Introductory piece for the series
Brazil is a country of migration. Once seen as the new US of southern half front and it is now a mix of different communities. Brazilian identity is built on agreement between Arabs and Portuguese and later blended with other Western immigrants. The intention in the end of 19th century Brazil was to obliterate the Afro-Brazilian culture and Indian culture by interracial marriages. And Brazil to create a migration country. Is it coincidence that the national beer of Brazil Brahma in the same year as the abolition of slavery (1888) was put on the market? Is it a coincidence that after the abolition of slavery, forced a wave of immigration to Brazil was triggered by Syrians? Is it normal that Syrians have been able to throw to the highest echelons of society, while indigenous people live in poverty? And finally, the new open-door policy of the Brazilian government for Syrian refugees a new ploy? These questions are not all answered in this article, but a call to further study the matter and to carve out. Here, the building blocks are provided, because remember there is also a breeding ground for global jihad in South America. Brazil is at a tipping point, get jihadists foot or South America is a place for the Socialism of the 21st century with close ties to Iran, Syria and Lebanon. What is certain is that Hezbollah already has a foothold in Brazil.(http://oglobo.globo.com/brasil/policia-federal-aponta-elo-entre-faccao-brasileira-hezbollah-14512269) Here's a case study on the center of power and economic heart of Latin America: Sao Paulo!
* How the Syrian community in Sao Paulo social mobility made to the top
While the indigenous population of Brazil is still fighting against discrimination and racism, Sao Paulo is good in the hands of the Syrian-Lebanese community. Fernando Haddad, the Mayor of Sao Paulo. The Governor of the State Geraldo Alckmin and Michel Temer, born Paulista, is vice president of Brazil and so on. Most Syrians in Sao Paulo from Homs and have since the end of the 19eeuw until now developed from small traders to a politically powerful club that maintenance again close ties since 2003 with the Middle East. The first foreign visit of former President Lula was Lebanon in 2003. And according to Eduardo Elias of FEARAB in Sao Paulo, he wanted to go to Syria when he was in Palestine in 2010.
* In Brazil they speak about the Syrio-Lebanese community, but most Christian Orthodox immigrants in Sao Paulo came from Homs, the increasingly disputed Beqaa Valley and the independent Mount Lebanon in Lebanon. So I stick to Syrians because it is clearer for the subject.
There are about 6 to 8 million Syrian descendants in Brazil, according to specialist Guita Hourani Center for Emigration in the University of Notre Dame in Beirut (http://www.executive-magazine.com/society/lebanese-conquered-brazil), which is a total of 3 to 4% of the population. Due to the important social status, 10% of parliamentarians are Syrian descendants according to Eduardo Elias, former director of the Federation of Arab identities, the numbers are sometimes raised to 13 million. Because people think in Brazil that gets every politician votes determined by the size of his community.
Since the discovery of Brazil by Pedro Cabral in 1500 after a failed expedition to India, Arabs are already present in Brazil. This is about the presence of Moors and Berbers who have been present 711 in Portugal since they invaded the Iberian peninsula. (Do Libano ao o Brazil, Gataz) The Portuguese, the first nation state in the world, and the Arabs formed the basis on which the national identity of Brazil was built because the Moors and Berbers together with the Portuguese colonizers came to Brazil.
(O RECONHECIMENTO DA Presença Arabe NO BRASIL AFTER THE BUSCA UMA Identidade NACIONAL, Patrícia Dario El-moor)
To date, we still see the influence of these Moors and Berbers still see the Iberian Peninsula in the architecture, music, language, decoration, ...
Civilizations have also converged. In both cultures, the family is patriarchal organized women be submissive, obedient children and families should show solidarity.
