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Christmas Gifts or Christmas Trees… Could a Childhood's Dream Come True after 50 Years…

He returned to Syria his homeland after 50 years of living abroad only to plant a few trees in his childhood garden, and ended by establishing a League called "Friends of Sebki Park League". Syriatimes met this remarkable person, Mr. Tahseen El Fakir, a Syrian expatriate, who has lived in Sweden for 50 years, and has returned back to his homeland to realize his childhood dream. This is a special time and these are holy days when all the trees are decorated for the Christmas season, but as well as a representation of the tree of life and resurrection and birth of Jesus Christ, the prophet of peace and compassion, whose cradle was the Levantine. Yes, in those days dreams came true here in the cradle of the religion of peace.


Regarding the Sebki Park history and Mr. Fakir’s nostalgic memories of this park used to be. This park was one of the oldest parks in Damascus city and the middle east. He told us about his personal and sentimental relationship with this park " I used to play there with the children's neighborhood and touch the branches of the trees that were at the time still young; but when I came back after 50 years the trees were too high and if you want the see the greenery I had to look high in the sky. At that point I thought why not plant a new generation of trees that will grow with today's children, as I have grown with those trees Mr. Fakir explained.

Therefore, he made an initiative by posting on his personal Facebook page a notice to plant some trees in Sebki Park and hoped that his dream would come true;. Thus he made a public page under the name " Sebki Park friends League" without expecting any interactivity and not thinking that this page will become the first atom of the start of a real not virtual League on ground under the same name; when he make an invitation to all those sharing his interest in Sebki Park to meet in the park and discuss the park future. "I was astonished by the number of those interested inside and outside the country and their contribution in the amelioration of this park. Some sent their black and white photos while still babies in the park, others wanted to donate trees in memory of their beloved ones who had passed away. Some offered to plant the trees or make landscape designs for the new plantings, and so many other suggestions, that made me so happy"  exclaimed Mr. Fakir.

Consequently, after the first meeting in the park which included the plantation of the first tree as a symbolic gesture announcing the launch of the League"we established a league with a financial and design side to it and follow up committees, to keep an eye on this beloved park, and begin coordinating with Damascus municipality and Damascus Parks directorate to issue administrative approvals and they were so cooperative and encouraging " Mr. Fakir explained.

In addition to Mr. Fakir’s plan to generalize his experience by his willingness to share the knowledge he gained through the whole process to help and guide other leagues or individuals who want to donate trees or restore parks in Damascus or anywhere else in Syria. A matter that will for sure be so beneficial and time saving for those sharing his passion for their childhood parks.

Concerning the integration of the concept of donation in the Syrian community, Mr. Fakir said "Donation in our country is related to religious doctrines in general and rarely to individual collaborations. That's something I learned from living overseas, you donate especially to public areas; however I was astonished by the amount of sharing when I suggested donation."

Sebki Park will one day return to its old glamour and possibly a different species of trees will be planted there by a younger generation.  Children will walk and play under these trees and one day learn to love and appreciate these old parks just the way Mr.Fakhir has. Witnessing the birth of generation after another Sebki Park will remain a most prominent landmark of Damascus.


Reem Haddad –editor in chief

Interviewed by: Lama Alhassanieh