Lost Hopes

 I woke up this morning very disappointed that all my private things had been disappeared. I used to listen to the angel voice of Fairouz every morning but when I switch on the radio today I didn't hear that sweet voice and enjoy the charming music which used to move me from reality to a world of dreams , I discovered that I didn't even dream last night .

I tried to switch on TV but there was no power, I couldn't even wash my face because there was no water. I went to the kitchen for a cup of coffee hoping that drinking my morning coffee will improve my mood but unfortunately there was no gas.

I dressed quickly and left the house heading to my job. I met scores of people waiting for the bus. I was surprised to see them frowning. I felt  that all of them were just like me . They didn't listen to Fairouz and couldn't wash their faces and drink their morning coffee. I couldn't find a single smile on any of their scowling faces.

Amid this crowd, I tried to phone my boss to tell him that I will be late but in vain, because my mobile phone was out of the coverage area.

I didn't know how long it took me to arrive at work. The time I stepped inside the hall I felt that I was a strange person  in a strange place . I felt that I don’t belong to this place and I didn't Know those people.

The noise of the colleagues, their laughs , their lovely talks and funny stories and all the beautiful things that I used to experience in this place have been vanished.

I decided to make a complaint about my dear stolen things; Fairouz sound, electricity, water, smile, life and all the lovely things that were confiscated from my life, but really I didn't know to whom shall I submit this complaint.

Amal Farhat   

Let us spread " peace and love" to all the world

I am so tired of all the wars, all the terrorist attacks, all the tragedies around us, it would be nice if the world would be at peace. I don't think the world has ever seen world peace, not even for a day. That should be what most people strive for.

I want to introduce those who have a kind and compassion heart, in a world that has turned cold and callous, the world is full now of people that are cruel, evil, unkind, un caring, unloving. Yes, but I think there are some people in the world who care, who are understanding, loving, kind, compassionate and are concerned for the welfare of others.

I will tell you a story of a woman who sent me email, to speak about her pains, her agony, her depression, because she lost her only son, in the terrorist attack on Aleppo's university, she wanted me to translate her letter, and publish it in our newspaper, may be those people who have compassion for others, see what US, Turkey, and Qatar did in our safe country, to see one of thousands of the tragedies that spring from what they called Arab spring.

She said: " My damaged soul will never heal after the torment of the loss of my only son, no one to comfort me, no one to chase the nightmares away, I know he is now in heaven, but he never had a chance at life, I would give everything to be able to see him, to see his smile and laugh, I always took his picture with me and passed it around for everybody to look at it, to see how much he had innocent look, innocent face, and a lovely smile.

Do you have children?  if you have, hold them tight, love them with every ounce of love you have, spend more time with them, because I realized that all the small things I was worried about were insignificant, beside sitting with your children, the most important thing is to live life to the fullest, and never take anything for granted, life is not a right, or  privilege, it is a blessing, because every day you leave your house, you run the risk of never returning, every night you go to sleep, you could end up staying asleep forever, by these terrorist attacks, you never know how precious life really is until you've lost everything that is important to you, my beloved son .

I am going to miss him so much, I will live a constant pain, I didn't know grief is pain, it hurts in your heart, without stopping".

At last I say: when a woman's husband dies, she is a widow, when a man's wife dies, he is a widower, when a parent dies, you are an orphan, but when a son dies there is no word for it , because it is very difficult to find a word to suit the pain parents pass by.

I have to believe that out of all these tragedies some change will come, I ask all the people to keep those wrongdoers young men in their prayers, to ask God help them to return to the right pass, because it is enough, yes it is enough, then I am sure that this change will come soon, and wish to those innocent, beautiful souls who died everywhere by terrorist attacks, rest in peace.

Butheina Alnounou

     

Mate: A Friend of Friends Meetings

It is called the drink of the " dearest guests and very close friends ", so when someone calls you to join him and drink with him a glass of Maté, you have to accept his invitation otherwise he will think that you do not like the household and do not respect them.

Sure, It is Maté, the well-known popular drink in the Syrian coastal region, Homs, Al-Qalamoun Mountain area and Al-Sweidaa . It has  established  itself  as one the  basic components of popular culture in Syria.

I liked this drink and I was very curious to know its origin and how it had been introduced to our social culture .So I started to look for the  studies dealing with Maté and following is  the result of my research .

