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Golan .... seat of homeland affections

You cannot separate the inherent spiritual condition experienced by all Syrian Arab citizen from the core of their minds and the depth of their firm conviction, the state that refers to the belief in the inevitability of the Golan return to Syria warm breast. This state is born as a complete certainty, since any Syrian maiden gaze at life, sees that dear part of their beloved homeland confined with the manacles of the Israeli occupier.

This native knows that occupation is going to an end, carefully observing the Arab nation current situation, shorn of despair as he sees the Israeli occupier is ultimately in charge of the state of fragmentation and dispersion. It is as well responsible for the political and economic conditions of the Arab nation. By means of awareness, natives are able to absorb the fact that the Zionist entity planted by Western colonialism, is but a poisoned knife in the heart of the Arab world to engage them in a struggle draining their energies and capabilities to conduct them toward a battle of liberation rather than a battle for construction and development .

This reality does not anticipate optimism, but at the same time do not allow depths of despair to penetrate into our hearts. The darkest hour is just before the crack of dawn. From the midst of despair, hope is born with a bright-face grinning from ear to ear. As the proverb says desperate diseases must have desperate remedies.  Oh heavens, we see in every cloud passing Golan a silver lining of victory, dropping pure water to rinse up the dirtiness of the occupier.

Our faith in Golan return is identical to the confidence that no mother would not give up her beloved baby, who was taken away from her compassionate heart by treachery hands.

We are in Syria convinced that Golan is from us and to us. But those who are doubtful of this fact, we say we are not responsible for the mists that obscured the truth from your eyes. You have been hostages of the Israeli false misleading media, falling in Zionist propaganda traps, which is trying to rape the land of others and then claim that Zionists are the true proprietors of this land .

Come back to your souls depths, to transparency to discern that all Israeli excuses for aggression on others land by force are false feigned ones, akin to escape. An escape that can be viewed sedating or numbing, but which effects will rapidly disappear.

  Firas Taleb

Edited &Translated by: Lama Al-Hassanieh

Nimrod Castle

  One of the famous  Golan  Historical castles . It was built  during the rule of the Ayyubids and Mamluks era in the middle Ages  . Located on a steep hillside to the west of mount Hermon (Jabal al-Sheikh) between Banyias village and Majdal shams and rises 816 meters above sea level.

The castle was built by the Ayyubids in the 13th century in 1230 to face the invasion of  Crusaders the thing that gave rise to its historic significance. In 1260 Mongols finished the rule of the Ayyubid where they  occupied  Banyas and destroyed the fortress. After the defeat of the Mongols by  Zahir Baybars, he renewed the citadel and revamped it into a luxury palace where he took residence. 

In the 13th century and after overcoming the Crusaders, the castle lost its strategic importance but  mmaintained its historical and political significance. In the 15th century, the Mamluks turned the castle  into a prison of governors who rebelled against the rule.

 The citadel is a magnificent fortress. It is about 420 meters long and 60-150 meters wide.   Surrounded by four-meter thick stone wall in addition to  protection towers destined to protect the entrance and serve as an observatory place of the rulers.

The fortress is divided into two parts : the top one comprising the north tower and the southern part accommodating livery stables ,water tanks and a number of rooms which signified that  the ruler of the castle had once lived in.


The Loaf Of Firmness Is The Bread And Butter Of Golanis

The Golani tale of bread is not like other tales, it is a story made of exceptional ingredients. An ecru flour grinned from wheat, like a waterfall of warm memories that ignites in the heart of every Golani, flushing a tape of nostalgia to that fertile earth that knows how to breastfeed her children land attachment with milk, from their tender age until their last breath.

“Saj” (baking tin) bread, also known as Markook (Arabic: مرقوق) is a type of flatbread common in the countries of the Levant. It is baked on a domed or convex metal griddle, known as "saj". It is usually large, about 2 feet in diameter, and thin, almost translucent. Similar to the procedures for making some other flatbreads, the dough of markook is flattened and kept very thin before cooking, resulting in a very slender depth. It is commonly compared to pita bread, which is known in Mediterranean cuisine, and is among the most ancient kind of bread.

