fed the rage, and my mother who was in Saudi Arabia did not know where the truth was. My uncles started to threaten me to silence me in order for them to keep their jobs with the regime. At that point, I felt my life was falling apart. Despite having some money in the bank, I wasn’t able to withdraw it. It was almost impossible to plan an escape from those idiots who wanted to keep me silent and inactive.

My relationship with my uncles was not good at any point. I had to stand up for my family against my uncles’ greed when my father died – I was 19 at that point. Later, I had to go through a different kind of disagreement with my uncles from my mother’s side. I never cared about having a good relationship with any of them, even though I had always tried to be nice to them when we had to meet for one reason or another.

I decided to wait for my mother to come back to Syria hoping that we can find a solution for this problem. My brother, who stopped talking to me after that incident, sent me a message saying that doctors in KSA suspected that he had colon cancer, adding more worries to my life. He was planning to come to Syria for some medical tests. I knew it was not cancer, but I didn’t know what it was.

In the meantime, my friends were busy with their projects. I could not stand the idea of letting them down. I got back in touch with them near the mid-September to distribute some leaflets we printed out. Since the Syrian government fingerprints all citizen before getting their ID cards, we had to be careful not leave any fingerprint on anything we leave behind. I needed to be engaged more in proactive work to get the disturbing ideas out of my mind. However, I was not able to function as my true self then because of everything that was happing in my life. I did not even know if I want to tell my friends what was happening with me or not, and I actually did not know what to tell.

I also tried to be in touch with my gay friends who were not active in the revolution and those who were actually pro-regime. I wanted to investigate an alarming episode that had started to happen a few weeks before. In August, I was warned about a manjam profile listing my profile link among others saying that, “those are mondassin and traitors to our leader”. I went through several manjam profiles and found out that there were more profiles doing the same. I wrote about it back then, which turned out to be a mistake from my side, since some foreign journalists wanted to benefit from the buzz surrounding the case – some idiots that I know. (Click here for the post) It is still happening until now, but my friends and I are reporting these profiles to manjam.

I cannot even remember how the last two weeks of September passed. I didn’t tell my friends anything about my problems back then because I didn’t want them to feel that I am doing too much than I can handle, which was true. I made a few mistakes near the end of the month. My friend, who was suffering emotionally, did her share of mistakes as well. Those mistakes only materialized as a serious danger at the beginning of October.

The gay scene in Damascus was trying to adapt to the new changes – private parties came to life again. I attended one to check how things were. An Assad cousin was there and performed a drag act. I knew he used to be friendly and nice personally, but that night I noticed that most people who were posting these threatening notes on manjam were his friends. I approached him a day later to talk about this, “I don’t care about all this shit… I want to have the life I used to had… they are doing this by themselves; it doesn’t make me happy, but I won’t talk to them about it”, he said. I had some mixed feelings about all this; a relief that he was not endangering other people’s lives, and annoyance that he did not care about his friends harmful behaviors. I was having my own problems at that point – reporting these profiles seemed to be the best choice for me in order to avoid more troubles.

September was a gloomy month, but funny things always happen. When I was coupled with my partner one night to distribute anti-regime leaflets, a secret police officer asked us if we saw the “bastards” who were throwing out “this shit”. I tried to look charmed and said, “Come on! Look at this angel. Do you think I can see anybody other than her when I am in the presence of this beauty”, then I asked her “did you see anyone hayati (my life)?” She said, “No habibi (baby)”, hiding her hands behind her back because she did not get a chance to take off the blasters. It worked; the guy felt disgusted with the two lovers who did not care about the conspiracy I think, and he might have wanted to catch the “bastards”.

A joke:

Nokia and Syrian secret police? Nokia, connecting people. Syrian secret police collecting people.


Red Cross visiting Syrian prisons – look how cute the prisoners are while holding Bashar’s photo!


[1] Syrian media were struggling to say that Tripoli did not fall, and that Qaddafi was winning. Addounia TVran this funny analytical show to say that all the news were fabricated in a production studio. You have to admit, if they convinced some Syrians that Tripoli was still holding on against the NATO, then there is nothing happening in Syria, right?

[2] Addounia TVwere trying to entice hatred towards protesters. In this video this woman says, “I am sick of it, just kill them all.”

[3] Syrian TVran an interview with someone from Hama saying that people were protesting because they were given “kebab” sandwiches wrapped with 500 S.L. (10 USD at that time) and full with pills that enraged them and forced them to protest. Moreover, this eyewitness noticed that the police forces were given a different kind of pills which made them indifferent about killing people. This, according to him and Syrian TV, what was behind the demos in Hama and the fatalities there; nobody knew what they were doing.

Let’s calculate:
500,000 protesters every Friday for 6 weeks + an average of 150,000 protesters on weekdays for 6 weeks.
That’s about: 8,400,000 sandwiches.
10 USD X 8,400,000 = 84,000,000 USD in cash in 6 weeks for protesters in Hama alone.

When it was possible for Hama people to communicate and move in their own city, two young men made this video. It’s called “Eat then Protest – How to Make a Hamwi Kebab Sandwich”. The first part shows the Syrian TV show, and the second part shows the recipe for making this “500 drugged kebab sandwich”.

Transcription of the recipe:

Bread smuggled into Hama from Salamiyeh.
Kebab 9mm – you have to make sure it’s fat and grease free because you don’t want to grease the 500 S.L.
Pills for hallucination – you need to ground them
500 S.L.
Wrapping papers

How to prepare it:
Put the kebab in the bread, then ground the pills and sprinkle them over the meat.
Wrap the sandwich with the 500 S.L. and then wrap it with paper to hide the money, so next time Syrian TV witness do not see how much you’re giving each protester.

They thought of everything, didn’t they?


Addounia TV Breaking News:
Armed groups in Deraa blocked the main streets in the city, set some tires on fire, and threw rocks at security forces. (Do you think they were too high to realize they were actually armed?)

Syrian News Channel Breaking News:
Before leaving the Arab League Conference, Erdogan kissed only the Qatari and Bahraini foreign affairs ministers. (I think the news editors like Ali al-Shueibi anti-gay statements.)

27 Sep 2011, Syrian Electronic Army hacked Harvard University website. Here is the article in English.

A note by Mr. Ford, US Ambassador in Syria.



  1. Pingback: Revolution Journal – October 2011 « Sami Hamwi - 27/05/2012

  2. Pingback: Revolution Journal: My Last Day in Damascus « Sami Hamwi - 08/11/2012

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