How I Feel About Trump Bombing My Home Of Syria

I don’t know how to feel.
Damascus was a thriving city of five million people. Photo by Karim Shamsi-Basha
Damascus was a thriving city of five million people. Photo by Karim Shamsi-Basha


The definition of the word ‘Neutral’: “Not helping or supporting either side in a conflict or disagreement.”

Some people are commending Trump on the missile attack on Syria last week, some are condemning it, and some are in between. I rarely find myself neutral on anything Trump does. I can truly say one hundred percent of anything Trump does is wrong all the time, since time began, and for the rest of time.

However . . .

The Situation

Trump bombed my country of birth last week.

Yes, my mother and sister live in Damascus less than two hours away. Yes, the dictator president used chemical weapons in Khan Sheikhoun, yes, Russia supported him and tried to destroy the evidence by bombing the hospital treating the people affected. And yes, Bashar Al-Assad killed 80 people including children and injured many more.

Yes, he has done it in the past, and yes, he will do it again.

The Syrian civil war has been boiling for six years since the Arab Spring began in 2011, when a young boy spray-painted some anti-government graffiti on his school wall in the Southern city of Dara’a. Nearly half a million people are dead and there are over six millions refugees, and millions more without homes and without dreams of a descent life.

Oh yeah, one more thing: Trump wants to ban refugees from Syria, at the same time he’s bombing it.

Boy Scouts

I used to go camping with the boy scouts near the area where the chemical attacks took place. The Idleb province is stunning with history of ancient kingdoms dating back to the bronze age. We loved the mountains of Idleb and Kassab and the beautiful North West of Syria.

I remember on one campout, I stood guard at night freezing and counting the minutes till the end of my shift, where the warm sleeping bag awaited. We had to guard the tents at night from wild animals and wild people.

This was during my Eagle Scout training. We camped for a week with no food, just water. We ate leaves and grass and hunted a couple of creatures, Ahmmm, fat rats, but all in al the trip was fascinating. I learned a piece of Syrian history like the tablets with Samaritan writings dating back to 2500 BC.

Mom and Sister

Yesterday I spoke with my mother, Laila, and sister, Mimi, both living in Damascus, and asked them how they felt about the American bombing of the Shayrat airbase. Word for word, this is what my sister said:

“I don’t know Karim, someone needs to do something, but I just don’t know how to feel.”

Someone needs to do something.

I don’t know how to feel.

My sentiments exactly. I have watched the world observe the carnage in my country for six years.

Am I glad someone is acting to hopefully end the civil war?

The answer is an emphatic yes.

Am I worried this is a one-time act that will mean very little in the long run, and only serve as a provocation for Assad and the Russians to do more killing?

The answer is a sad yes.

Many have asked how I felt about the US intervention. I am a writer, but I am out of words.

Nothing can describe my feelings. I want this dictator and his supporting team of bloodthirsty mongrels stopped. I want things in Syria to go back to the way they were when we camped in Idleb and hunted for berries and fat rats.

I want my mom and sister to be safe.

At the same time, I don’t want WWIII to begin in my backyard.

World Peace

Which brings me to this: Why can’t the world sit Bashar Al-Assad at the table and tell him to stop, “You are outta ‘here.’ And then throw him in jail and appoint a moderate to clean the country from the idiots trying to claim power, like ISIS and other factions.

It’s a difficult question to answer.

Don’t we have a United Nations? Aren’t there rules of how presidents should govern? Shouldn’t the entire world intervene?

It’s not that simple, one might say. I will grant the situation in Syria is complicated. But why shouldn’t it be this simple?

Yeah yeah, I reside somewhere up in the clouds, nearly at 30,000 feet - where there is no war and no bloodshed. There are no sad tears, only beautiful but very cold atmosphere void of conflicts / full of peace. Up where I live, the night sky is vivid with calm and eerie sounds of silence. There is no noise of bombs and babies crying as they rip their skin affected by the chemical weapons off their little bodies.

There is only serenity.

Perhaps this should be in the manual for World Leader training: To spend a few days up here and realize what this life is all about. To learn the nuances of love and hope and joy and big smiles and tight hugs. To know about a world without conflict, and a world full of goals and cooperation and accomplishments and getting along. A world of Coexistence.

Why would anyone drop chemical weapons on civilians?

At 30,000, that would be a glimmer of a sad past where humans fought each other over territory and power, where humans killed each other over lines in the sand, and where they murdered civilians just because they could.

The present knows none of these gruesome acts.

I will go the grave preaching these values and morals. Maybe one day a world leader might read this and realize something has to be done.


My definition of the word ‘Coexist’: To live on this tiny ball hurtling through space for only one purpose – Love.

OK, back to Neutral.

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