Homs Without Homes


This is not an image of some post-modern recreation. Not unless the many armed factions – some state sponsored while other rebelling independently – would want to classify their work of violence as one. While post-modern critics may try to justify the use of minimalistic brush strokes or stare with a squint eye at the wild splatter of colours, the rampage on the streets of Syria cannot be justified but be shunned as one of the most disappointing things humankind has had to put up with.

This is the image of Homs, and also is not the image of Homs. It does not matter in what angles the picture may have been taken in, what elements may have taken priority and what may have caught the photographer’s attention more – it all looks the same.The level of destruction endured by this city in the war has devoid it of any semblance of the usual  past when a functioning city sat in its place. In a way, this is but it is also not the city of Homs.

Razed to the ground and caught in rapid crossfires between the army and the rebels, Homs seems to rest peacefully in its final rites. The rubble remains complacently non-suggestive of the many colours that once constituted in the households. Scattered in the dark shades of grey and occasionally giving a peek into the creamy walls, the debris is the only piece of real estate that remains on the ground. Clearly, the men fought without a blueprint.

A desolated optimist could still argue that since the multi-storied buildings have fallen to their knees, the sun now shines brighter on the vast canvass of this ruthless painting. The real darkness is visible in the lives of those who still enter this city to search for their belongings. I say that they can return with a smile if they have at the least been able to identify where their houses once stood.

The shattered glass is like an invitation to break the barriers between neighbourhoods, just that there is nobody to welcome a guest. The dangling wires are the sole warriors in charge of reminding the people of a past marked with infrastructure and power, but their swords are blunted by the more progressive powers of bullets and shrapnel.

Decimation of this kind increases the threshold of pain.

If so much can be wiped off that I’m left with nothing to see, then perhaps I can be severed from this world too. For the root of houses may have been of concrete, but my hope is strung by a loose thread. 


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