It is now eight years since the start of the Syrian revolution, the revolution of freedom and dignity, the revolution that broke the wall of fear and shattered the kingdom of silence established by Hafez al-Assad and inherited by his son Bashar al-Assad, the revolution that destroyed the statues of Hafez al-Assad and his sons who were like idols they wanted us to worship.
The images of the ruling family that swept the country were torn apart, the revolution that rocked the throne and made Bashar al-Assad smaller and akin to a coward who could do nothing but kill and destroy the homes of innocents, displace the population and rob them of their property through his notorious and treacherous army.
The revolution that disrupted the peace of dictatorial regimes starting in Damascus and reaching Moscow through Tehran and Pyongyang.
The day of the Syrian revolution was a great day. This anniversary is heavy for us; we are the sons and descendants of this revolution. Eight years have passed, and they have been devastating and exhausting and they have destroyed everything in us but the hope for a better tomorrow.
They were heavy with tragedies, troubles and loss.
The day the Syrian revolution began was a great day that changed the course of the lives of millions of Syrians under the domination of tyranny and made the dream of freedom and dignity possible. And the subsequent result of the transition to open civil war and multiple occupations of the country was the result of the injustice and arrogance and contempt of Bashar Assad's criminal regime.
And what does one remember when he remembers these years, long as an age? Freedom and dignity are met with bullets, guns, missiles, arrests and death under torture, countless massacres, displacement, refugee camps, shipwrecks and destroyed homes, fighting militias and open civil war. A torn country presented by Bashar al-Assad and his regime on a gold plate to the foreign occupation, in order for him to retain his rule.
Eight years have passed since the great revolution began. One year has passed since the occupation of Afrin by Erdogan’s mercenaries. Six years have passed since the massacre of Baida and Banias by Assad’s militias and the chemical massacre perpetrated by them. Fifteen years have passed since the Qamishli uprising, and 37 years have passed since the massacre of Hama by the defense brigades of the criminal Rifaat al-Assad, the brother of the great dictator Hafez al-Assad.
The Syrian people have endured many years of repression, injustice and tyranny, while the criminal still remains in the presidential palace, following the orders of his Iranian and Russian masters.
On this anniversary of the revolution, the heart is broken, sad and tired. Whole families have been lost, entire cities have been torn down, tens of thousands of unjust detentions, millions of displaced people and refugees, hundreds who drowned in the Mediterranean, and my memory is suffused with pain and suffering.
Pain, destruction, loss, death and suffering are directly and indirectly the responsibility of Bashar al-Assad and his criminal regime. Other actors added other torments but Bashar al-Assad, his criminal regime and his bloody army are the biggest contributors to every torment we have endured as Syrians.
We ask ourselves every day: What is left of Syria? Nothing ... only hope and stories.
We have the story of the revolution that we will keep living, and which we will keep telling our children and the world. Assad and his cronies took everything from us, took our loved ones, our country, our homes, our memories and our streets, but we will not allow them to take the story, we will not allow the victor to write history anymore.
We will write the story of our revolution and the story of its people. We will talk about injustice, oppression and humiliation, which erupted like a volcano in the face of the tyrant. We will talk about the peaceful demonstrations and the calls for freedom. We will talk about the Friday of dignity, and the heroes who faced the bullets of the criminals with their bare chests.
We have nothing left but the story. We will tell them about everything that we have been subjected to, a dictatorship that has eradicated everything, and we will tell them about hope, the hope that never leaves us of a free and decent country that respects all people.
We will tell them, with pride, that we lived in the time of the great Syrian revolution, the revolution that rose against one of the most despicable tyrants in history.
We will tell them that 2011 is the pivotal year in the history of modern Syria and that it was the foundation for a culture of freedom and dignity that will flourish even after many years of suffering and pain.
We will talk about a better future that will not be under the yoke of dictators, where the word “forever” is nonexistent.
We will say that the road is long but tomorrow is better and one day we will reach what we aspire to, even if those who believe in freedom and dignity and justice comprise just ten people.
This is the hope that keeps us alive. That is what we live for.