(O RECONHECIMENTO DA Presença Arabe NO BRASIL AFTER THE BUSCA UMA Identidade NACIONAL, Patrícia Dario El-moor)
The main migration wave was between 1870 and the beginning of World War II. However, most Syrians were Christians and came from Mount Lebanon because of demographic and economic pressures of this just became independent of the Ottoman Empire after the war between Druze and Christians in 1860. They were in this period, the main group of immigrants in Sao Paulo . For as later the European migration repeats went mostly to the Coffee plantations. (Andrew Gatz, From Lebanon to Brazil)
The classic story is that Peter II (nicknamed the generous) of Brazil, who became king at the age of 14, in the Beqaa Valley during one of his last trip in 1876 to the Ottoman Empire took pity on some Christian peasants whom he at hit the talk. And that he then these Christians to his country, Brazil invited, is a story that belongs to the Brazilian folklore. (http://www.executive-magazine.com/society/lebanese-conquered-brazil) It can not be that the information on the invitation of Pedro II of Brazil so quickly did the rounds in Syria. It seems plausible that migrants who are not in the United States, within the palsy because of illiteracy or disability, chose to go to Brazil because it did not matter to them where they were going. She wanted to get away from Syria who lived under the Ottoman Empire and where they were discriminated against and away from Mount Lebanon because of population pressure and the socio-economic problems. One hypothesis is that for that to the Ottoman empire to make is popular in the US and that this was an influence on his decision to set up its borders to Syrians, because not forget them an identity in Brazil based on immigration were creating. (A Imigração Siria E Libanesa NIS Estados Unidos E NO BRASIL: UMA Perspectiva COMPARATIVAHP Nunes - Revista História, 2012) (André Gatz, Thu Libano ao Brasil)
According to research by Truzzi and Safady, two Brazilian history professors of Syrian origin specialized in this matter, it appears that Syrians who came to Brazil in the late 19th century were mainly looking for short-term profit to have enough money to return to it by the ottomans occupied Turkey. Their economic success in textiles, furniture manufacturing and clothing they were short-term ability to absorb new immigrants arrived with their economically integrated network that consisted of ethnic links. This allowed them to develop a specialized niche area, so they could give their children the best education. This allowed them as community climb higher on the social ladder, while the Spanish, Italian and Portuguese immigrants mainly on coffee plantations work went.
(O RECONHECIMENTO DA Presença Arabe NO BRASIL AFTER THE BUSCA UMA Identidade NACIONAL, Patrícia Dario El-moor)
From 1930 you found many Syrians in Brazil back in liberal professions. For example, they were a doctor, lawyer or engineer. This opened the way to great careers in politics. At present 10% of the politicians of Syrian descent. In Brazil, the Syrians have much respect because they are one of the few migrant communities have realized economically independent by entering a new niche.
(A Imigração Siria E Libanesa NIS Estados Unidos E NO BRASIL: UMA Perspectiva COMPARATIVAHP Nunes - Revista História, 2012)
It was 1978 when the intellectual Edward Said published his masterpiece Orientalism. In it he gave an analysis of the Western world regarding the Middle East. He suggested that the Arab world increasingly as a threat by the West was seen. While at that time there was no question in Brazil this negative connotation for the Syrian community who enjoyed a high reputation. Despite the fact that the Syrians are still having difficulty adjusting to the Brazilian society, they are still less as a threat than in the West. The Syrians have become an important part of the Brazilian society. There is no clash of civilizations come to some racist remarks after the financial crisis in 1929, because they are mainly in the speculative and commercial sector, they were seen as responsible for the crisis. (A Imigração Siria E Libanesa NIS Estados Unidos E NO BRASIL: UMA Perspectiva COMPARATIVAHP Nunes - Revista História, 2012)
(O RECONHECIMENTO DA Presença Arabe NO BRASIL AFTER THE BUSCA UMA Identidade NACIONAL, Patrícia Dario El-moor)
What in the beginning of the last century was a closed community since the late 90s a community with much diversity. Marrying someone from another community is very normal. There is a transformation process to an 'Open Society' based on the concept of citizenship. Syrian identity has now become rather a way to open doors in society. What was once a community has now grown to a network. Their main identity is Brazilian and their Syrian identity is secondary. Yet Syrian descendants enormously proud of their culture, but this is only a small part of their identity. They could preserve the culture, traditions and social clubs, but lost their language.
Since the turn of the century, there is a theoretical countercurrent to the occurrence back to their origin, while they lost their language and traditions in the 20th century. This goes along with regional forces that want to promote the anti-imperialism in the region by the South-South relationship between Brazil, Venezuela, Iran, Lebanon and Syria. The highlight was the tour of Bashar Al-Assad in Latin America in 2010. As he tried to reactivate the ties of the Diaspora with the motherland. According to the specialist Janaina Herrera this community less ideological than in other Latin American countries and keep their ties with the motherland pure folklore.
(Pas de printemps pour la Syrie, Les clés pour les actors comprendre et les Défis de la crise (2011-2013), François BURGAT Bruno PAOLI)
Michel Temer, current vice president of Brazil is hugely proud of his Syrian roots. He is a Syrian-Lebanese and the youngest son of a poor family of eight children who emigrated to Brazil in 1925.
