Damascus, the Christmas of Christian and Muslim children: a gift, beyond the wounds of war

siria_-_christmas_hysteriaokDamascus (AsiaNews) – A Christmas of lights and shadows, caught between the desire to leave behind the violence of the past and the still open wounds of a conflict that – he hope of everyone, Christians and Muslims – seems to be coming to a conclusion. The contradictions of capital illuminated in celebration and neighborhoods without electricity. The joy of children (Muslims), who bear the wounds of war on their skin, for an unexpected toy source of hope for a future of peace and unity. Christmas in Damascus shared with AsiaNews by Sandra Awad, married mother of two children and communication manager for Caritas Syria.

The days of Christmas were passing by this year, and I was experiencing a state of hysteria and a terrible contradiction of emotions that never seemed to have an end.

I took the kids for a drive in my car to see the  Christmas decorations, and I found myself looking at the shining lights on the streets and the balconies… I choked up… I can’t help remembering my husband’s sad’s voice while telling me about the lack of electricity at his lab in Sahnaya, since this area and others in the countryside of Damascus are barely receiving electricity during a few hours in the day.

I said to myself: “What’s wrong with you, girl?! Enjoy the magic of Christmas! And let your kids enjoy the lights. Be grateful for everything!”

A few minutes after, I passed by a tree which I heard that it coasted around a million Syrian pounds, or two, or three… I’m not quite sure… and I found myself choking again.

There are children who are going to destroyed schools, people who are living in houses with no doors or windows, no water or electricity because they cannot pay 15000 SP to rent an unfinished room in Jaramana, so I found myself choking. Suddenly I heard my son gasping with joy as soon as we reached the big Christmas tree, so I silenced my thoughts and said to myself: “What’s wrong with you, girl? Stop thinking about tragedies! Concentrate on joy; your own joy and your children’s.”

A few minutes later, a carnival that was organized by the church scouts passed next to us, those kids and young people walking on the roads in spite of the extreme cold, wearing special uniforms, carrying flags and singing Christmas carols on the streets. I asked myself: “Does anyone of those kids understand that this is Jesus Christ’s birthday, and it is not a carnival?”


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