A map that blogs

I described a series of maps of the violence in Syria a few weeks ago, and today Al Jazeera provided a new interactive that maps the different groups that compose the Syrian opposition; here’s a screenshot of what is, of evident necessity, a rough-and-ready approximation of a fluid situation:

Mapping Syria's rebellion

And since I recently mentioned Riverbend‘s blog from Baghdad during the US-led occupation, I thought I should list some of the blogs being written out of Syria.  I do this with trepidation, after the odious fiasco of the Gay Girl in Damascus blog, which turned out not only to be written by an American man but also to describe the ‘arrest’ of its ‘author’, ‘Amina Haraf’: several of the bloggers I list below (like Razzan Ghazawi) really have been arrested, interrogated or expelled.  If I’ve overlooked any other insightful blogs from Syria, please let me know.

Free Halab (‘a blog about the Syrian Revolution’) includes reports from Aleppo, Homs and Damascus (including video, and some helpful maps of the situation in different cities by Cedric Labrousse); other posts from Homs are here (and an excellent discussion of them and their author here), and from Northern Syria here.

Maysaloon is here – singled out with good reason in the Guardian – and Razzan Ghazawi‘s (according to the Telegraphiconic‘) blog is here.  It includes this powerful poem, The Revolutionary Cannot Speak (and I suspect the Telegraph could not read it either); it also might explain the otherwise strange title I’ve given this post.

We were taught that the sun does not always shine
We were taught
Thousands mirrors worth a truthful face

We tried to unlearn, those many lines our memory cannot forsake
The revolution, we repeated, the revolution is the solution
A task we may never undertake

Our revolution is pure, and it is not White
It’s grounded and rooted in our sinful eyes

We are the people
We are the words of wisdom
Your books and think-tanks so eloquently did not foresee

The power lies in people
The Black Palestinian painfully teaches us

Why do I feel that I’ll soon be the last Syrian alive
40, 000 corpses can never lie
They lay underneath our sacred soil
They haunt us in protests
Occupy our banners
and online profiles

A burden I cannot bear
So like others, I long for the day I join the Shuhada

I cannot be the last Syrian alive
I cannot be the Syrian who left, and still alive

You think “critically” of our raw revolution, you say
You think and cite our savagery with references of youtube videos
You are as powerful as the states you oppose
States silence us with machine guns
They send us sleepless killers in black suits
States fight among each other
We have learned the drill

But you, like the White, speak on behalf of us
You are the intellectual whose privileged voice silenced our indigenous voices
You’re no friend of mine
The leftist, feminist and the pro Palestinian activist
Are names of spaces you proudly occupy
To me, they’re just another privileged class
You made it possible to become my enemy

Yes, I have said the word “enemy”
And I would say it in the class you teach
Below the many articles you publish
Where you could tell the world how my struggle isn’t consistent with yours

What is your struggle, I wonder
When you’re the diasporic subject and I am the postcolonial
I stand in front of systems, machines and propaganda
In my besieged land

Your battle has become my dream of freedom
Your intellect has become another bullet in my chest
A “friendly fire,” I do not call it

I am being silenced by your pen

The revolutionary cannot speak
She may never speak for years to come
She writes in her mother tongue
Speaks folky words and songs your memory can no longer grasp
The revolutionary speaks to her gender-less comrades
And you
The powerful male intellectual
You are not one.

One thought on “A map that blogs

  1. Pingback: A mile in these shoes | geographical imaginations

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