The story of (Y)

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(Y) is a real person, and this is his real story. He was born 20 years ago to a poor family, his father was a farmer and had 6 daughters, 3 sons, and (Y).

(Y) didn’t go to school, instead he had to help his father and older brothers in the farm. During his work he had two dreams, the first one he developed while walking from his family house to his family farm, there was a metal workshop and he wanted to start his own.

The second dream was to build a room on top of his family house and to get married. He wanted six sons, and wanted to name them: Ahmad, Tareq, etc.. I can’t remember the rest of the names now. It had been a while since I met (Y). I actually never met (Y), only met his voice.

At age of 18 he had to join the army, and after getting the required training he became the driver of some important officer. 

The first 19 years of his life were very simple, he never watched news and didn’t actually understood what was going on when the Syrian revolution started. He was loyal to the army he is serving, never thought of the crimes the army is committing and never participated in any. He just didn’t have to.

One day he was driving his officer to the base when a group from the Free Syrian Army stopped their car, the officer was wanted to FSA, because he ordered to kill civilians in Daraa. (Y) had an ak-47 in the car, he tried to use it, but they were stronger and he failed. The officer was killed and the group took (Y) to their base where they found out that he knows nothing, he was too naive to even hear about FSA. They explained everything to him, he understood nothing but he said he did, and they let him go with a promise that he will come back and join FSA.

The FSA didn’t allow him to see the way to the base, instead he had to wait for them next day in a known street and they will pick him up. He never went to the appointment, instead he went to told his father who was no smarter than him, than his father told him to go to his Syrian base and to tell them what happened, thinking everything will be fine, they will understand that (Y) has nothing to do with the death of the officer. He also thought they will be happy because he refuse d to join FSA and got back. 

Next day, (Y) went to his Syrian army base, six months later (Y) was thrown in a cell near mine, almost dead of torture. He spent these 6 months trying to make the interrogators believe he had something to do with the death of the officer, and that he is loyal to Assad’s regime.

It took him a week to start talking to me from a hole in the wall. He was sure he will be free soon. He was innocent, but from the regime point of view, was he?

He prayed a lot in the darkness of the cell, but God’s radars couldn’t receive the signal from (Y), his cell was many meters underground.

(Y) was always hungry, always needed more food, so I built a system to transport food between cells, my system was a rope I made of the blanket, and we sent between cells from holes in the roof.

It’s not that I had more food than I need, but I was able to give some to (Y). He kept telling me stories about his village that I know later was destroyed by explosive barrels. He taught me how to farm some vegetables (so now I have something to do when out if I fail as a blogger), how to cook spinach, and how to get to his house in case I was released before him. He wanted me to tell his mom that he is alive. 

He didn’t know he can’t build a room on top of his family house anymore, thanks to the barrels. He didn’t know that his entire family don’t exist anymore because of the barrels.

It was Monday night when they executed (Y) for the murder of the officer, they knew he was innocent but it was easier to execute him than to catch the ones who killed the officer, the case need to be closed. (Y) was executed but he never understood why! 

Friendly fire

أشسثمأمخل[خسف

When you hear in the news that (A) number of prisoners died under torture in Syrian jails, do you stop for a moment and think how they died? Do you know that those prisoners are humans exactly like you? And they died because they wanted to make their country a better place?

In secret service jails they turn some prisoners into executioners, this is the only way they can kill so many people, and this is what I call death by friendly fire, where the fire here is the fear!

It all starts when they put more than 100 prisoners in a room no large than 8*3 meters. I was once in one of those rooms with 114 other prisoners, fighting death, winning sometimes and failing most of the time.

At the corner of the room there was a small square area with a dirty drain and two water taps (water with bad smell and taste), that corner of the room was the center of all possible life activities: Taking a bath, using toilet, washing cloth (people were almost naked anyway), cleaning blood after torture sessions, helping and sometimes punishing those who go into a coma. In the room every prisoner lives on a floor tile during day time and on half of a floor tile or on two floor tile (depends on his turn) during night. A floor tile is 30 * 30 cm, and that is a square foot. Prisoner is free to do whatever he wants to do on his square foot, possible options are to stand or to stand on one foot, or to sit in a way without using more space than what is allowed to him by the room manager. The manager is a normal prisoner but he has benefits and power given to him by the guards because of his loyalty to them and their trust, a trust that means to give him a stick to punish those who object on anything.

The manager is the eyes and hands of the guards. He decided how much food every prisoner is allowed to eat and when a prisoner is allowed to sleep or sit and when he has to stand.

Such person is very important to the guards, as they try not to enter the room and if they have to they wear mask, for example when they do inspection or when they take someone out of interrogation. The stink inside the room which is a mix of the smells of blood, pyoderma, vomit, and shit block guards outside most of the time.

Hours, days and months pass without hope in the room. Memories fade away, and asking about time becomes an unnecessary luxury, The last hope is a deadly conflict on space limits. , seeking few more centimeters by showing love and affection to the manager which can give a prisoner the high-ranking position of being the vice-manager.

The vice manager is the one who punish prisoners by stick when the manager sleeps, and is the one who gets a tomato everyday (that is the dinner for six normal prisoners), and is the one who can pee whenever he wants (manager allows others to pee only one time a day).

Desperation in such circumstances leads directly to death, this happened to many people. It is a mixture of many terrifying factors and fear is the strongest one of them, fear never leads to love, it is actually the shorter way to hate the grudge and finally violence and maybe more.

It is less than normal in the room to have prisoners fighting for space or for a bite of a tomato. it is also normal that the manager beat someone to death or block food from someone also to death. guards allow that as long as the manager is loyal. Life and death are decisions in the hands of the manager and sometimes he’s only 16 years old. It is the death room literally, and we were responsible for part of this death, we developed the crazy circumstances the guards forced us to like in. It is not possible to take a picture of things in such density, ugliness, and hardness. It was a continuous unstoppable case of insanity.

