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Mai Skaf, a Syrian scream of hope

Mashari Althaydi

Published: Updated:

On her last Facebook post on Saturday, she wrote: “I will not lose hope; I will not lose hope. It is the Great Syria not Assad’s Syria.”

This is how the brave Syrian actress Mai Skaf bid life farewell under “mysterious circumstances,” as her relative Dima Wannous said, in her Paris exile in an apartment far away from Damascus streets, squares and theaters and far away from Barada, Dummar and Al-Hamah.

She died with her hope and her pain in the French waiting station, just like the old Syrian immigrant, the great writer in this paper, Ghassan Imam.

In one of her television interviews, she narrated what she told a security officer when she was detained in 2013. The interrogator asked her what the point of her active involvement in the revolution was and what she wants out of this. She told him: “I do not want my son to be ruled by Bashar al-Assad’s son!”

Mashari Althaydi

Some may accuse Skaf, the nationally pure, of political innocence or naivety. She was not terrified by the intimidations of those who lectured about the alliances of sects and minorities. Skaf, a Christian from Damascus, frankly announced that Syria does not deserve to be inherited by Hafez to Bashar, and by Bashar to another Hafez!

Strong opposition, determination

In one of her television interviews, she narrated what she told a security officer when she was detained in 2013. The interrogator asked her what the point of her active involvement in the revolution was and what she wants out of this. She told him: “I do not want my son to be ruled by Bashar al-Assad’s son!”

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She declared her opposition of the Assad regime and she was detained in the summer of 2011 along with other Syrian intellectuals and artists who were getting ready to hold a peaceful protest in Damascus. She was released a few days later and she later snuck out of Syria with her son and headed to Jordan then managed to attain asylum in France.

Before that, she was detained, trialed and accused of treason by Bashar’s regime more than once, but she did not surrender. She was determined to be loyal to the dream until the last day in her Parisian apartment, alone with no one by her side. She paid a huge price for opposing the regime. Due to her political activity, the popular committees in Syria seized her apartment in Jaramana in Damascus’s countryside.

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She could have been hypocritical with Bashar and his security generals or resort to implicit sectarian defense, like Duraid Lahham, Ghawwar, and others like him did or she could have presented herself as a soft face of a tattered militant bloody reality like many actresses who support Assad did.

I want to praise the presence of figures like Mai Skaf and novelist Samar Yazbek within the ranks of the Syrian people against this strange regime. It’s true that these voices do not have fighters, militias and international relations but they at least guarantee that the Syrian anger, at the beginning before it was contaminated by Al-Nusra, ISIS, Turkey’s wolves, Syria’s bears, Qatar’s foxes and Iran’s hyenas, was spontaneous anger that emerged from all Syrian rivers and springs without any sectarian, religious or ethnic taints.

Mai Skaf.. a white Syrian page.

This article is also available in Arabic.

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Saudi journalist Mashari Althaydi presents Al Arabiya News Channel’s “views on the news” daily show “Maraya.” He has previously held the position of a managing senior editor for Saudi Arabia & Gulf region at pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat. Althaydi has published several papers on political Islam and social history of Saudi Arabia. He appears as a guest on several radio and television programs to discuss the ideologies of extremist groups and terrorists. He tweets under @MAlthaydy.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.