Aleppo University – January 21, 2012
The following is a diary entry by Flash a student at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering at Aleppo University who regularly attends the protests prepared by his peers there. Flash regularly writes on Twitter under the handle @iLoveSyria55 and will maintain a diary of his experiences here on Al-Ayyam.
I sit by the corner window of the cafeteria, waiting for the hot drink. Waiting, also, for my rendezvous with freedom at 1 PM.
I’m thinking about my friends and colleagues: who’s going to come along? Will they all show up? Will it be a big protest? Was our plan compromised? Are the secret police aware of our intentions? God, lots of ideas and questions are swarming in my head.
It’s time to move to the location of the protest. I’m excited, but I’m also incredibly tense and can’t feel my hand from the cold.
I look around, students are starting to gather. A circle of seven guys forms spontaneously. One of them whispers: “Let’s spread around. Not yet”. And we split into two groups.
The participants are all there. Getting prepared. Some are wrapping scarves to cover their faces, others are standing tense and stiff. But we are all ready.
It’s time! I’m unbelievably nervous. One of guys shouts: “Allahu Akbar!” (God is Great), and four of us repeat after him. The second round of Takbeer is answered in one voice by every guy and girl.
As agreed before, we move in the direction of the Civil Engineering Faculty. The chant leader, in order to boost the morale of those participating and stir the consciences of those who are watching silently from afar, shouts the familiar refrain: “Why are you afraid? God is with us!”
The second chant: “We will not bow but to God”. And then we get to the core of our demands, the one which we’ve all come here for, the most basic of human rights: Freedom.
And we chant: “Freedom, forever. In spite of you, Assad”
And the chanting grows louder and more intense.
One guy scatters a huge number of fliers he had prepared beforehand. It is a nice surprise, knowing that the secret police will have to pick them up later one by one.
We reach the end point. But no one is leaving before doing the revolution oath:
“I swear by Almighty God, I will never back down from this revolution, will never betray the blood of the martyrs, until the toppling of this regime. I’m ready to pay with soul and blood for this revolution. May Almighty God be the witness”
After we finish the oath, it’s time to wrap it up. One of us shouts: “it’s over”. And we leave, each on his different way, happy yet worried the secret police or riot police might make it here before we’re fully dispersed.
I can finally breathe a sigh of relief.