How to say No in Syrian

Abdallah Ali takes a stab at explaining the intricate relationship between Syrians and their censors.
It pains me to say that the title is not mine. All I can do is to envy the girl from Golan Heights, and her blog "Dad," for coming up with the words, How To Say No In Syrian?

A university student from the heart of Damascus, she had the audacity to say "No" yet she had enough awareness to adjust this No to the Syrian reality.

She is a girl who holds in her heart a great passion for Syria which makes it impossible for her to be a mere transient in her own country. For how could a lover accept to be a mere transient in the life of his or her loved one? 

'Dad,' as many blogs, has since been banned by the Syrian censorship, which gave itself the role of standing in between between the lover and  the object of his or her love.

We could find priceless treasures of science, literature, knowledge, emotions and patriotic feelings on the pages of these Syrian blogs, but they remain hidden behind the curtain of ignorance and lack of confidence. 

It is as if the censor decided to bury a part of ourselves, our history, in the darkness of a hole he made with his imagination, his weakness and his naivety.

To reach these hidden treasures or bring them back to life, we should first learn how to saw No in Syrian.

Hassan M. Yussof, a renowned journalist, once compared the relationship between the creator and the censor to that of water and any obstacles that come in its way. The creator, according to Yussof, should be like the water and change its path whenever it hits an obstacle.

What Yussof is saying is that the creator, when faced with the obstacle of censorship, should use tricks to get around it.Don't clash with the censor because you will never be able to break his will – better to avoid him, and change your path until you find another way forward.

For example, when the censor wanted to stop us from reading the content of the blogs, we created proxies to get around the censorship. Then the censor started to ban the proxies so as to make sure that darkness prevailed and the light was killed.

But we still find ways to read to get to those websites regardless.

The censor knows this, and he doesn't seem to have a problem with it as long as we use detours to get to the information we need.

His problem then lies not with our capacity to read these websites; he just doesn't want us to be able to access them directly.


The censor resembles a checkpoint on a road no longer used that the officials forgot to remove.

All around the checkpoint, people come and go via a multitude of back roads and detours in clear view of the officials at the checkpoint.

The checkpoint is utterly useless in stopping people from reaching their destinations.

But it is there nevertheless so anyone trying to pass it will be stopped.

So anyone using the main road merely has to make a U-turn before he reaches the checkpoint and find a different way to continue his journey.

This is how you say No in Syrian.

Abdullah Ali is a journalist and a lawyer in Syria.