Syrian Artist Diala Brisly, Painting for the Future of Syria’s Children

Syrian artist Diala Brisly have been working from Beirut, Lebanon, painting mainly for and with Syria’s children, inside and outside of Syria, to provide them some hope for the future.

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All images copyright Diala Brisly

Diala’s Facebook page: Diala Brisly

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How to Fuck up Your Kids Using Religion as a Tool

Do you have a hatred inside you that you wish to transfer to your children? Do you channel the hatred by religion? Is hate more important to you than children feeling safe and loved? This piece is for You.

Dear Hater,

This is how You should roll it.

Speak directly the kids that You want to transfer the hate to – Your kids, Your grandkids, other kids that You are taking care of or have an influence over, kids that are dependant on You and Your care in order to feel safe and secure, and therefore have no other or little other reference they can relate to, no other safety net, no other strong role models that they can rely on instead, when You start your hateful indoctrination.

Tell the kids that there is A Certain Religion that is bad, simply bad with no specific reason. Tell the kids that whoever belongs to That Religion is dirty, unclean, unfaithful, greedy, cheap. Any negative adjective You can use – use it for That Certain Religion.

Use a stereotype for anyone coming from That Certain Religion. Tell the children about the certain features of that religion. These people have certain hair colours, noses, facial features. That’s how you can tell they belong to That Religion.

The people from That Religion is all bad. Everything they do, they’re bad. You can never be friends with them. You can never go to school with them. You can never be neighbours with them. You can never work with them. This, the children needs to know. Before they start school, they need to know. They can never accept other people as individuals. Everything should be filtered in the dirty filter that You use for life.

Does anyone in the children’s extended family belong  to That Religion? Did they, God forbid, marry an outcast who belongs to That Religion? Did someone make the unforgivable crime of converting? Tell the children that all these people that have committed that unforgivable sin will be punished for what they did. Family or not, religion cuts through everything. They don’t celebrate the same religious occasions as You and the children do, and therefore, they are bad. They will never be able to enter certain religious places because of their religion. Even when life is over, when they’re dead, they won’t find peace. They will burn in hell. Hell, to children, is scary. Use that fear as an incitement. Fear filters everything. Fear is a useful filter against love. Fear is a useful filter against happiness.

You hope that You succeed. Succeeding in passing on the hate is,  first and foremost, the ultimate goal for the children that You care for.

But wait! Somehow, with one child or more, You were not successful. The children grow up, slowly but steadily along a rocky path, and where fear had it’s way, hate somehow didn’t make it. They could not buy the concept of hate, but they could not resist the concept of fear. Confusion and anxiety took the place where You hoped hatred would be.

You did not succeed. The children are not haters the way You hoped. But they are not secure, happy, grown up persons. Any hateful comments, they flinch and dodge. Any hateful comment, they might attack. Any hateful comment, it hurts them as if a bullet went straight to their heart.

You have made everything poisoned. Any religious holiday, any family gathering, it’s all attached to the fear and confusion, to the hatred You hoped would be planted in their heart.

You have succeeded, but You have not succeeded. You have created a damaged, fearful person where You hoped hatred would have been a part of the child, now the grown up person’s, spine. The hate have stopped, but the pain hasn’t. The pain probably never will. You have succeeded, but You have not succeeded. Where You wanted a strong hate to take place, something else took it’s place.

In the worst case for You, the grown up child recent everything that You were standing for. The grown up child might recent You and Your ways, even long after You have left this life. But the grown up child is still not happy. Still not secure. They are just fucked up. But they won’t carry on Your hate. This means, You have really not succeeded at all.

Regards,

Someone who’s not carrying on with Your hate

The Syrian Children Sleeping in the Park

In the park outside our house in Damascus, Syria, new families regularly come to sleep for a couple nights before being escorted away. The few belongings they keep themselves with; blankets, clothes and plastic cups, are being hauled away at the same time. Where do they go? To the temporary camps in schools or mosques? Will they be one of the families living in unfinished buildings, without electricity or water, with no protection from strangers?

One afternoon when I was meeting up with a friend, a teenage girl saw us walking on the street. She came up, asking for money.

”No, habibti.”

After a couple of weeks here I have improved my skills in saying no. And if I gave to someone living close to me, I might be harassed every day.

“Ahmed!” the girl called out and a little boy, maybe 5 years old, ran between us. He didn’t look like the kids I usually saw sleeping in the parks, he was different: even though being barefoot he easily crossed the pebbly street, and no adults were to be seen around. When being approached by kids in other cities, I sometimes ask: “Why are you on the street like this? Why are you not with your mom?” That usually makes them back off, feeling a bit ashamed of their parents sending them out to beg. But I had a feeling that wouldn’t take effect here.

“Please khala, we’re hungry.”

No.

The girl was dressed like an adult even though she recently must have entered her teens. Her long dress was ripped, her black scarf hung loosely around her head, displaying her hair, as if she didn’t care anymore.

“They have been in our house too, banging the doors, screaming for money,” my friend told me.

The little boy pulled my blouse, aggressively: “Please!”

I freed myself from his grip and turned around. We tried to speed up the pace to get away. After a few steps, stones and other small things started falling down on us.

Khallas!” (Stop it!) I yelled to the one closest to me, it was the girl that had ran up behind us.

“No, I won’t stop!”

More stones came swirling through the air, the boy had catched up with my friend and suddenly struck her in the back.

Hey!” she turned around and raised her hand, appearing a bit stronger than I had.

First then the kids slowed down, but they didn’t stop. It wasn’t until then that I realized they were not afraid of being hit. The girl already had traces of a black eye and scratches in her face. After a while the children seemed to lose the energy to harass us. They stopped, only throwing some small sticks at us as we left the park.

Later that day I saw them again, this time accompanied by two other children. The little group followed people on the street, pulled their clothes, pulled an old woman’s long robe. They received nothing from no one. In a state of conflict, no one is willing to give up whatever little they could spare. One of the boys was now being dragged along the sideway by an older girl, she half carried him. He was beyond tired; exhausted. Another boy, maybe 11 or 12, carried a long stick, violently swinging it back and forth. One man yelled at them, others got scared by the boy and his stick, and crossed the street.

I caught myself thinking, as if I wanted to tell them: “We can’t blame you, you’re just ordinary children. It’s not your fault that you had to become like this.”