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Even Syrian Activists Fall In Love On Facebook

NPR icon by Susannah George
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Syrian activists tend to spend long nights on Skype and Facebook, sending and receiving updates on the battle to oust the government.

And online is also where they sometimes fall in love.

Mohsen, an activist from Hama, says he first met Sara, his girlfriend of nearly two years, on Facebook.

She sent him a friend request because she saw he worked in the field of journalism, and for months they chatted casually about the Syrian uprising. Then, after government troops stormed Hama, Moshen fled to Damascus, where he and Sara finally met face to face.

"The revolution is what brought us together. ... It was the thing that pushed us toward each other," he says. "Without the revolution we were never going to meet in person."

When he first saw Sara, his clothing was dirty and stained with blood.

"I had been working in a hospital [in Hama] moving the injured and martyrs," he says.

This first meeting lasted only three hours. Sara had to return home to the coastal city of Lattakia, where she was living at the time. She called Mohsen that night to tell him she loved him.

A Marriage In Aleppo

Then there's the story of Yousef and Ghada. They also met on Facebook, and as this AFP story notes, they were recently hitched in the northern city of Aleppo by a jihadist rebel commander. Ghada says they met through a page for Syrian activists.

"Yusef and I started chatting because my Facebook profile picture was an image of a little cat," she says. "He likes cats."

Meanwhile, Mohsen and Sara are still a couple, though they are farther apart than ever. Mohsen moved to Egypt after he was forced to leave Syria for reasons he declined to specify. Sara got a job in Kurdistan, in northern Iraq.

They still communicate through Facebook and Skype — though now, with the Syrian uprising nearly two years in, and with tens of thousands dead, their conversations are different.

"Now there's a tone of fear," Mohsen says. "Fear of the future."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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