Imagine this: You’re taking an exam & looking at the clock w 15 mins left. All of the sudden you hear explosions. The end. #AleppoUniversity
It happened on January 15, 2013. It was the first day of exams when war in Syria struck the heart of Aleppo University as two blasts killed over 80 people and injured over 160 on campus. In reaction to this latest tragic episode of Syria settling in violence, blogger Nour al-Ali beautifully expressed her “Incapacity to Mourn” as a “Helpless Syrian”, explaining:
I don’t know what I’m trying to say here; I am yet to think of a proper thesis for this post, but I am unable mourn properly anymore. Yes, that is what I want to say. I do not know how to absorb death anymore, metaphorically, literally, philosophically, and what have you of -ly. I cannot accept seeing such grotesque scenery coming out of Syria with both hands crossed and tears falling down. Actually, I can no longer cry either. I am not one to translate emotions into tears, though I wish I did. There comes a point where being so far away begins to take a toll on you, and you no longer function in proper terms. I am not sure if this is familiar to anyone, but to me, for the time being, I am dying a thousand times every day just reading the news. I think to myself, what I am doing here, and why am I not there. Then comes a dissonant silence that deafens my ears. I have no answer.
The hashtags #AlepoUniversity and #AleppoUniMassacre were populated with messages of mourning and anger. Playing on the homonyms “University degree” and “Martyrdom” in Arabic @arwamenla remarks on Twitter:
Only in #Syria can you obtain your شهادة while writing your finals…& I'm not talking شهادة as in university degree. #AleppoUniMassacre
Apparently Bashar AlAssad is threatened by students taking final exams, so he bombs them.
And Tarik Aldiery tweeted:
Kill the university students because they have brains & might contribute something positive to the country.
Nora Basha @Nora0315 wrote:
“It is evident that the massacre at the university was part of systematic plan to inflict as many casualties as possible.” #AleppoUniversity
And Mouna Hashem @mannoush said:
Assad bombs student at #AleppoUniversity on their 1st.day of tests,then forces whomever stayed alive to chant & praise him! #HangASSad2013
Micheline Hazou (@mich1mich) noted:
What words can express the fact that #Assad bombs the next generation of a nation??? #AleppoUniversity #Syria #Assadcrimes
Perhaps it is because students represent the future of a nation that the event resonated so painfully around the world. Emergency vigils were announced on Facebook by Universities all over the USA and Canada.
The University is a sacred place, it is a place that we go to learn and grow into men and women who will one day contribute to society. It is where the future of our country is built from. It is supposed to be the safest place in the world.
This is not the case in Syria. On January 15, the University of Aleppo was bombed by Assad forces as they were taking their first round of final exams. The total number of wounded and killed are being counted under the rubble and destruction.
We stand in solidarity with the students of Aleppo University and we stand in their honor and memory throughout the US.