Eulogy to Halla Barakat

Orient Net - Ahmad al-Shehabi | 2017-09-25 12:55 Damascuss

Halla Barakat
“A man,” wrote an Irish poet, “is original when he speaks the truth that has always been known to all good men.”  Halla Barakat was original. She was a good girl. A Syrian, who loved deeply, and was loved by Syrians in return.

To Barakat family who graciously shared Syrians a country that they loved; to Orient Media Group’s owner, Ghassan Aboud, who has always endeavored to deliver the sound of Syrians’ agonies to the whole world; to Syrians who are still detained in Assad regime’s concentration camps; to hundreds of thousands of lives killed by Assad terrorists only because they claimed their freedom, to those who still holding the Syrian revolution’s torch; to those tender bodies gassed to death by Assad regime in Eastern Ghouta and Khan Sheikhoun and to those women killed under the ceilings of their houses; I am honored to memorialize Halla Barakat and her mother who have chronicled our blessed Syrian revolution.

Without humanity, life could be cold and it could also be cruel. Sometimes cruelty is deliberate -- the action of dictators and mass killers, or the inaction of those indifferent to humans’ pain. 

On 21 of September 2017, we said goodbye to Halla Barakat, the youngest Syrian Orient News’s journalist, whom Syrians would long remember.

While I was writing to grieve Halla and her mother, many questions -- all or most of them were challenging -- came into my mind. The questions were mainly about Syrians’ suffering; about the massacres committed in Darayya, about the displacement of residents from their Old Homs neighboughood and about Russian bunker buster bombs in Aleppo. Whom shall we remember, the perpetrators or the bystanders? Most victims were Sunni Syrians. All of them whether young or old, rich or poor, teachers or students, from cities or from small villages all were targeted by Assad terrorists and their sectarian allies. My God! The children and the old! Why? Was Assad regime afraid of the future of children or of the past of the old?

I am grieving Halla and her mother and recalling the Syrians’ tragedy. It is still being done. But we do not know why? One thing we could know; the tragedy of the 21 century in Syria could have been averted. It could have been prevented, only if the civilized world had spoken up and taken measures in 2011 against Assad regime. Syrians were waiting to see what would be done in Washington, London, Paris and Rome, but there was no reaction. Had the world learnt from the Holocaust, the Assad regime would not have been still in power.

At these heartbreaking events of murder, I remember a verse from one of my Christian colleagues in Aleppo University. He read to me once: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”  

When you hear about the ugly crime of murdering Halla and her mother, fear will obsess you. Fear is a primal emotion -- fear -- one that we all experience. But if we let it consume us, the consequences of that fear can be worse than any outward threat.

Syrians assure Halla and her mother that they are not afraid, because Syrians are good believers in God. Faith is the great cure for fear.  God gives believers power, love and sound mind required to conquer any fear.  

Halla has gone to God now, guided by faith and by the light of those she has loved and lost. At last she is with them once more, leaving those of us who grieve her passing with the memories she gave, the good she did, the dream she kept alive and a single, enduring image - the image of a girl on a boat; smiling broadly as she sails into the wind, ready for what storms may come, carrying on toward some new and wondrous place just beyond the horizon. May God bless Halla Barakat and her mother, and may they rest in eternal peace.