When the former president of Lebanon, Sleiman, was visiting in April 2010 by Michel Temer, Sleiman made the joke that Temer mightier than himself, and he represents more than Syrio-Lebanese Sleiman represented. Temer is best known because he represented the relations between Brazil and the Middle East and the contacts with the Arab community. (Http://www.executive-magazine.com/society/michel-temer-the-most-powerful- lebanese-person)
This counterflow by Eduardo Elias, director of the Fearab Sao Paolo, promoted interviewed for MO * in this series. He is a pro-Al-Assad supporter who regularly on his Facebook page shows images of the misdeeds of the Free Syrian Army, which he describes as mercenaries. In another candid interview late MO * Sara to the word that tells about her life in Syria during the revolution. They integrated into a Marxist party as Syrian refugee in Brazil and speaker at most events on the Middle East in Sao Paulo.
It is the intention of these two spontaneous interviews to show the contrast between a Syrian citizen activist in Brazil and a Syrian-Brazilian Assad supporter who meet during a demonstration in front of the Syrian Consulate in Sao Paulo.
Are we on the verge of a new wave of emigration from Syria? Is history repeating itself again? Syrians can return to Brazil because the borders of the Western world remain closed? Sara is an example of a pioneer who paved the way for a new generation of refugees. It is unstoppable because Brazil has economic interests in Syria, Iran and Lebanon and has a neutral position in the world. Making it both does business with the Syrian regime as a positive state against the opposition and civil society activists in Syria. The reason of this neutrality, according to the Journalist Nicole Prestes that Brazil is a country of immigration and that the various communities Brazil must preserve its neutrality. Because it is you want in a reformed Security CouncilVN.(http://www.mo.be/wereldblog/willemjan-vandenplas/brazilie-en-haiti-een-verhaal-van-humanistische-zuid-zuid-cooeperatie)
What will be the impact of these potential migration wave? The Syrian community has become interested again by the conflict in its origin, but is still divided on the side that they can choose in the conflict. This network can people like Michel Temer brought to power, fall apart. Earlier in Brazil you had a low social status if you came from a diverse background of migration, today it no longer exists. So probably will solve the traditional network of Syrian descendants in society. Despite the fact that people like Eduardo Elias want to keep alive this identity. Why So? Because his power stands and falls with the unity of the Syrian community in Brazil.
Further reading: Syrian-Lebanese ethnicity in Neoliberal Brasil
Al-Assad Lion in Sao Paulo
I sit quietly in a chair in the entrance hall of the nearly 100 year old Club Homs (Syria) in Sao Paulo, when I hear an elderly man calling my name. "Willemjan, we're going to eat something, we need to talk. I know from which country you come, it is full there with Syriëstrijders. I remember well the story of that Brazilian Belgian who has left for Syria. "We ate something in Arabic restaurant Club Homs, where he opened his argument with his appreciation for the regime that is already 40 years in power in Syria. He also stressed that as a second-generation immigrant from Homs in Brazil fear for his country is attacked by foreign mercenaries, according to him since the beginning of the war. A revolution is no question, he says. Aljazeera, the Arab news network, described him as a kind man, so we began our 8 hour interview about the Syrian community in Sao Paulo and the relationships between Sao Paulo and Syria. Sao Paulo that a sister city of Damascus. In the end he solemnly promised me that he give me a bullet to the head would shoot if I could disclose sensitive information, because we do not need more confusion in this discussion on Syria, because the regime has good intentions, according to him.
Our man is Eduardo Elias (71). He is the former president of the Organization of Arab entities (FEARAB) in Brazil and currently president of the FEARAB in Sao Paulo. You get the first impression that he is a businessman - he wears a suit with a pin with the flag of Syria (of the regime), he wears braces and smokes traditional Brazilian tobacco in reed leaves - even though you're not him on the first glance would indicate he is the one who plays a key role between the Syrian regime and Brazil. He is originally from Homs, where the most Syrian Christian immigrants in Sao Paulo come from. He likes to tell, for example, one of the stories he's proudest of is that he ex-president of Brazil, Lula went to Palestine in March 2010, he made an exploratory trip to prove a supposed attack on him. The photographs of Lula with him in Palestine still flaunts on the facebook page of the Fearab Sao Paulo, where he is now president. He tells about the meeting of the FEARAB Latin America in Antigua, Guatemala, with the regime of Bashar Al-Assad. He knows every Arab descendant of the continent which has gained a little fame. He has a personal relationship with the Secretary General of the Baath Party in Syria and he knows Bashar Al-Assad. And he is a personal friend of Bouthaina, the Special Envoy of the regime for the Diaspora. So if you are for the regime in Syria, he is the man to do the job in Latin America. He has friends in every community: the Jewish, Druze, Shiite, Sunni, and so on. He participated in the transfer of experience between Brazil and Qatar for the World Cup.
