Looking for Hibah Ahmed from Aleppo

‘I was in a relationship with a girl from Aleppo University, where I was studying. But after the crisis started, I don’t know where she has gone.’
(You call it ´crisis´).

Do you still have contacts with someone in Aleppo?
‘Wallah (I swear): No. No one.’

University people, someone.. Relatives, friends.  Think..
‘I wish I had. But no one.’

When was the last time you heard from her?
‘After the events started in Aleppo.’
(the ‘events’ you say)

‘Must have been around middle of that year. Maybe.’

Did the two of you have any friend in common? Someone you can look up?
‘In Syria you mean? No, no one.’

Love stories cannot end this way
‘I know. But with war, everything is possible.. I was studying with her, in the same department’

But how could it be that you lost contact immediately? Did you look up for her in Facebook, Twitter? Do you have a picture of her? You can look at Google Images and see if you find her
‘Nothing of this. She hadn’t a Facebook account, I lost my phone with her photos.’

I want to help you. How can I?
‘Hahaha. I forgot her. Maybe she is dead. She was such a beautiful girl. Smart. She loved me so much. She was such a giving person. She was even lending me her car. She used to invite me to her home to have food. With her parents. She was everything to them. She was their only child.’

Do you remember the father’s name, his job?
‘I think it was Ahmed. But I never asked her the last name of her family.’

Will you make me a promise?

Will you look for her?
‘I am always looking for her. But I have found nothing. She is also the one who lost contact with me. I think she is dead now.’

Do not say it…Do you think so?
‘After all that has happened, no one will remain alive.’

Maybe she left Aleppo long time ago

(After a silence of 20 minutes. Long, heavy minutes)

‘Do you believe I will find her?’
Never give up hope, I believe
‘It’s impossible.’

Do you feel she is dead?
‘Yes. If she is still alive, she would be looking for me too. Because she loved me so much.’

Maybe she is looking for you
‘She knew everything about me, after I arrived to Yemen. I gave her my Facebook account, gmail, my phone number. And I have never changed it.
She promised me she would open a Facebook account, but nothing.
Do you know what? I stopped so many efforts to get married. Because of her. My parents wonder why I am not married yet. I told them I am waiting for someone. But till when?’

Till when you are ready to move on. This is why you have to find her. If not her, her fate.
Is the university closed?
‘In Aleppo, yes.  The life has been closed, not only the university. I really feel so sad because I have mentioned this story. I know I made you sad with this. Sorry dear.
Her name is Hibah Ahmed, of the University of Aleppo – Faculty of Science, Biology Department.’

(you did not say Her name was)

The Broken Loves of War.
Love stories cannot end this way with wars getting in between.

I feel immensely naive, but I ask: Does anyone know of a beautiful girl named Hibah Ahmed who used to study at the University, in Aleppo, Faculty of Science, Biology Department, year 2011-2012?
If so, please tell her nothing has changed. She is still loved, more than ever and someone is waiting for her.

To my Brother

We have a broken camera, a jumpy internet, little electricity but we search, we rush.
We have chosen to do what we do to honour the martyrs of Yemen and injustices alike.
You always leave a door open to news about Palestine and tell me: When war is over, we will take care of our Brothers there.
Battles never end, with you.
We mourn different friends in Syria, where you studied until the war in 2011 brought you back to two revolutions, a coup d´etat and war on our country.
Wars never end, these days.

At times you tell me of your brothers killed in action and it is you to console me when I barely know what to say: ´We are honoured to have martyrs, my Dear´. And you move on to the next news. Because we need to honour the martyrs with new work. We never take a day off.

When I tell you to take cover during airstrikes you reply: ´You must be joking´ and laugh. You know how to make me worry. That is: even more, as I have this tendency to worry always, anytime, any place, especially about you.
Like all Yemenis, yours is the heartbreaking habit of apologising I was caught in the war.
I stopped replying to you.

Yesterday was your birthday and at the end of the month you will graduate. I will save all your pictures of the party as it´s the first time I have a Brother in life. l feel I can go crazy out of happiness and pride.
You say I am your best-favorite Sister.
When I asked you: ´How many do you have?´, again, you gave me a very Yemeni reply: ´Eight!´

We made a promise, tonight, to work even harder for our common dream.
Happy Birthday Brother. We will pass through this war.

