INTERVIEWS: WAJED

BTOT_036

From Dera'a.  

I was living in Latakia where I was a student at Tishreen University, a school of mainly Alawites. For the first 6 months of the uprising we were all convinced by the regime’s story that everything was being caused by gangsters and terrorists coming in from outside of Syria. I would call my family back in Dara’a, but they were scared of telling me the truth and would just repeat the regime’s story and so I believed it. 

After that there was the holiday in between semesters, so I went home to Dara’a. I was so surprised with the reality of what was going on there. I didn’t know that people, my people, were revolting and demonstrating. Then the town was besieged by the regime and it took me 20 days to escape and return to university. 

When I finally arrived I started telling the truth to everyone and posting what I had seen on Facebook. Because of that, all my friends rejected me. I would walk alone in the university and nobody would talk to me. 

Then I showed up for an exam and there was a note on the board that said, ““Wajed, go to the administration office as soon as possible.” When I arrived there was a man from the secret police there. He asked me to come in the next morning. Since he had asked me so nicely I figured that it would be fine and they would ask me a couple questions and they would let me leave. 

When I arrived they took my phone and wallet and blind folded me. I was led into an office and there a man started questioning me about what I had posted on Facebook. He started to read my posts to me and said that they were against Assad. But I was just describing demonstrations that I saw and I was quoting from the songs they were singing there, I wasn’t saying anything against Assad. That made him laugh and so I laughed too. 

“I’m not making you laugh, you bastard!” he said. “Go and kneel on the ground.” 

Then they brought in the flying carpet. It is a wooden board with straps and a joint. They tie you to it and then bend you until you can’t breath. Then they took off my shoes and socks and beat my feat with a metal rod until they were both broken.  

At first I made no noise, but finally I screamed. 

“Stop screaming like a bitch!” he yelled at me. 

“You are the bitch,” I told him. “You are not a man. If you were a man, you would have beat me while I was standing, not while strapped to a board.” 

Then they beat me for three more hours and then kept me in prison for 11 days. When I was released I had lost almost 30 pounds. I went home to Dara’a and two weeks later the secret police called saying they had more questions. I fled to Jordan the next day.