When I told my friends in Vancouver that I was going back to Aleppo they were astonished.
Why would you go back, they said. Is there another place that you can go to that is less dangerous than Aleppo, they asked.
Four years ago Aleppo was deemed the most dangerous city on the planet.
I understood their worries but said I simply had to go. It is where my heart is. Vancouver was a difficult place to create a community. I didn’t feel a sense of belonging there. I felt guilty for enjoying the lush green landscape and sipping fine espresso drinks while my parents endured heavy artillery.
What was spared or destroyed? I was scared to go back home. Home, the warmest place I can imagine was the most dangerous.
After spending few weeks in Aleppo I descended down from fear to relative safety.
A war never ends, everyday I’m reminded of the horror of the war, I can’t imagine what the people who stayed, endured. I felt guilty for abandoning my home during the war.
Equally surprised were my friends and family in Aleppo to see me back. What brought you here? one friend asked. I stabbed my heart with my index finger.
My love for Aleppo is what brought me here.
Mohamad Kebbewar was born and raised in Aleppo. Immigrating to Canada at age 19, Kebbewar earned a degree in history from Concordia University before becoming a graphic designer. He recently published a chapbook with JackPine Press entitled The Soap of Aleppo. He is putting the final touches on his novel The Bones of Aleppo. His chapbook is available for purchase at jackpinepress.com.
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