How did the first Christian Syrians into Brazil?
The first wave of Syrian immigrants in Brazil came from Homs in 1880 at the invitation of Pedro II of Brazil after his visit to Palestine, Syria and Lebanon, where he saw the suffering of Christians in the Ottoman Empire. Pedro II spoke Arabic and Hebrew and invited the first 400 Orthodox Christian families to live in Sao Paulo. The first families settled in the March 25 street around 1880. For them it was the New World where they washroom. They had their own stores and were mostly small traders. They could build their homes thanks to them had small pieces of gold from the Ottoman Empire smuggled because they were allowed to take any money.
What is your personal immigration story?
My grandfather came in 1908 in Sao Paulo and was immediately passport for his whole family. However, he did not learn Portuguese and never really integrated themselves. When his son, the father of Elijah, 3 years old, in 1910, arrived in Sao Paulo, my grandfather said: "From now on, I am Brazilian and I will forget the Ottoman Empire. Because we are in the Ottoman Empire not even allowed to walk on the sidewalk, we had to walk always on the road. "
First Syrians always said, "The land provides us shelter that country, we will treat you with respect."
So I had to learn Arabic to speak against my grandfather. Because this is the dialect of the 19th century, I came to the conclusion when I arrived in Syria in the 70s I was laughed at because I spoke an archaic language.
How Club Homs originated; the symbol of the Syrian community in Sao Paulo?
One thing is certain: the Syrians in Sao Paulo were there to stay. They began to finance their community by raising money from local merchants. The first meeting place was in the Florencio Abreu Street. They had a small space for events. In 1920, targeting the Syrian immigrants Club Homs, where most Syrians in Sao Paulo come from. My grandfather was one of the founding partners of the Club of Homs, his name is written on a large stone wall at the entrance along with the other 400 partners. During the reign of Getulio Vargas (1930-45) each club in Brazil with a foreign name had to change the name, but thanks to the good connections Club Homs with Vargas could Club along with two other retained its name. The symbol of the Club of Homs, the original black and green flag of Syria which was vergangen by Hafez al-Assad, father of Bashar Al-Assad. Today it is used by the rebels and civil activists during the Syrian crisis. Historically, homes are different opinions in the Club of Homs, but they insist that there is unity in their nationalistic belief in Syria. The Club is not ideological despite a large portrait of Bashar Al-Assad hangs. Because for example if Elias speaks with Syrian consul. There is no dissident voices may be heard in the Club. It's officially a club that promotes the culture of Syria.
Are there other institutes of the Syrian community in Sao Paulo?
When revolution broke out in 1922 in Sao Paulo, there were many Syrian children orphans. The Syrian community asked a British orphanage to catch them on. However, they answer. "What are you guys for a community if you can not even take care of your own being" Thus began 12 Syrian families an orphanage in Sao Paulo. All the orphans were given a job in the March 25 street, which to this day is still the largest Syrian street. The orphans every month had to give a portion of their salary to the orphanage. To date, the Syrian orphanage still in Sao Paulo and it is still run by the same 12 families who already give the orphanage from generation to generation even there are no more Syrian orphans for 50 years. The Syrian community has managed to send to school many of her children. After 1930 we see that the Syrian community in every important place in the Brazilian community has a representative.
The best hospital of South America is therefore the Syrian-Lebanese Hospital in Sao Paulo. Founded by Syrian refugees in Sao Paulo in 1921. Here all political figures flown to. I dream that there will ever be an exchange going between medical schools Syre and the Syrian-Lebanese Hospital here in Sao Paulo.
You can see the Syrian culture even in everyday life?
In the beginning and even to this day it is not abnormal to Syrian Brazilians Arabic words used to hear in their "GIRIA" or dialect. Many Syrians are married with members of the Syrian-Lebanese Diaspora. I am the second generation of Syrians and I have a Lebanese woman.
