Facebooking a revolution, and falling in love
Syrian couple decide to get married in Aleppo despite civil war, the strife-torn country’s main northern city, and one-time economic capital
On a Facebook page that was originally created to send updates on the Syrian uprising, and the ongoing shelling by the Syrian regime, love flew like the bullets of AK-47’s between two young people. Yusuf and Ghada became friends, and soon fell in love. Both of them posted daily updates on Facebook to highlight the brutality of the Syrian regime, and as an outcry for international intervention they collaborated their sources to give a clear picture of the brutality civilians faced.
The wedding ceremony was organized in accordance to Islamic regulations, and procedures. The couple were wedded by an Imam, who was also the leader of the Free Syrian Army in Aleppo. Unfortunately the bride’s family could not attend the wedding because they were situated in another part of Aleppo that was under the control of Bashar alAssad’s mercenaries.
Yusuf said, “The ceremony was very quick. We signed a paper, exchanged rings, and we were married”. In celebration of the ceremony, rebel fighters fired AK-47 rifles into the air, while cheering “Congratulations, God is the greatest”. Yusuf, who works as a part-time fixer for foreign journalists, said “We can’t let war dictate our lives. We don’t know when this war will finish. It could be a few months, or it might be five or 10 years. Do I have to wait till then to continue living”.
Ghada explained the mystery behind how they met. She said “Yusuf and I started chatting because my Facebook profile picture was an image of a little cat. He likes cats,” she smiled. The love-relationship mostly blossomed on Facebook, and through phone calls because Ghada lived in a part of Aleppo that was controlled by the regime, while Yusuf lived in the liberated areas of Aleppo. He said “We have only seen each other four times” and that “Most of the time, it is too dangerous for her to come here, so we’ve spent the past seven months chatting online and on the phone”.
They are both optimistic about the future of Syria, and Yusuf says if God blesses them with children he wants them to either rebuild Syria or to fight the regime until it collapses. Ghada says, “Deep down, what I want is to build a new country, where our children can live happily.”
Youssef, a member of the Free Syrian Army, looks as his wife places a ring on his finger during their marriage ceremony in Aleppo January 17, 2013.