I will never forget that hot summer day in 2013. I was in the suburbs of Damascus, Tadamon -to be specific- a place fifteen minutes away from downtown and as close to the Free Syrian Army as the neighborhood next door. It was an unusually quiet afternoon. People in that area had gotten used to the ongoing conflicts between the two parties. However, this day was different indeed. While drinking tea with my family, in our house overlooking the main street in Tadamon, we started hearing gunshots from far away. It was not something abnormal. However, these gunshots started getting closer and closer.
My three little siblings, ages six, eight and ten, jumped out of their places and ran to hide in the bathroom. Although I was twenty, I wasn’t much stronger. I was pinned to my spot and couldn’t feel my legs. My mother, however, ran to grab “the suitcase”. Many Syrians are familiar with such a case, which usually contains any possessions of value packed and ready in a case of a sudden departure. We started shouting and pleading with our father to recede as he began walking towards the window to check what was going on.
In the midst of that terrifying situation, slogans raised up on the street. We rushed to the window and saw tens of Syrian Army soldiers piled into a vehicle that was dragging two dead bodies down the street. Two dead bodies, their legs tied with rope to the car, dragged until they were ripped.
We stood there, stunned, watching the appalling scene. People were gathering around the vehicle staring at the two dead bodies. Aghast faces and vague expressions were all that you could see. The car continued to drag the bodies ten more meters until they reached a square where the two corpses were thrown.
Words won’t do justice describing this situation. Just as it won’t do justice describing other horrific situations in Syria. Each one of us needs a moment that triggers the human within. This ‘dragged humanity’ was that moment for me.