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Posted on: July 2nd, 2013 No Comments

The Child Rebels

In a breezy afternoon of spring 2011 the ringing sound of the school bell echoed through the school ground. The old chalky walls of the school stood firmly on the ground, sheltering yet another generation of fresh young minds. It had once sheltered their fathers and grandfathers, all whom once had dreams and motivations to make a difference. Screams and laughter of young boys and girls made the walls appear young and energetic once again. As the sounds of light footsteps, loud banging of chairs against tables, and chuckling of children made its way around the building, a group of young boys assembled together to craft a new plan; A plan that could make a difference. A difference that their grandfathers and fathers strived to make but failed to do so.

The group of boys, consisting of boys aged 12-16 stared at the school walls blankly for years. Wondering why it was never renovated. Why it looked the same as it did more than 40 years ago. Did they not have the right to redecorate their school? They decided it was time to change the way the wall looked. With their graffiti and markers they wrote slogans they had learnt from children in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia. They demanded change.

With that they all laughed nervously at their bravery and returned home feeling somehow liberated; a feeling children only dreamed they had in Syria. Little did they know they had to pay for that sensation. When the sun went down and sleep paralyzed all sensations, heavy footsteps were heard near the old school walls. Every single boy who saw, drew or even supported the slogans on the wall was awoken violently that night. The boys were dragged out of their homes by large armed men wearing uniforms. Their parents screamed and shoved the armed men helplessly. They were paying the price for years of silence.

Unable to understand their crime the boys cried as they were put together in small pickups and jeeps. They were dragged to small humid cells and beaten by large men. A kick in the rib for contemplating change; a blow in the face for asking for change; and a crack in the spine for feeling liberated. They sat in their cells for weeks, beaten and humiliated on a daily basis. As a final warning, their nails were yanked out of their fingers to teach them to never draw on the old wall.

Whoever survived the torture was later returned home, swollen and crushed. The dead were lucky to have never lived life to see the fate of the Syrian children in the future.

Family members and friends of the young boys swarmed the streets of the town of Daraa demanding justice be brought to those who tortured and killed their children. No one listened to them. Friends of friends and passerby’s later joined the angry group, forming a small demonstration. No one listened to their demands. The demonstration grew as more people were familiar with the recent events. There was finally a response. Live bullets and tear gas forced the crowds to split up the demonstrations temporarily. The demonstrations grew larger as angry crowds demanded for nothing but change and were not receiving it. The response was once again bullets and tear gas, however this time the bullets hit flesh. As more blood was spilt, the crowds grew more furious and larger.

The word about the demonstrations reached other provinces like Homs, Douma, Idlib and Damascus suburbs. Touched by the bravery of the little boys in Daraa, more little boys followed their example and drew on old walls. Demonstrations grew larger, demands progressed. People no longer wanted change and reformations; they wanted the complete removal of the old. They wanted Bashar Al Assad and his government to resign. While his grip tightened on his throne, more blood was spilt in demonstrations and more people grew aware of the situation.

The question is, what happened to the children? Did the government learn from their mistakes? Did they stop child torture and imprisonment? On the contrary, after the boys in Daraa, Hamza alkhateeb fell victim to their torture. His genitals mutilated, his body bruised from blows, arms dented with bullet holes and burns from cigarettes, and bones crushed. Him and thousands of children in Syria are paying the price for desiring what the boys in Daraa desired.

This revolution was ignited by the children, carried out by the children, and will be extinguished by the children.

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