Nine years of war couldn’t break us. We still live, breathe and survive day by day. I’m not a soldier, mind you, nor a hero. I didn’t fight in battles, I didn’t lose like others have lost. I’m a normal individual who’s unfortunate enough to be living under war, but also lucky enough not to be driven out of home nor get killed by a stray bullet.
I know lots of you think of war as game, or a battlefield for glory. It’s not.
It doesn’t matter who you are, you’re only worth a bullet.
My name is Julian, I’m a Syrian artist. The war in Syria started when I was 17 years old and it’s been ongoing since with no end in sight. Life is rough, we struggle to meet ends meet these days. A lot of things changed, infrastructure is half gone, basic everyday needs like electricity is near gone as well, but we’re alive ya know?
Everyone keeps telling me I should be living the best years of my life right now, except, I fail to see that. War has robbed me from what was supposed to be the years where I mature and grow in peace, gain the experience that comes with going to university and meeting people from all over the country, but I feel robbed of that too.
I did grow up, different. I matured forcefully while balancing a thin line between life and death, fear, and the collapse of what I once called normal life. I’ve seen people die, I lost friends, family, I went days waking up in bunkers and dreading the thought of going outside, more days went without electricity nor water because the infrastructure was blown to bit, and some other days only a few meters separated me from death.
But here I am, a university graduate, proud of the bachelor degree I hold. I made it despite all the odds and danger, I survived. But war eventually took a toll. There’s only so much a person can take before the world comes crashing down, and then there was despair. I didn’t know how to handle it, everyone was in the same hell as me, but then I picked up my pen.
I coped through art. For years, it has been my everything. I grew up as an artist too when I joined the DeviantArt community. I met artists from all over the world and shared their experience and called the site my home. Yes, you know DeviantArt? That big international platform for everyone from all over the world?
For 8 years, I posted my work on deviantart, before the war was even a thing, shared the good and the bad, received support, encouragement, love, met some of my best friends there. A lot of people had so much impact on my life and helped me survive.
That is gone now too.
As of march 1st, 2017, DeviantArt banned Syria from accessing its services entirely. All geoIPs in the country have been blocked from entering the site, under the justification of USA sanctions over Syria.But that was an easy thing to pass around, just needed a VPN to pass the login authentication and you're good and it was alright, I continued to function on site normally. But as of February 12th 2018, dA has changed the authentication and now unless I am tunneling through a VPN the entire time, I am geobanned from site for good because I live in a warzone.
Not so international anymore ha?Yes, I can go somewhere else, but this isn't right!