Maté was introduced to the Arab region at the beginning  of the 20th century when many people of the Levant (Belad Al-Sham) ,who  migrated to Southern America and returned back home  bringing this drink with them to their countries. Since then it has become one of the most popular drinks in most areas of this region especially in Syria and Lebanon.

Maté in Syria:

Syria is the biggest importer of Mate where it  imports annually 15 thousand tons.

The most consumption of Mate' is concentrated in Homs and Hama  and in the Syrian coastal villages. At the end of the twentieth century, Mate has become  the most  popular drink for many areas, particularly in Tartous and its countryside. There are some villages like 'Annazeh' where people are drinking Maté adding some local herbs of natural origin - plants such as thyme , wild mint and hyssop .This gives it  more pleasure and good taste. Recenty, many people used to eat nuts while they are drinking  yerba Mate as a new ritual tradition of drinking yerba mate that has been rooted in many regions, cities and villages in Syria.

Benefits of yerba Mate

 

A lot of Mate lovers and many specialists stressed that Maté is very useful in the problems of indigestion and  headaches. It can be considered also as one of energy drinks and serve to reduce the weight and  blood sugar. Yerba mate has been also described as digestive and nutritious . It does not cause  any hurt on heart and nerves such as coffee although it contains caffeine so it generates activity in muscles and nerves and reduces headaches, breathlessness.

 After I polled a group of friends and relatives about this drink, where I asked them, "What does this drink means for them "I got different  answers. A friend said:

In the days of baccalaureate, I used to attend some private lessons at an English teacher in the region, he was drinking yerba mate day and night, and explains that it helps him lose weight, and every week he was giving  us a detailed statistical about his weight, "to make us believe him. He was always urging us to drink Mate as if he wants to tell us Treat with Mate.

Someone else explain his love for Mate  by saying that it helps him to concentrate  during the study, and find it very difficult to study without drinking mate.

"Mate makes meeting with friends more interesting! "When I want to invite  my friend I  tell him "come let us  drink Mate", this  makes him come immediately because he loves yerba mate just like me," he added.

Ddrinking yerba mate is psychologically connected with  community. So to  drink Mate with two or more friends the session will become nicer especially when it is accompanied by conversations,   smoking and enjoying the TV programs with some citrus and nuts. Mate drinkers devoted an important part of their salaries to Mate.

Mate is friend of boredom, laziness, leisure and unemployment and the ritual of drinking  Mate needs to spend long periods of time, not like tea and coffee as they may finish in a very short time, so time can only be  destroyed by drinking Mate.

There is no popular daily drink contests Mate's prestigious, but recently, a very close friend of Mate is generated helping  it killing laziness and Leisure without extracting its  kingship status. It is the waterpipe or hubble bubble. Nowadays, the stores and shops are filled with its diverse tools and equipments and began to find a distinctive place in people's lives...

 

Amal Farhat

Recruiting Children to Fight in Syria Contradicts International Laws

 Children have been main victims of the ongoing crisis in Syria as foreign-backed armed terrorist groups in the country have recruited many children and repeatedly sent them to attack and kill innocent people and to help armed groups in their military operations.

 According to Human Rights Watch, several recruited teenagers had worked with terrorists in a number of Syrian cities and were forced to carry out criminal acts including beheading captives.

 The inhuman act of recruiting children in battles in Syria has become evident to all and has received condemnation by many regional and international bodies.

 With this mind,  the Russian Committee for Solidarity with Syria, which affirmed that armed terrorist groups in Syria are recruiting children within their groups and force them carry weapons to fight in battles against the Syrian Arab Army and state, strongly condemned this act, stressing that it contradicts international laws.

 In a statement recently published on its website, the committee said that the armed groups "use these children to torture and execute people kidnapped by the terrorists."

 "These acts contradict international laws which prohibit mustering or recruiting children under fifteen in army or armed groups, said the Committee, pointing out that international laws consider using children in direct or indirect fighting, in spying activities as a crime.

 The Committee affirmed that the world should know the hostile practices of the "fake revolution'' in Syria.

 

Rawaa Ghanam

 

 

 

 

Expatriates New Campaign in Support of Homeland

BRUSSELS,(ST)-Under  the message  "I am a Syrian expatriate and I will help my people at home"  Syrian expatriates in Brussels launched a raise funding campaign to support the Syrians who were displaced by  armed terrorist groups  and opted to stay inside Syria.

