Hanan: The Mottos of freedom liberated me


Hanan (full name not mentioned for security reasons) is a lawyer from the city of Damascus who studied law and specializes in international law. She resides in Damascus and has never left it even after the start of the Syrian revolution. She is a member of the Syrian Women’s Political Movement.

Hanan says, “I happen to live in one of the towns in Damascus that remained under the control of the regime forces. This did not prevent me from standing with the revolution since its beginning. I remember that in April 2011, I organized a candlelight march in the town square with a group of friends. We were a group of opposition women even before the revolution, and we faced persecution and various harassments from security forces both before and after the revolution.”

Hanan began her political work during her university studies, as she lived in an oppositional environment since her childhood. The revolution sparked great hope in Hanan for the possibility of breaking free from the rule of tyranny. She says, “At the onset of the revolution, there was a sense of joy and hope that drove us to seek the desired freedom by participating in protests everywhere. The beautiful chants pushed us forward on our path, and the expressions of freedom echoed the voice of the lost people and their dignity and strength, which had been taken from them during the forty years of the Assad family’s rule. The expressions of freedom liberated me, telling me that I am still a human living within humanity. Those words were not just words for me; they narrated the harshness of the years and our aspirations for a dignified life, just like any free human being on this planet.”

Regarding her participation in the Syrian revolution, Hanan says, “I interacted with the revolution with all my being and emotions. The revolution planted hope in my heart, and I told myself that we must triumph over this criminal gang that destroyed us, our people, our land, and polluted its air and water. Our blood became the price we pay for our freedom. Isn’t all of this enough to move forward against a criminal regime that rules us with an iron fist in every aspect of our lives, from childhood to old age? It governs us in schools, streets, institutions, and even in our homes. If you speak or whisper, imprisonment awaits you, even if you live in a basement without sunlight or light.”

Hanan emphasizes the importance of women’s rights and their political role in building the future Syria. She says, “My belief in women’s rights and the importance of their political role in building the future Syria made me see the Syrian Women’s Political movement as a safe path to engage in this difficult and long battle.”


“My belief in women’s rights, and the importance of their political role in building the future Syria made me see the Syrian Women’s Political Movement as the safe path and passage to engage in this difficult and long battle.”


Regarding her journey in feminist work, Hanan says, “In 2005, I began my feminist work by establishing a women’s organization with a group of women. Our primary focus was women’s rights and discriminatory laws. We have always seen women’s rights as an integral part of human rights. As long as there is a separation of women from being human with rights, true humanity, where women enjoy their rights, cannot be achieved. Women should not be mere individuals burdened with duties and deprived of basic rights.”

Talking about the importance of women’s participation in political work, Hanan says, “Political work has always been a constant concern for me along with feminist work. However, due to the absence of free parties not under the regime’s authority and the lack of a conducive environment for women’s political participation, it was necessary to continue working in the field of women’s rights while preserving the hope that the Syrian revolution brought. The revolution opened up prospects and aspirations for us, reinforcing my belief that women’s participation in political work is crucial for their freedom and liberation from oppressive restrictions. It is also a key factor in empowering them to contribute to the advancement of society and their country after decades of marginalization, especially under the societal male dominance accompanying the regime’s rule.”

When asked about her joining the Syrian Women’s Political Movement, Hanan responds, “The political participation of women in shaping a free Syria has become an utmost necessity that cannot be compromised, abandoned, controlled by a male mindset, excluded, or even ignored. My belief in all these ideas, women’s rights, and the importance of their political role in building the future Syria made me see the Syrian Women’s Political Movement as the safe path and passage to engage in this difficult and long battle.”

Hanan reflects on her experience within the Syrian Women’s Political Movement, expressing pride in the movement’s members and their distinguished political level. She acknowledges their ability to manage work and relationships, proud of their political understanding, analysis of events, and their presence in international legal organizations. She emphasizes that these women have proven their existence in the Syrian political process with great strength.

She adds, “I see in this high political level the ability to achieve the goals of the Syrian Women’s Political Movement that women and movement members aspire to. I find it wonderful and distinctive, a real empowerment for Syrian women. They have become ready for any transitional phase that Syria may go through. My experience within the Syrian Women’s Political Movement has added a lot to me, especially political maturity, given that I had not engaged in any real political work before.”

Hanan continues, saying, “I had a constant obsession with belonging to a political party that reflects my aspirations and through which I can engage in political work. I looked at the political experiences of women in democratic countries, hoping that these experiences would transfer to Syria. When the idea of the Syrian Women’s Political Movement was presented to me, I did not hesitate to join it.”

Regarding the challenges facing movement members and women in general within Syria, Hanan says, “There are many internal and external challenges that we face, including the distribution of women in the diaspora and the time difference between different countries. Additionally, there are security, psychological, and material challenges. Women always bear extra burdens and responsibilities that prevent them from fully playing their political role. The real and effective participation of women is manifested in helping and empowering them to fulfill their role. The most significant contribution of the Syrian Women’s Political Movement to women is enhancing their participation in political work, from which women were absent for decades. I have witnessed the development of this role through women participating in all aspects of the Syrian political process and their presence in various international forums. This has made the international community realize the importance of women’s role and their right to obtain all their rights. This motivates me to continue working despite all the challenges. I won’t get any chance to change myself and shape my future without being active in all the issues of my country to achieve the dream of seeing Syria as a free, democratic state governed by law, believing in women’s rights.”


“The rise of civil society during the revolution and its prominence in the Syrian arena had the greatest impact in empowering tens, if not hundreds, of Syrian women and men alike.”


Hanan addresses Syrian women: “No one will grant you a right unless you work and struggle for it. Do not despair, but continue your journey and empower yourselves. Arm yourselves with knowledge, awareness, and economic liberation to confront the challenges and difficulties in your path. The struggle of women is a long, cumulative, and sustainable struggle, and its day will surely come. We can draw inspiration and strength from the experiences of advanced countries.”

Hanan concludes her talk about the Syrian revolution and the experiences that most Syrians have gone through in recent years: “These years have been exceptional with all their contradictions, conflicting emotions shifting between hope for freedom and sorrow, oppression, fear, and frustration. We rejoiced greatly and suffered greatly. We lost many loved ones and met many loved ones whom our homes hosted, sharing bread, salt, worries, hopes, dreams, and harsh experiences. Despite all that we have been through, the rise of civil society during the revolution and its prominence in the Syrian arena had the greatest impact in empowering tens, if not hundreds, of Syrian women and men alike.”

“The Syrian revolution has changed us, changed ourselves and our essence, and nothing is as it was before 2011. We are no longer the same, except for one habit I couldn’t overcome: the morning coffee cup accompanied by the turquoise mornings through the radio that I still cover with an embroidered cap, which I only take off to wash and put back on again. And so life continues, remaining continuous…”