My Way To War
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I ask that at the very least you will pray for an end to the ongoing turmoil and violence...
A story of one man's journey into Syrian battle.
I am a Sunni Muslim; I'm not highly devout, or a fundamentalist by any means, but I am a practicing, God-fearing Muslim. My family and I, however, come from an area of the country that is predominantly Alawites (followers of a branch of Shia Islam) and Christians; groups that are fiercely loyal to the Bashar al-Assad regime. This area, for all practical purposes, is now fully under the control of the regime's pro-government forces. It is only under their control, however, because of how they chose to get rid of those who they did not want to be there. Those like my family and me.
One evening while we were all asleep, approximately 15 pro-government soldiers burst through our door and came storming into our home, accusing us of "conspiring with the enemy". I was in total shock as I had lived in this town for my entire life, and had never previously taken any sort of stance against the al-Assad regime. Yet for some reason, we were under attack.
What happened that night is something I will never, ever forget. And something I will likely never, ever be able to forgive for either. I will never forgive myself for not being able to do more as the man of the household. I will never forgive those who did this. And I will never forgive those who allowed this to be done.
Before you read-on, I want to warn you and say you may prefer to not do so. This is because my gut feeling these days is that most of the world would rather not be confronted with the evil realities that are actually happening in certain places across the globe. After all, ignorance is bliss.
Yet if you prefer the cold, hard, uncomfortable truth to blissful ignorance, you may want to continue'
When the pro-government fighters first came in, they immediately took me, and tied me to a chair. As we did not have any real weapons in our house to defend ourselves with, there was little I could do to resist. Then I heard them screaming and yelling at, and even hitting my elderly mother-in-law, who lived with us. Next, they brought my wife and two daughters, 12 and 14 years of age, into the room where they were holding me; and that is when the unimaginable began. What transpired next was evil beyond anything I knew could exist, even within the most sick, twisted, and sinister of men.
They'the pro-government fighters'began taking turns viciously raping my wife and both of my young daughters. This continued until my wife and daughters were unable to even stand.
Then they took all three of them, as well as my elderly mother-in-law who lived with us, lined them up in front of me, and shot each of them numerous times.
There I was, tied up to a chair, helpless, looking at my beloved wife, daughters, and mother-in-law, laying dead on the blood-soaked floor, torn apart by rape and bullets, void of all dignity, and void of all life.
The soldiers then began repeatedly striking me. I eventually lost consciousness, and woke up several hours later, beaten to the point of near-death. I wish I could say I believe they left me because they thought I was dead. However, I don't think that is why I was left to survive what had happened. I believe it was because they wanted me to live out the rest of my days with the nightmare of having to remember it all. What I had not been able to prevent. They wanted me to live in shame'
But f*ck them all. That's what I say. F*ck them all.
The moment I re-gained consciousness I knew without a doubt in my mind that I would be joining the opposition forces fighting against the monsters that did this. And truth-be-told, I didn't fully know or care then, and I don't fully know or care now, who all of the opposition fighters are and why they have all chosen to take up arms against the al-Assad regime; all I care about is that they'and we'are fighting to deliver our country from evil. That is literally all I have to live, and to die for, these days.
I don't expect you to understand though. I don't expect anyone to understand what it is like to sit and watch your wife and daughters being gang-raped, and then brutally murdered, by the very ones you believe to be your protectors; your country's military.
No, I don't expect you to understand. I don't expect anyone to understand.
I do ask, however, that you not give lip-service to our suffering. I ask that at the very least you will pray for an end to the ongoing turmoil and violence that continues to send Syria and her people deeper and deeper into a dark abyss; deeper and deeper into a future void of all hope; deeper and deeper into a state of damage which cannot be undone. And that maybe you will even go a step further and honestly ask yourself what more you can do to help.
I ask you to do this before it is too late.
Jeff d. Patterson, Middle East Specialist: While the ashes were beginning to settle in New York City with the setting of the sun on 9/11, Jeff D. Patterson was unpacking his bags far, far away from American shores; far, far away from his family and friends; far, far away from his homeland. He was starting a new phase of life in a region of the world he would call ‘home’ for most of the next decade. Jeff was taking his first breaths of Middle Eastern air, thinking of the world becoming a better place… In contrast to most... (more...)