Whereas, water that enters in the composition of Golani bread, is made from every Golani mother tears, seeing off her departing son, to receive education in Syrian universities where he will receive extra lessons in land attachment and unremitting readiness to offer the most precious in defense of this land freedom and dignity. When those dear tears reach the dough, the loaf will  come to be more delicious and full of flavor. The yeast leavening bread dough, rise as well the deep ties that root Golanis to the pure soil of their land. Which is translated in hard work to restore freedom that Zionists had assaulted.

For these reasons, Saj bread enjoys significant position in Golani villages, but also in the minds and hearts of all Syrians, who will not lose their confidence in the inevitability of Golan return to Syria. Golanis do not live by bread alone, as they break bread with the loaf of persistence to get rid of the Zionist occupier, a bread mingled with a delightful taste of determination when renewing refusal to carry Israeli identity, and insisting on the use of Arabic in order to not allow Zionists to turn them in part of Israeli community.

Saj bread make a great match with the dough of firmness to Golan return. Then extra virgin Golani olive oil is added to this twofold bread, to get the perfect composition, in harmony with all ingredient strings to play the land anthem. Here, the Golani olive seed blossom to become a blessed tree, which oil will shine freedom path heralding the dawn birth, independence dawn.

Noticeably, hardly any village or farm in Quneitra province, is devoid of traditional baking tools including Saj (baking tin), “al-Kara” (a thick round cloth to thinly knead the dough), in addition to ancient mud rooms specially furnished for handmade bread.

Golani Bread is a pristine bread kneaded with Golan children love for their compassionate Land, and their insistence to liberate it of the Zionist usurper. Whereas Golani olive oil sparkles freedom path for coming generations.

Firas Taleb

Translated & edited by: Lama Al-Hassanieh

Mansaf an exquisite Golani dish you will never forget

Our people in the beloved Golan have a close bond with their homeland Syria in every nook and cranny, giving life evidence on their deep belief in the inevitability of Golan return to Syria. Moreover, they have not and will not lose their faith in their homecoming since they are affirmative to the nth degree that the matter is absolute. They have lived with this fixed heartening conviction; as grandparents, parents, children and grandchildren have all inherited it.

By and large, the Golani personality is an integral part of the Syrian Arab one, however enjoying a particular place close to the heart. In which you can sense the richness of this lively heritage evolving through the passage of time, like antique gold throughout time gains originality and eminence in both mind and heart.

While talking of the Golani heritage we will penetrate its kitchen, that swiftly opens his doors in front of us to introduce a variety of delicious food and drink, savories, and dainties. A rich cuisine, counting an unlimited assortment of viands.

Today, we will present a famous dish that has characterized the Golani kitchen throughout history, since it is a plate symbolizing Golan people generosity, hospitality and their eagerness to unlimitedly honor the guest.

This well-known plate is “Mansaf” (Arabic: منسف‎) ,coming from the term "large tray" or "large dish" made of copper carried by two men by means of two metallic circlets.

Mansaf is a traditional Golani dish made of lamb cooked in a sauce of fermented dried yogurt called “Melehi” and served with rice or bulgur. It is the national dish of Golan and all the southern region of Syria. The dish is copious with bulgur, rice, or both where bulgur is placed as a bottom layer topped by a rice layer, so bulgur devourers will dig in Mansaf to find their craving. The Mansaf is crowned with lamb meat, centered by the carcass head, garnished with almonds and pine nuts, and then sauce poured over all. A spice mixture and herbs, add distinctive flavor, with regional variations.

Mansaf is associated with a traditional Golani culture based on an agro-pastoral lifestyle in which meat and yogurt are readily available. Mansaf is served on special occasions such as weddings as well as funerals, births and graduations, circumcision ceremonies or to honor a guest, and on major holidays such as Eid ul-Fitr, Eid ul-Adha. It is traditionally eaten collectively from a large platter in the rural style, standing around the platter with the left hand behind the back and using the right hand instead of utensils.