There are 13 million Arab descendants in Brazil. Nearly 5 million of them are Syrian descendants. The Brazilians call them Turks, but there are actually few Turks in Brazil. Many Brazilians think they lost their language and assimilated in the Latin American culture, but that is not the exact story I think.
Then in 1973, Hafez al-Assad came to power in Syria was the political and cultural consciousness of the Syrian immigrants in Sao Paulo an incentive. The Club of Homs in Sao Paulo were organized trips to Syria to the Syrian community to discover its origin. Since the wonders of Hafez were revealed his regime. For example, I've been around 27 time traveling to Syria and every time I went to Homs. Increasing cultural and culinary activities were organized in the Club of Homs with typical food and dance. Even more Arab descendants began again to learn Arabic.
Can you bring your personal story of the visit of Bashar Al-Assad?
In June 2010, Bashar Al-Assad made a tour in South America and Cuba. One of his stops was Sao Paulo. His goal was to reactivate the relations between Syrian community in South America and his country and the 2000 Syrian students to visit Cuba. Al-Assad and his wife Asmaa were in Sao Paulo. When I Bashar Al-Assad met at Club Homs, he made a sophisticated, intelligent and well-behaved impression. I remember well that his wife Asmaa me said, "The Club of Homs for us and it is our home," because that is also of Homs. Bashar Al-Assad took time to speak to the whole community was invited throughout the Syrian community. The aim was to bring their back closer to their origin. I was the last person who spoke them to 3am, I asked Al-Assad if he was not tired after 10 hours of shaking hands and talking, while he was just coming out of the plane. Bashar said: "I am happy to meet all these new people, we knew no one here but you Elias, you introduced us their all for, thank you very much."
What influence did the Arab Spring in Sao Paulo?
The Arab Spring is increasingly determined that there is a political and cultural awareness of the Syrian community, this is often seen in the Palestinian Diaspora, which is much more politically active abroad. There are a lot Syrian Arab descendants who are beginning to learn, because they have no direct news about Syria. Elias says the Brazilian news comes rechtstereeks Reuters (news agency).
However, according to the Syrian-Brazilian journalist Tammam Dabboul, formerly close friends with Elijah, but since two years, not for the sake of the revolution, the traditional Syrian immigrants do not have enough information to form an idea of the political crisis. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/portuguese/noticias/2012/01/120105_comunidade_siria_brasil_assad_mm.shtml)
When the Syrian crisis broke the Syrian community in Sao Paulo was very divided. Elias speaks of 70% for Al-Assad and Syrian activists speak of 60% for Al-Assad. There is a huge fault line between the newly arrived Syrians primarily against al-Assad and the traditional community that is for Al-Assad. According to Elias has achieved a democratic vote in the Club of Homs. Activists, however, say that it is guessing at each digit. The reason why so many people have for Al-Assad, is because they are afraid that a large wave of immigration again is going to come to Brazil. Currently, the largest group of political refugees Syrians in Brazil. The Orthodox community has fear of the minorities in a new Syria. According to Elias, the Christians always protected by the Syrian regime and the Shia (Also Alawites are a sect of Shia d) Christians historically protected and that Saudi Arabia wants to exterminate them. Saudi Arabia is also a major problem in Brazil, according to Elias. He see: "try to convert many Brazilians to Islam. There are 90 Jihadists left for Syria, all Jihadists of Brazilian origin. "Of which, according to news sites are already 37 dead. These are seen as "exotic jihadists."
According to activists in Sao Paulo, there were two big demonstrations of 400 men in the main street, Avenida Paulista. They organized 20 smaller sit-ins include the consulate, but every time there was a protest participants were filmed and recorded their names.
During one of the sit-ins in front of the consulate came as an activist almost to blows with Elias. He came out running with the consul and began the group of protesters to put all kinds of abuse. Replied a Syrian-Brazilian couple, whose wife Sarah, a Syrian refugee who I MO * in Article 3 interview for this series, by spitting in his face.
Syrian refugees at 10,000 miles from home
Brazil has borders open to Syrian refugees. Since September 2013 Brazil shares special humanitarian visas for Syrians. In November 2014, they have become the largest group of officially recognized refugees in Brazil. The main reason for this exodus to Brazil are open borders compared to the EU, Canada and the US History repeats sight so. As mentioned earlier in this series, the first Syrians in the 19th century to because they could not get into the Western World.