The event came at the initiative of young Syrian expatriates in Brussels and the Belgian Rev Daniel Mays , who is the chief of Saint James Monetary in Qara city, to collect donations from members of the Syrian Community, several Lebanese donors and aids provided by Belgian churches.

On the objective of the initiative, initiative co-organizer Ali Ghandour said on behalf of   the Syrian Expatriates in Belgium:  "Our hearts are with our people  in Syria .. Your steadfastness  foiled the world conspiracy against Syria  . It is our duty, now,  to  compensate  just part of what  you have given. "

Ghandour added that the donation will be in the form of  clothes , food , stationery for schools, medicines and milk for children and will be sent to Syria by the Belgian Aid Foundation, in cooperation with Saint James Monastery and Rev. Daniel Mays.

He continued that the aid will be distributed in the city sports camp in Lattakia.

On future initiatives, Ghandour indicated that another initiative is underway dedicated  for martyrs children, who sacrificed their blood  for Syria 's unity and steadfastness.

 He commended the close cooperation between Syrian communities in Belgium, Holland and France to mobilize Syrian youths potentials in the  service of  their homeland Syria, noting that cooperation to this end will be expanded to include other Syrian communities abroad.

 

T. Fateh

Terrorist Groups' Rape Crimes Force Many Syrian Families to Flee

 

WASHINGTON, (ST) - Women and girls in several Syrian areas are being exposed to rape by foreign–backed armed terrorist groups' members. Such crimes of sexual assault are being committed repeatedly, forcing many families to leave the homeland fleeing the inhuman practices of armed groups.

A report by the International Rescue Committee (IRC) revealed on Monday that "rape is the main reason behind the fleeing of many Syrian women and girls to neighboring countries," pointing out that the armed terrorist groups have been using rape crimes as a war means to pressure the people in areas under their control.

The U.S.-based Committee said that in the light of the assessments it made in Lebanon, Jordan and Syria, it found that rape is the main reason for the fleeing of families from Syria.

The Committee added that it had provided information about crimes of kidnapping, torturing, raping and killing girls and women in Syria.

It expressed victims' fear of being exposed to revenge by the rapists themselves who threaten them of scandal if they filed a complaint against the attackers.

The foreign-backed armed terrorist groups have committed most horrible crimes under arm threat against the Syrians. It wasn't enough for the terrorists to steal people's properties, but persisted in the acts of killing everyone who resists them, mutilating dead bodies, burning houses and raping women and underage girls.

According to the Syrians, rape crimes have been the most painful terrorist act which uncovered the vindictive terrorism of armed groups and make it open to the public. However it led the Syrians to unite in their battle against the terrorists of al-Qaeda, NATO mercenaries and Sheikhs of the petrodollar.

 

H. Mustafa  

Syrian Rural Oven, Attractive Tourist Phenomenon, Means Supporting People's Life

The Syrian rural oven, which has become a popular phenomenon in our country, has a very old story that goes on with tales of women in the countryside who gather around it and exchange happy and sad news in addition to a lot of funny tales while making their delicious bread.

According to some people, the oven is no more than a small corner in the house that can be used only to change paste into bread. For others, and from a scientific point of view, building an oven reflects the genius of the oven's first-builder who had made use from the three most important discoveries humanity had ever witnessed which are: fire, pottery, and domestic wheat.

A few of us know that only skillful persons can build an oven.  They had to be accurate while mixing tile with clay to build the oven walls then they must make a hole in the bottom of the oven in order to drive ashes out. When heating process begins, the oven must be anointed with a piece of cloth wetted with water and salt.

In the past, the oven was one of the most important characteristics of rural life. Every two or three families had their own oven where women make bread for their families.

 Ovens began to disappear gradually due to life developments. Nowadays, ovens have restored their important role as an attractive tourist phenomenon and as a means supporting rural people's life.

 The Syrian folkloric ovens have become a popular phenomenon that can be noticed along Syrian tourist and mountainous roads. They have become very important stops for every traveler or tourist who seeks enjoying the charming nature and tasting the delicious food and pastries baked with various flavors such as cheese, shinkleesh, chard and red pepper.

Oven owners are keen to use sweet-smelling fragrant plants such as basil, oak, and sage as firewood because such plants give special and distinguished flavor to bread.                                           

A lot of people wonder what makes us enjoy eating such kind of simple food. Emotionally speaking, I think, it is because of the smell and the taste of such food which take us back to the simple life that our grandparents had lived. Our grandmothers were experts in preparing healthy food depending on natural resources.

Amal Farhat