On the 23rd December 2012, aircraft of the Syrian regime bombed a bakery in Halfaya, Hama, outside of which civilians had queued to buy some bread. 94 civilians were killed. It was not the first time a bakery was bombed- several before had been shelled in Aleppo and across the country, resulting in atrocious massacres (See report by HRW here). The day after Halfaya, another bakery in Homs was shelled, and the day after that a bakery in Deir Ezzor. In a country in which many are starving and going without bread for days, going to the bakery has become a difficult decision: to stay at home and starve, or to go to the bakery… and meet death?
Of bread and blood
He went because he saw the wildness in my eyes
They moved slowly. With pain, with longing- at times dreaming…
Then desperation crazed them, pain beat them violently: and they searched the shelves and combed the walls until despair slowed them down. And they finally, painfully stopped. Resting on a corner of the ceiling.
But yet, they contained a wildness.
A spirit fighting within them.
Look at that child, he said.
And he walked out, searching the streets, asking frantically,
Where to find bread?
Where to find bread in this land of blood?
Where to find life in this land of the dead?
Where can a father hide his shame as his babes wrestle with hunger?
His eyes wild with grief
(Mine wild with pain)
Until he was told- yes! – The bakery will open. It will open! The bread has arrived.
Oh if only you saw the wildness of his eyes sparked by the flame of hope,
By love, which drove him. He ran-
Bread for my babies, bread for my babies! –
He ran and joined the queue, waiting for bread.
He went because he saw the wilderness in my eyes
He smiled at the bread as it was passed into his hands
What a beautiful smell to defeat hunger, he thought. What a beautiful smell to defeat that wildness in her eyes.
With that smile and thought, the bread was flung from his hands. The queue violently thrown backwards: counters scattered by dice.
Where to find the body- amongst the rubble and dead? And where to find the bread, but soaked in his blood? In this land of blood, bread is found in blood.
And the wildness, in the eyes of children, remains untouched.