Atypical refugee status
Most refugees think that Spanish is spoken in Brazil. Very few know that there are a large community Syrians present who amassed considerable wealth and assist in receiving refugees. According to Sarah that later in this article testifies about her life as a civil rights activist in Syria and its way to Brazil, that at the Brazilian embassy in Beirut already a waiting list of three months to apply for a tourist visa for Brazil that only 3 months validity .
The news of the new world with open borders must be spread. Why an expensive and dangerous journey with smugglers to the EU car, while the chance to be denied is enormous?
Is the biggest fear of the pro-Assad lobby not that another major wave of migration coming to Brazil? How long the Brazilian government will be able to sustain this policy? One thing is clear, if Brazil is serious about its offer of a seat in the UN Security Council, it is important that Brazil maintains its neutrality in the world. Hence they do business with both the regime and the opposition.
End of October 2014 there lived 1524 Syrian refugees in Brazil, of which 1,183 were given the status this year. This number is four times greater than in 2013. In total, there were only 2032 granted refugee status in Brazil. The total number of applications was of the order of 8302, which many Africans who will be rejected. Africans try to seek asylum based on the LGBT arrangement because based on sexual orientation is also open borders are in Brazil. Officially, there are about 1,600 Syrian refugees in Latin America, so the vast majority of which in Brazil. In comparison, Uruguay, received in October 42 selected refugees, especially adolescents and children.
The reason is that Brazil immediately accepted the Syrian refugees, as they can identify themselves as Syrian and apply for the status. According to the government, 100% of the Syrian refugees accepted. Brazil has thus opened up its borders. This recognition without an individual analysis is atypical.
The advantage of Brazil is that there is hardly racism against Arabs or Muslims in contrast with the Western world. Of course there since 11/09 a change has taken place since the Brazilian media giants often do negative reporting about Islam, according to journalist Nicole Prestes.
The vast majority of refugees have liberal professions, because they have enough money and identity to take a plane. But if they can not prove they have a degree, they often work as a cleaner or bartender. It is difficult to get a degree from a job because the refugees already have their papers in order. So far there are only 300 refugees got to work.
Also because in Brazil, most people live in apartments, it is often difficult to find a place for large families. Taking care of the Mosque, they make their space available to accommodate Syrians.
Another obstacle is the language. Very few Brazilians speak English. This problem is solved by the Portuguese language schools who founded the Syrian community and also by NGOs such as Caritas Brazil.
The Syrian merchant Amer Masarani has over 20 SIM cards, because the phone companies do not allow undocumented people buy a sim card he does this in his name. This allows Syrian refugees still have a phone. The same applies to an account at a bank. Many Syrian refugees have received through money transfers money from the Middle East in order to survive.
Follow Sarah is the situation of some refugees, however, enormously problematic because they have to live on the streets. Her goal for the coming months is to organize these groups and to make them work together in order to survive. So it is a matter of having the right contacts to possess in Brazil and the correct information to be helped. Yet Sarah confirms my suspicion that organizations like Caritas in Brazil play a dual role. Sarah says it's a very corrupt organization as she knows from her experience in Lebanon and in Sao Paulo they came to the same clocking. Whether this is a personal conflict for Sarah or not is not clear that the problem of faith-based NGOs is not neutral in the Syrian conflict.
The testimony of Sarah, Syrian refugees in Sao Paulo
Sarah Ajlyakin was born in Damascus. Her mother comes from Hama, where she grew up as the daughter of one of the founders of the Baath Party, Faisal Al-Roukhbi. He is of the generation of the 40s to 60s, was left, nationalist and anti-capitalist, but broke with the Baath Party when it fell apart. Her other grandfather was born in Damascus and made as a Palestinian member of the PLO and moisture still in the war of '36 between Israel and Palestine. Sarah grew up in a highly politicized family. At family gatherings was to late at night discussing politics. At home they also had access to many books that were banned by the regime because they came from a Marxist family who belonged to the opposition, although this is difficult to speak in opposition to a dictatorship, because it is a word from the democratic lexicon. She was at school with the children of the avant-garde of the Syrian revolution. She went to college in Beirut and Damascus. She studied how old architecture was used for the propaganda of the regime at the UAB, where she earned her bachelor's degree.
