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Bara Sarraj

Hama: Post-Massacre

[A sign in Hama reads

We went back to Hama after our first post-massacre visit. Three weeks later, the magnitude of destruction had become more apparent.  The Kilani district had been flattened, and a brick wall was being built around it. Hafez al-Assad banned survivors from the historic site from returning to their homes. Rumors spread that a hotel would be erected over the site. (It was completed years later.) My father’s and grandmother’s graves in their once sacred cemeteries were to ...

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Seven Hours in Hama

[The Four Wheels, the symbol of Hama. Image from Bara Sarraj.]

“That is it! We cannot wait anymore. We are going to Hama, this morning.” My mother stood facing both of us, my twin and I, helpless and without words. It was Tuesday 16 March, two weeks after Hafez al-Assad reopened the sealed city of Hama after he massacred around forty thousand people in February 1982. My mother had vetoed our decision to travel there several times before, and we had yielded to her wishes, but not today. Hama was our childhood city that we used to visit ...

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Bara Sarraj

Bara Sarraj was a 12-year prisoner of [no] opinion in the detention camps of Tadmor & Saidnaya, Syria. He has a Ph.D. in immunology, RUMC, with Postdoctoral work at Harvard and Northwestern.