I love the whole world and I love you too

” My dear volunteers , my dear children . 
I am a grandmother from Heraklion, Crete.
I am 87 years old and I admire you for your daily efforts to help these people who are suffering , those young ones .
I send you my best wishes and hope that the Almighty God gives you strength to help the world .
I send you these  handmade woollen caps  I knitted with all my strength and soul, to keep the children warm , even if just for a little while , the suffering children.
I love the whole world and I love you too.
All my best wishes and much but much affection
Atalanti Giakoumaki Heraklion Crete , March 8, 2016 ”

Atalanti Giakoumaki has been sending her work to many agencies helping refugees, especially those dealing with children
She loves the whole world, even us, I am sure.
Let it sink in: she is 87 and helping with strength, love and soul.


(news circulated via Enrico Sitta, Italian blogger)

Massacre in Hajjah, Yemen

YEMEN – MARCH 16, 2016

Another day in the UK/US/EU/ISRAEL/UN/IRAN/SAUDI governments indiscriminate war on people.
Children, women, men, blatantly murdered for a war obsessed bunch of criminals.
Yemen, Syria and Palestine are turning into graveyards for religious/political agendas that can never, ever, pave the way to Peace.
Who is responsible? There are so many religious/political factions involved that blaming one or the other means absolutely nothing, ALL parties involved are responsible for this hideous crime against humanity.
Is there a way to WORLD PEACE? Yes there is, but it won’t serve the military industrial war arsenal complex and its criminal financiers.
Worried about WWIII? This is it, it began way back long before WWI, it’s the same war, the war on people, the war against Life. It’s the greatest insanity on Earth. Why? Those in power claiming to be “World Leaders” and “Religious Leaders” cannot answer that without choking on their own perverted words.
What goes around comes around cannot happen soon enough. Murder is against the law in every country, “Law makers” and their associates cannot exempt themselves from that law, they will be haunted by the voices of their victims until they beg to die.

Bob Oort, Founder of Voices for Change peace network

Stuck in Eidomeni

Eidomeni, Greek-FYROM border, March 2016

A baby was born at the border, in a tent, in the mud. Can it get any worse than this?
Of course. You can come to life, still trapped in Syria, in the middle of the street under the infamous barrel bombs. Or crossfire.
Or while the building is collapsing.
Or die soon after because of a barrel bomb, crossfire, collapsing of a building.
As in Yemen, you can come to life in a cave, because the airstrikes are so bad your mother cannot reach hospital.
Hospital, that is: favorite target of this war. Not worth an unsafe ride to an unsafe hospital.
There is no limit to how bad it can get. Our imagination seems not to be evil enough. Reality is unbeatable.
Life continues in Eidomeni. A baby was born in a tent, in the mud, in the cold.

And now what?

photo: AP

The borders continue to be closed.
We will have children, even newborn ones, surrounded by barbedwire and cold, mud. Stomachs filled with hunger, children taking care of younger brothers and sisters to help collapsing parents. Broken shoes, stringless. Filthy clothes, no water. No food, no toys, no medicines.
Keep the borders closed. Have a police officer defending us, just like this.
I wonder where do all the tears of the children go, once they evaporate?


Photograph by Iker Pastor


Our Continent of 550 million people cannot absorb 500.000 refugees.
Greed and racism know no math.

Nizar Ali

Nizar Ali, Syrian artist




Syria, let it be written

Just a reminder
Syria became home to the refugees who fled the armies of Ibrahim Basha in 1839
Syria became home to the Circassian refugees in 1860
Syria became home to the Armenian refugees in 1914
Syria became home to the Palestinian refugees in 1948
Syria became home once again to Palestinian refugees in 1967
Syria became home to the refugees from Kuwait in 1990
Syria became home to refugees from Lebanon in 1996
Syria became home to the refugees from Iraq in 2003
Syria became home to the refugees from Lebanon in 2006
It will be written in the history books and generations will remember, that Syria never closed its borders for those who fled their homes seeking safety and refuge.
Syria has never asked any Arab for a visa to enter its lands whether it was a visit or permanent stay.
In Syria not a single tent was put up on the borders to accommodate for refugees across the years, houses were opened, streets were vacated and cities were renamed to allow for refugees to feel at home.
Let it be written  (Mohammad Al Toba)


Mohammad has documented years of war mentioning each single martyr he has knowledge of.
Every single child, mother, father, family. By name and posting a picture.
Any picture he can get hold of.
Mohammad has never forgotten anyone.

Let it be written: Mohammad carries the weight of all the of the universe in his heart.

photo: O. Laban-Mattel for UNHCR