A revolution in Syria, "we can not believe in our dreams angriest"
When the revolution began in Syria, they immediately returned to Damascus. She says that in Syria there discord reigns over when the Syrian revolution has truly begun. On March 15, 2011, a policeman who has beaten a citizen, when there are 15 people gathered in the streets. Moreover, there was once a small protest meeting for the Libyan embassy. These two protests the Syrian regime was already very much terror and became well-known activist May Scaff arrested for the first time. On March 18, there were the adolescents on a wall saying, "The people want to overthrow the regime." Overwritten. Before they were arrested and their nails were pulled out in the prison of Dera'a retaliation.
The first days of the revolution was Sarah is not yet active. However, they lived on the road between Damascus and Dera'a and saw dozens of tanks passing by. Trenches were dug by soldiers of the regime, but she says that everyone was silent and did not dare to hope that the revolution of Tunisia and Egypt now had come to Syria. In the coming months it became clear that the young adults of the lower and upper middle class had revolted. These young people shared roses and water to the soldiers of the Syrian regime. But their symbolic importance was too big for the regime and the latter quickly began torture and executions, as the symbol of the revolution Ghiyath Matar was killed and his body dumped at his parents.
At that time, Sarah was not yet active, she was still in the movement for Palestine, BDS, but in time they could not accept that they took no position regarding the regime. For BDS in Syria, there was nothing to worry about. According to Sarah, there was no room for opinions, while the revolution was right for free speech, she thought. They therefore chose this step out this movement and lost many friends. This did not go without a fight. She was blackened and got the name of "NATO-Bitch".
the tipping point
In April 2011, a month after the beginning of the revolution they became active. Its peak of revolutionary activity, she experienced during the first Ramadan revolution. She started in Damascus with silent actions. She and her new friends standing with several hundred in the center of Damascus and just stayed still and did nothing. Much to the chagrin of the security services. While the large protests took place in Douma, Ghouta and Yarmouk; the outskirts of Damascus, they dared argue it to go in the center of Damascus.
"The people must be organized"
Sarah then began to work with the local committees of the revolution. Local committees were established by Omar Aziz, who is friends with the family of Sarah. He developed a grass-roots rebellion against the regime and has been long before the revolution active, but always in the shade. There are perhaps only published two articles on him. He did not believe in armed struggle unorganized and without purpose. This is the network Leninist network where Sarah true.
They did to humanitarian work, she counted dead civilians and martyrs and did to media activism. According to Sarah, not all local committees as powerful. For example, in Dera'a because blood ties are very important, this is also why the revolution has started there. Because it was easy to pass information between families and so was easier to mobilize than for example in Damascus. It was ever thus the tribes that had been developed by the regime, now rebelled against the regime. The slogan was: "You can hurt my family one time, even twice, but after that it's enough!" Every time there was a killing, the funeral turned into a demonstration. Dera'a during the beginning of the revolution three months been under siege, few young adults survived the siege. Sarah does not say that the regime of barbarism can be accused, but very deliberately tried to curb the revolution: "We therefore can not speak of a barbaric regime, but of a very tactical thought regime in Syria."
During the first year of the revolution Sarah felt a genuine revolutionary euphoria by the Syrian army soldiers who turned their backs. Because the army was always an historic economic and sectarian power. During the first Ramadan of 2011, activists organized themselves into groups. They were by phone, Skype or Viber brought into contact with the organizers of revolutionary groups. In the beginning it was difficult to go to the group meetings, because they knew hardly anyone there, while they can not be trusted off childhood were off by even learned to their family in Syria. Sarah told that in this way many of her friends were arrested because these groups were often very easy infiltratable for the regime. The only thing that they could use against Facebook was by doing the regime believe they were provided with a vast international network that would be unpalatable as they would be arrested. It was the intention of Sarah to build castles in the air because they would be arrested otherwise. As already stated, the regime tactically very strong and since the revolution had the young adult generation of the low and high middle class no more fear of the regime.
The reaction of the Syrian regime
In the next phase of her activism when the regime became stricter security measures, there was a more lucrative business for smugglers. This started in satellite phones to act smartphones and cameras. In the beginning, it was Sarah who did this from a humanitarian point of view still easy to smuggle medication and food to the outskirts of Damascus, because she was a woman wearing a headscarf. Still, she was harassed and she had sometimes flirt with the soldiers or a slogan calling for the regime. Women who were not only on paper Sunni, experienced sexual violence, had to undress and were held up for hours. Over time it became impossible for Sarah to pass the checkpoints and then the checkpoints were closed and were Douma, Ghouta and Yarmuk completely. The images of suffering knows everybody in the meantime. During its smuggling activities in Damascus she was media activist. They collected photos, videos and articles and shared this with other activists in other cities. While on Aljazeera (Arabic news network) and its computer already gathered the necessary information. Yet most of the information was spread by word of mouth transfer, but this was not always reliable.
