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Chapter 3: A shady man says he can help my boyfriend find his mother and sisters

Ram Hiramic writes a diary from the heart of the Syrian war.

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Yet another lazy Friday. I got out of bed in a stinking mood, rubbing my eyes as hard as I could. I have an image in my mind of a pregnant woman who died when that boat sank close to the Italian coast. How stupid our world is.

My boyfriend Brad called me, waking me up in the morning as usual with his amazing gentle whispers ?.

He told me about his latest deal with a broker who offered to get his two sisters and mother released. They have been missing since October last year and he recently discovered that they had been detained by the government militias for unknown reasons.

Eleven months ago during the Eid al Adha holiday, Brad went to visit his aunt in a rural area of Damascus and spent the night there. In the morning, he was woken up by a call from his mother who said that she would be coming in the evening with his two younger sisters Bella and Kathy to pick him up. “Sounds cool” he said.

At 6 p.m. he tried to get hold of his mother, but there was no signal to her cell-phone. He kept on trying for hours, but without luck.

It got late and he had no idea where they were or what was happening. He called an old friend asking if he could get some information about their location from their cell-phone signals, or when the signal had been lost. When he got home he asked neighbours and friends if they knew where they were. No-one had any idea.

The next morning he went to the police to report that they were missing and had to sit in a waiting room with lots of people who had come to report the same sort of thing.

The officer was sitting on a chair with his pen in one hand a cigarette in the other and carelessly writing reports. When Brad’s turn came the officer left to get his morning coffee, telling Brad to wait until he got back.

It was shocking to see how little they cared about what was a life or death issue for Brad. Brad always complains that this is the expensive price that we have to pay for the freedom we are asking for.

He went to all the government departments asking for information about his missing family and their answer was always the same – they had no idea where his family was and couldn’t help.

Since then he has been trying everything to find them or to find out what happened to them. But no-one seems able to help. A lawyer said that he was powerless and couldn’t even find out if they were alive or dead.

Recently he found this shady man who claims to be working for military intelligence. He said he could help if he was paid. Brad doesn’t even know the man’s name, but he says he has no choice but to go along with it.

Now I'm thinking that I'm free. I can take a shower, eat, and do what I want to. But how does it feel for the three ladies that have been detained for 11 months? Oh God, could I have a worse Friday!

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