Here we must mention that Mansaf is only offered to distinctive guests, before catering hosts begin to entertain and amuse guests. When more than one Mansaf is provided, the Mansaf who holds the carcass head is put in front of the guest of honor, then the host “Almazb” invite the rest of invitees to eat. Guests must stand up to the Mansaf in front of and near them, unless Almazb assigned them a special place on the audience ears.

Around the platter Mansaf meet both invitees and hosts in a warm atmosphere, even in the harsh winter of Golan, as light conversations precede this feast of delights savories. Here begins a familiarity atmosphere weaving warm meeting yarns, reflecting Golan people generosity and their love for guests.

This is the Golani Mansaf tale, a tale we eagerly hear with a hunger equivalent to the return of this precious part of our home to its mother bosom Syria who do not abandon any of her generous sons.


Feras Taleb

Translated & Edited by: Lama Al-Hassanieh

Sidqi al-Maqt

After 27 years of captivity and  in an  atmosphere of  exceptional  festivity , the town of Majdal Shams in the occupied Golan  Heights  has embraced its captive  son Sidqy  al-Maqt.

Majdal Shams had organized a national festival which was attended by crowds  from all the Golan Heights' villages and in the presence of a large number of  liberated prisoners and members of the Association of Arab prisoners.

The  administration  of Israeli Prisons has intended to  release the captive  al- Maqt at five o'clock in the morning from al-Gilboa Shatta  prison fearing that he will get a  terrific reception befitting a hero like him . But the Israeli authorities did not succeed in this plan because our people in the Golan Heights  had  prepared a special celebration befitting Sidky al-Maqt.

At the reception in August, 2012, al-Maqt delivered a speech through which he greeted the crowds , hoisting  the  pictures of  his two comrades, the martyr Hayel Abu Zeid and  the martyr Seitan al-weli. Sidqi al-Maqt also telegraphed his greetings to his fellow prisoners in the  Israeli jails , wishing  that they will get their freedom soon .

The  Syrian prisoner Sidqi Suleiman al-Maqt was  born in April 16, 1967 in  the town of Majdal Shams in the occupied Syrian Golan  Heights. He finished his  primary school in the village , while he completed his preparatory and secondary schools in Masada village.

Sidqi al-Maqt  with the participation of group of his comrades such  as Medhat Saleh, the  martyr Seitan al-Weli , the martyr Hayel Bouzid and his  comrades Asim al-Weli and Bishr al-Maqt, had  established " The Secret Resistance Movement ". Sidqi and his comrades had participated in all the  resistance's operations , where they were able to monitor  the Israeli military posts  scattered  in the Occupied Syrian Golan Heights. In addition, al-Maqt had participated  with many of his comrades in bombing the Israeli camp near the village of Buqata .

On the night of 23.08.1985 and after 12 days  of the arresting of his brother Bishr al-Maqt ,  Sidqi was arrested by the Israeli military authorities  on  the charge of resisting the occupation . On the twentieth of May 1986, the Israeli Military Court in Allad  city had sentenced unfair judgment against Sidqi and he spent  27 years in the Israeli jails.

During his  trial in  the Israeli court,  Sidqi and his comrades refused to stand to  the military judge and  they reject  to confess the legitimacy of this  injustice trial .

In his speech in front of the  lawyers and the military court judge ,  Sidqi al-Maqt said : "You occupied my land , and it is my right to defend it and resist you , I  do not admit  the legitimacy of your court."

Sidqi  al-Maqt and  nine of his comrades were expelled outside  the court because they sang  the Syrian Arab anthem " Homata al-Deyar."
During the years of his captivity , al-Maqt participated in many  activities concerning the  human rights  of the captives in the Israeli prisons . Al-Maqt was  considered one of the symbols of the national movement of the prisoners in the Israeli jails.