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No Fairy-Tale Wedding In War-Torn Syria

A young couple celebrate their wedding
A young couple celebrate their wedding

HAMA — Most young women in Syria probably grew up dreaming of someday having a beautiful, magical wedding. But in wartime, many women, assuming they are able to wed at all, are settling for ceremonies that are a far cry from what they imagined.

“My biggest fear was that we would book a restaurant and no one would show up,” says Sarah, a newlywed from Hama.

She had planned to get married at the end of the summer. But plans are hard to make in Syria these days. Roads are so dangerous that chances are slim a mailed invitation will actually arrive at its destination.

“I was really scared that something might happen and we would have to cancel the wedding. I kept praying that my wedding day wouldn’t turn out to be a jinx or become a bad memory,” she says.

Sarah’s sister was married three years ago, before the conflict erupted.

“My sister’s wedding was a magical night celebration. All my relatives from different cities traveled to Hama to attend. But for my wedding, none of the relatives outside Hama could make the dangerous and time-consuming journey,” Sarah says.

For her own ceremony, she and her fiancé chose a small restaurant in Hama, close to both her home and those of most of her relatives. It was scheduled for the early afternoon because Sarah and her groom didn’t want anyone to cancel “because of the distance or lateness.”

The young couple was also obliged to lower their expectations for entertainment. There is no money for extravagance, given the country’s stalled economy.

“Since the war began, the prices of everything increased — from booking a restaurant to hiring a band and anything between — so my options became limited,” she says.

A lucky girl

“We wanted a five-tiered cake but settled on a two-leveled one, a band was scrapped for a mix CD, and a big fancy restaurant became a small one. It was a summer wedding and the weather was hot, but thank God there was electricity at first and I was able to have my first dance. I was so happy about that. It felt like God had answered my prayers, and I was able to get more than what I imagined. The heat didn’t stop anyone from dancing.

“Of course it was not the magical night I had dreamt of when I was a little girl, or like any other wedding I went to before. Later, there were electricity cuts and the generator couldn’t handle the air conditioning, so I was sweaty, but that never made me stop smiling. I consider myself a lucky girl to be able to have a wedding party while others marry in silence or just sign papers without any kind of celebration.”

After Sarah and her new husband cut the cake, she felt relief that nothing had gone wrong.

But she was also aware of what waited for her after the party was over. “I couldn’t ignore the fact that outside this door was the start of my new life … as well as a war that doesn’t look like it will end,” she says.

“I am happy and grateful that I am going to start my own family, but I am also scared that I don’t know what the future will hold for us, and how to start a family in war time. The idea of raising my children in this brutal war and environment of hate kills me, but Syria is my home, the place where I grew up, and where my parents live.

“I really hope I get the chance to relive the Syria I knew before the war — or even a better Syria.”

*Adam is the pseudonym for a Hama-based Syrian contributor.

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The Trudeau-Modi Row Reveals Growing Right-Wing Bent Of India's Diaspora

Western governments will not be oblivious to the growing right-wing activism among the diaspora and the efforts of the BJP and Narendra Modi's government to harness that energy for political support and stave off criticism of India.

The Trudeau-Modi Row Reveals Growing Right-Wing Bent Of India's Diaspora

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the G20 Summit in New Delhi on Sept. 9

Sushil Aaron


NEW DELHICanadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has brought Narendra Modi’s exuberant post-G20 atmospherics to a halt by alleging in parliament that agents of the Indian government were involved in the murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Canadian national, in June this year.

“Any involvement of a foreign government in the killing of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil is an unacceptable violation of our sovereignty,” Trudeau said. The Canadian foreign ministry subsequently expelled an Indian diplomat, who was identified as the head of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), India’s foreign intelligence agency, in Canada. [On Thursday, India retaliated through its visa processing center in Canada, which suspended services until further notice over “operational reasons.”]

Trudeau’s announcement was immediately picked up by the international media and generated quite a ripple across social media. This is big because the Canadians have accused the Indian government – not any private vigilante group or organisation – of murder in a foreign land.

Trudeau and Canadian state services seem to have taken this as seriously as the UK did when the Russian émigré Alexander Litvinenko was killed, allegedly on orders of the Kremlin. It is extraordinarily rare for a Western democracy to expel a diplomat from another democracy on these grounds.

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