The regime closes her
In January 2012 she was arrested by the regime. What happened to her is very hard to tell and would very much make wounds open, so we elected not to go into here. It was a personal struggle that has hardened her character and her beliefs have made an unbreakable stone.
On March 8, she was free again, she left the same day to Hama to attend the funeral of her grandfather Faisal Al-Roukhbi. This day echoed a loud protest in Hama. A reminder that its always remembered her grandfather is that he was talking to farmers about politics. Syria connoisseurs this is a revolution in Syria worth. After the funeral, she went directly to Beirut. The days of the revolutionary euphoria were numbered.
With a broken soul to Beirut
Sarah continued her humanitarian work further in Beirut. Like so many others, she went regularly to Syria. Yet she kept there for 2 months. At that time there was no money for revolutionary activities. It was not sexy to give money Syrian activists. She and her fellow activists wanted to create a political Marxist movement. She went to get their inspiration from the protests in Vietnam. Because of the work Sarah worked her to death while her friends were depressed, some even committed suicide, she and other activists were the donkeys of the revolution. Her soul crumbled slowly because they move from one problem with Syrian refugees and activists walked to another. She sat at her computer shackled with her satellite phone and made a painstaking work against the clock to help her compatriots. One phone was an amputation, launch the other for a shelter for newly arrived refugees or campaigns to free activists. All the misery caused the depression and suicides. The revolutionary euphoria had turned into dejection and hopelessness, because this generation of young adults from the middle class felt guilty. They had never been able to make peace with the militarization of the revolution and gave themselves to blame for the many suffering in their country. Therefore they went into over-drive and the donkey of the revolution they were the victims of the avant-garde opposition who had to give up long battle, but now came into play. They put conditions on financial support from international networks of the young adult. That was banning inhuman conditions for the activists because according to Sarah because the citizen activists no longer as people were seen. After the political vacuum in which the activists were because the Avant-Garde had their revolution hijacked. Sarah finds that Zeitoneh Razan, Razan Ghazawi or brothers Matar at that time actually needed to do political representation.
Healing of their souls, the jihadists brought to power
According to Sarah were political activists for unity against the power of the avant-garde. Under the slogan - "Wahid Wahid al Sha3ab al-Wahid Soery" (one, one, the Syrian people is one) - started several groups to work with a different agenda against the regime. Sarah made her supporters the error to be friends with these other groups and therefore some extremist groups could heisen their flag. The hypocrisy of it she found that the civil activists also wanted this because they believed earlier in a military overthrow of the regime by the Islamists because they have much power and no reponse came from the West for their Vietnam protests. So tactical relations were so friendships and so arose the division between grass-roots militarization and geostrategic militarization led by the US This created a complete depoliticization of the revolution. Activists always speak of a time for the militarization and a time after the militarization of the Syrian revolution, this is where people like Omar Aziz to have gambled. This is however already deceased in a Syrian prison. Or the group of Al-Qaeda scouts who have already nusra and IS-founded.
Eroticism, Caiperinha and Marxism in Brazil
From Beirut, she moved to Cairo for several months, where she was working for the World Food Programme. There she met a Brazilian Marxist. Who took her to Brazil, she saw it as a step to start traveling in Brazil, nothing seemed less true, since they got married for the paper. Their relationship was extremely politicized because her husband immediately realized the importance of Sarah in the internationalization of his political party. They developed together a documentary that multiparty propaganda than a cry of solidarity with Syria. Thereby Sarah hit increasingly estranged from her husband.
In early November she left than 3 years after the Marxist party of the 5th International in Brazil because she felt used up for the outlining of the Marxist parties in Brazil. At the moment she is divorced and she is looking for a permanent residence status in Brazil by an application for asylum. During the last weeks of her family visiting, residing in Jordan. Her mother could not come to win because of the long waiting lists at the Brazilian embassy for a visa. Her dream is now a cultural center to be set up for Syrian refugees who have escaped Al-Assad's regime in Syria. So all the Club Homs is not.
Willemjan Vanden Plas is a photojournalist for NGOs and his work can be followed by: