AL-MANAR TV REPORTS "NORMAL" LIFE IN DAMASCUS NEIGHBORHOOD

Al-Manar TV (Lebanese Hezbollah TV Channel)
Sept 26 2011
Lebanon

The Bab Tuma area, an area in the Syrian capital, Damascus,
is experiencing a normal situation where people go about their
business as usual both during the daylight and at night in terms
of the movement of citizens and the state of stability prevailing
there. The following is an investigative report by Hamzah al-Hajj
Hasan, Al-Manar correspondent in Syria.

AlManar correspondent AlHasan

People in Bab Tuma

[Al-Hasan] This is not archival video footage of the pulse of life in
Syrian streets, for nighttime in Damascus is not much different from
Damascus during the day. The Bab Tuma area offers an example of this.

These markets remain open until a late hour into the night; and this
is made possible by the fact that human waves, waves of young and
old people, continue to frequent them. Stores and restaurants here
are thronged with those who frequent them.

[First unidentified man] I own a [words indistinct] juices shop here
in Bab Tuma. God be praised, things have been brought back to normal,
and they are better than before. Syria will definitely emerge strong,
stronger, from the crisis. God be praised, the crisis has eased much
compared to what it was in the past. Look at how people move about.

God willing, Syria is in good shape, and it will remain in good shape.

[Second unidentified man] Following Ramadan, business has seen a surge
[in sales], and business has become much better.

[Al-Hasan] That is, has business not been affected by the incidents
seen?

[Second unidentified man] Absolutely not. The impact has been positive,
not negative. This is for sure.

[Al-Hasan] Has business at your end seen a surge?

First unidentified man

Second unidentified man

[Second unidentified man] Yes, business has seen a surge. Even parties
have begun to see auras not seen before. I here mean the citizens'
patriotism and their love for the country. They have always shown
a desire to create a [pleasant] atmosphere even if they do not have
money on them.

[Al-Hasan] As for tight neighbourhoods, there is another story, as
their alleyways exude a feeling of comfort, originality, and security
even though they are tight. Here are churches and mosques that hug
each other while climbing skyward. Here are crosses and minarets.

[Unidentified Armenian Patriarchate official] Now, as you can see,
you are walking in the streets of Bab Tuma, around patriarchates and
churches. God be praised, we are not only in good shape. Rather, we
can say that Syria is in the best possible shape. The whole world is
against us. However, just as our president has said, it is God who is
protecting Syria. It is God who is protecting these lands. Besides, Our
Lady of Peace is also protecting these lands, and so are the angels.

[Al-Hasan] The Assembly of Eastern Christians has spoken of concerns.

Armenian Patriarchate official

[Armenian Patriarchate official] We are not experiencing problems. It
is others who are experiencing problems. As far as our ties [with
Muslims] are concerned, we are brothers. Just as you can see in this
street, you cannot distinguish a Christian from a non-Christian. We
have always been brothers. This is not a recent fact. Rather, this is
an old fact. On the contrary, this [changes thought] when the Pope
came here to Syria, he said: Your country is an exemplary state. I
would like to affirm to you that they [foreign visitors] will wish
to visit Syria in the coming days. This is because our country will
be an exemplary country. God be praised, our church is not only in
good shape. Rather, it is in the best possible shape.

[Al-Hasan] It is only the religious features in Bab Tuma which show
you what you cannot make out on the faces of the residents of the
Damascus neighbourhoods. For Syria has only one Bab [door]. As for
Tuma, he is one of the 12 disciples of Jesus Christ. As for Syrians,
they are millions whose love for God and the homeland keeps growing.

This is Hamzah al-Hajj Hasan and Kamil Karaki in the Syrian capital,
Damascus, for the Al-Manar Channel.