Thank You, Deeply

Dear Women & Girls Community,

We are excited to share our plans for the future of women and girls’ coverage at News Deeply.

In January 2018, our Women & Girls page will close as we launch the first of a new set of dedicated platforms that will allow us to dive deeper into the biggest issues affecting women and girls in the developing world.

This first platform – Women’s Advancement Deeply – will cover the pursuit of economic equality for women, from securing gender-equal access to financial services, to fighting for property rights and closing the pay gap.

We’ll also be working to launch other dedicated platforms in this space, and we are currently exploring themes of maternal, sexual and reproductive health, as well as gender-based violence. If these topics are of interest to you, please let us know here – we would love your input as we shape new initiatives.

Our trove of existing Women & Girls coverage will remain available through an archived version of the site, allowing you to explore and reference our published articles dating back to May 2016

Thank you for being part of the Women & Girls community. We look forward to having you join us in our new endeavors in this space.

Sincerely,

Lara Setrakian, CEO and Co-founder, News Deeply
Megan Clement, Managing Editor, Women & Girls, News Deeply

My Days in Damascus: Letter to a Friend

Farah is a young woman living in Syria’s capital city, where she faces the daily struggles of trying to maintain a normal social and professional life in a country being ripped apart by war.

Written by Farah Published on Read time Approx. 3 minutes
To a friend picdamascitadel
Flowers in a garden in the Damascus citadel.Farah

Dear friend,

After years hearing about the situation in my country, you will, today, learn about it from someone who actually lives in Syria. I live in the capital of a country that has been deformed by an absurd reality – a country whose people cannot tell if they can still even call it a country. I live in this uncovered box that used to be called Damascus, and I am a member of a group of people hypnotized by a complex force called war.

Firstly, and before you jump to any conclusions, or assume that I am exaggerating, I would like you to know that, for me, this place possesses a sentimental secret that is best described in classical poetry written about Damascus. I cannot say for sure whether this is true, or whether just like all those around me, I have lost my objectivity and entered a state of emotional intensity. There is a living force behind Damascus. Is it the city itself, its people, and the collective tendency to cling to the city’s soul in times of hardship? Or is it simply the general cycle that people living in wars go through, and have gone through during the many wars that humanity has endured?

My letter to you intends to present a little sample of this box, and how it looks, today, in 2016.

People here are born with an imaginary rope that controls their daily actions. For the last four years, we have all been living in uncertainty, and have been governed by the unknown. Sometimes, we do not even know why we continue with our daily lives, since we have no hope for a better tomorrow.

Like any living creature stuck in a box, there are those who try desperately to get out. Those who have not yet found an exit continue to knock on every door, hoping that they might eventually find a way out. There are also those who are busy with their small lives at the bottom of the box. They do not raise their heads to look at the skies so that they do not have to think of their unknown destiny.

Between the former and the latter, there are shades of natural and unnatural ways of living. Just like any other society, we wake up, eat, work, stay up late, fall in love, hate, dance and cry within this box. The only difference between us and others is that we live under increasing pressure, and although we know that this pressure will eventually lead to an explosion of some sort, no one has the courage to talk about it.

On a personal level, I can say that when someone lives inside of a box, and is aware of that fact, she begins to build more boxes around her, perhaps to convince herself that the living in isolation is her choice – that it has never been forced upon her. When living under pressure, one feels it, and the more pressure, the more one complies. In this environment, communicating with friends and family becomes extremely hard, and it requires much effort, power and positivity – things hard to come by when living in isolation.

On the other hand, those who ignore that fact that they live in a box or simply do not realize it, live in their own imagination. They seek to preserve the lifestyle that they enjoyed before the walls of the box got higher. They are disconnected from reality. Just like clowns, they have big smiles painted on their faces. They simply reject their reality, which they cannot change anyway.

There are endless details, my dear, but I will end my letter with the hope that you live in a better place in this galaxy, and I hope that you consider what you have read no more than the beginning of an imaginary bedtime story.

This story originally appeared on Syria Deeply

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