Bomb in Bab Touma Square Damascus 21st Oct 2012
From my Damascus Diary:
I have no idea now why I was in a good mood; my diary doesn’t mention the small details which is stupid now I think about it, I’m hardly likely to forget the car bomb exploding but that’s pretty much all I made a note of looking back to October 2012, it must have been a quiet night with less shelling or maybe the warm autumn weather that makes Damascus so lovely that time of year, either way I felt chipper as I hopped across my courtyard and into the bathroom to shower, there’s something comforting and safe about a bathroom we tend to think for no logical reason, then came the bang, hollow and very loud, the house shook, plaster fell from my ceiling and stuck to my wet naked body, despite the regularity of the explosions they send my heart rate soaring, I grab a towel and hurriedly dress, from my courtyard I can hear the activity of the neighbors all trying to discover what had happened, from my roof I could see the black smoke coming from Bab Touma Square, I stare for a moment at the plume of smoke rising above the satellite dishes, the war is closer still, it’s all around , already I knew it was probably a car bomb, how did I become such an expert on these matters, I climb back down the stairs and can hear the neighbors running to get their children from the school, I hear the panic in their voices as they try to react and deal with the situation, the primary school is just around the corner but there is a secondary school very much where the smoke was rising from, a women is cursing but at what or who I have no idea, I feel like doing the same except I just sit calmly and stare at a blank TV screen, I have no idea what I was thinking now, I do remember the feeling; one of despair, it’s a feeling I am having more often these days, I can still hear the sound of the children crying as they were dragged home from school.
Heading out into the street I hesitate and consider turning left to Bab Touma but decide against it and turn right and walk towards Al Hamadiyya stopping to talk with people I know, everyone saying the same thing; the government being behind the bomb, spreading fear, spreading terror, I don’t stop and leave the Old City for Shaalan.
Pages café my regular haunt these days is busy as ever, I sit facing the window and consider the wisdom of such a setting, looking at the cars stopping at the traffic lights outside I consider the possibility of another bomb and sitting with my face six inches from the window hardly seems wise, I look around the café, smoke filled, Lattes and Cappuccinos, laptops and mobiles, young faces, some buried in books cramming for exams, life somehow has to go on, my phone starts ringing with questions from the media about the bomb, Christian Quarter, Christian Quarter they keep repeating, as if the only people passing through one of busiest squares in Damascus were only Christians, the target according to the media was the local police station although that seemed somewhat idiotic, it is just a local police station not a security building, the same building houses the water supplier and the electricity office, I go there to pay the bills, the death toll starts to come through and the total eventually comes to a dozen, it’s a day or so later before I pass by as see the damage; the widows of Domino Café blown out, how often I sit there too, the small kiosk beside the car park is mangled, scorched black marks on the road, soon the army set up road blocks and turn the area into a military zone, slowly getting more organized, more check points, more soldiers, opposition forces are not far just the next neighborhood.
I update my Facebook status: Take Your Bombs and Fuck Off.