In that damned room we had grudge and hate against each other that was enough to destroy empires not only a regime we once were against.

To pee or not to pee

When I entered the cell that became my home for over than 8 month for the first time it took me few hours to adjust my eyes into the new (see in no light mode), than I started searching inside it. A bad smelling blanket full of bugs and other blood sucking insects was everything I found in the 1.8m length by 0.9 m width dark cage.

After couple of hours the door opened and food was thrown to me. I was very hungry but it took me three days to set myself in (eat whatever mode).
Food was not my worst nightmare, I was doing ok until I needed to pee, that very basic human need. From the dimensions of my cell it is clear that there is no toilet in it!

I knocked and knocked the door until an angry guard came to me. I told him that I need to pee, he told me to go to hell. I am already in hell but really need to pee so he reached me that I’am allowed to go to toilet one time each day and for now it is too late. They brought me after toilet time, but he added: “ You have a right to get a bucket to use as a toilet”, he brought me two buckets, one for drinking water and the other to pee.
Each of the buckets was exactly one liter so I can’t pee or drink more than 1 Liter a day. So far so good, all problems are solved.

My nose started to ignore bad smells but it failed to do so of the bucket after few days of usage. Trust me, humans can adapt to very weird situations. If it was a dog living in that cell it would stop eating and die after few days, but I’m no dog and I dream, I spent all of my time dreaming of my lovely wife, I dream of her voice, lips, smell, and touch. I dreamed of clouds, open sky, trees, river, and rocks.

Syrian government have employees at secret service jails with a job to get prisoners to and from toilets, a prisoner is allowed to spend 30 seconds in toilet everyday. Let us call those employees (the toilet men) since their mission in life is to count the seconds for prisoners while they pee than torture those who stay more than 30 seconds.

When a prisoner sign up and admission with the charges the department want him/her to admit that he/she gets an empty half liter bottle to use instead the bucket for drinking, and since I didn’t sign up I didn’t enjoy having a bottle while many other prisoners did.

Once upon a time a prisoner took a piece of metal from the door of the toilet during his 30 seconds sessions, he took it to his cell to cut his 30 seconds session, he took it to his cell to cut his own throat to end his torture, and with the end of his life my torture started again.

Toilet men (guards) searched all the cells for metal objects and when they found nothing they took all the pee buckets for no reason, so I ended up alone with my water bucket and the blanket.

I see from a small hole in the door cell in front of mine the other cell empty. They took the guy in it and executed him 9 days ago after he signed the admission, and since he did left an empty bottle behind him, I was planning to steal it when I go to toilet but there was a problem, toilet man is not allowing me to do so, he said it is not human to steal a dead man bottle. He was beating me by cable while telling me that, so instead I had the one and only human possible option: To pee and drink using the same bucket.

I was not allowed to wash the bucket when I empty it to fill it with water during my 30 seconds session.

Sorry for this disgusting details of the last few month in hell when my question was: To pee or not to pee

The Blue Towel

A blue towel was our precious treasure after each of us had lost all of what we have and all of what we built in our lives when we were arrested.

It was the first and only towel that got sneaked to that Syrian high security military jail, which is located on top of very cold mountain, no heating, no cloth to cover our naked bodies, and not enough food.

The guards punished us everyday by throwing cold water on us while beating our bodies with thick sticks and cables. That was how our daily life looked like there. Each day we loose a friend, an activist, a soldier of FSA. Death is very common and usual.

The blue towel was the tool we had to keep our bodies dry after the punishment sessions, in a cell with 27 other prisoners I was named a hero because I succeeded to smuggle the towel in a very dangerous and lucky strike.

In the car that took us to that house of dead, Jamal (fake name) said to me:

“As long as we are together there won’t be fear, we will take care of each other”, and we ended up in the same cell!

We took care of each other, we had long conversations, built projects, traveled the world in our dreams, and most important kept the towel clean.

After a while the cell door opened, they shouted my name and I was being moved to a better jail that is filled with towels, but Jamal was kept in the cold prison.

At that moment I made my worst mistake ever. For no reason I took the towel with me, keeping Jamal and the 26 other heroes in the cell without a towel.

In my new jail I can buy as much towels as I want and there are no punishment sessions. 8 months after, Jamal died, and I wasn’t near him to take care of each others, I didn’t even keep the blue towel to dry his body!

Hello World!

Prison Cell

Great to be in touch with you again!

I am a Syrian blogger and activist, but currently a political prisoner. I have been in jail for long time now, almost since the first third of the Syrian revolution and was transferred between many jails and ended up in this one.

I can’t tell you my name, the date of my arrest, or the name of my current jail because in the first place I was arrested because of my writings.

Syrian government wanted to shut me up, because it failed and this blog is the prove.

In jail there are no communication, no Internet, and it is not allowed to write. If they catch me blogging again I might loose my life, literally!

When you read my post from behind your screen, please remember that a Syrian blogger risked his life for you to read this, and posting to this blog is a very complicated process! Wait! How can this be verified?

I will leave this to my friends out who are supporting me and will reveal my real identity once I am out, until then I can’t give any other details.

The content of the blog will be stories and events happened to me and/or to other people I met in Syrian jails, also will be sharing my opinions about events in Syria. Most of the posts will be personal. This is not a place to read the latest on Syria news.

Thanks for reading my blog, I hope that you will like it and sorry for not answering your comments for now, I can’t read them but please write to me, once I am out I will enjoy reading and replying to them, and until that moment, I have to stay anonymous blogging from a Syrian jail with love!

Oh! I almost forgot it, I also have a Twitter handle, follow me and get in touch: @MeInSyrianJail