Of the traditional folklore of Aleppo, there is one song that was heard throughout the Middle East. Sung by Fairouz, a Lebanese legend, and Sabah Fakhri, an icon of Aleppo, Al-Rozana describes the atrocious years of World War I and tells the story of how the merchants of Aleppo helped those in need in Beirut, who were facing dire economic circumstances due to the war.
Today, the people of Aleppo are themselves experiencing even worse circumstances and could definitely use the help of a friend, especially during the month of Ramadan and the approaching Eid. Aleppians, evacuated from the Eastern part of the city have joined deportees from other parts of Syria and together they live in small cities in the countryside of the Aleppo. They have an immutable resolution to thrive in their country even against all odds.
This is an online survey of modern areas of socio-commercial activity in the city of Aleppo before and after 2012. Aleppians know where to get things bought or done, but modern maps of the city do not account for these markets, excepting those in the Old City. However, there are a lot of different markets that supply the people of Aleppo with goods and services. The aim of the survey is to document areas of socio-economic activity Aleppians use or used to visit for their shopping before, during and after the war that split Aleppo into segregated eastern and western halves in 2012, culminating in the destruction of much of eastern Aleppo and the forced displacement of most its residents. Through this, we are hoping to create a map of these markets that preserves the memories of the residents of different parts of the city while guarding against ignoring these lived experiences and realities during the reconstruction process. The map and a report of the findings will be published on the website of the Aleppo Project and will be shared publicly with other scholars, including the Syrian Heritage Archive at the German Archaeological Institute. Anything you would like to share with us about these markets will improve our knowledge about them.
When speaking of markets, we do not only consider those areas which bear the word market as part of their name. Please also think about other commercial areas where you used to go and which you might know better as “X Street” or “Y Roundabout”.
To complete the survey in Arabic or English, please click here.
The first set of questions is about one market area you used to go to. You can fill in information about as many markets as you would like by clicking the plus (+) sign at the end of each section. At the end, you can also include information about those areas where you prefer(red) NOT to shop.
The whole questionnaire is anonymous. No data will be asked that can be used to identify the person answering the survey. The data will only be used for the purpose of the survey and will be treated confidentially.
The survey will take approximately 20 minutes. You can leave out any questions you are not comfortable answering. If at any point you do not wish to answer more questions, please do not just leave it, but still scroll down and submit the answers you already gave.
The Aleppo Project at CEU’s School of Public Policy
* Photo: “Souq in Aleppo” by Michał Unolt. Taken on March 29, 2010. Flickr.
A lot has changed for the White Helmets since the success of an Academy Award-winning documentary that followed the volunteers through their humanitarian mission to extract residents from the airstrike induced ruins of eastern Aleppo. The city has since fallen, or been liberated depending on your source, and the political landscape has shifted heavily to favor the regime. Times are not easy for the White Helmets, a civilian organization that does not carry arms or engage in combat, and this has been made all the worse by an online campaign that has rallied against the organization with wide-ranging, and often inconsistent accusations that intend to sully the credibility of the first responders. A cursory glance over their English language Facebook page will reveal a wave of attacks and vicious accusations that have assailed many posts. Charges that civilians are forced by the White Helmets to act like airstrike victims are common, as are claims that the White Helmets are themselves an armed terrorist group. One comment referred to them as the Al Qaeda’s Medical Brigade. Reviews for the organization are similarly polarized, with some thanking the White Helmets for the work they do, while others describe them as pawns of the US, CIA, UK, Israel, Wahhabism, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Zionists, or even George Soros. While one may be tempted to discredit these attacks as misinformed minorities, there is much more to these accusations than lone conspiracy theories. There is a network of such ideas, being supported and encouraged by a series of individuals and news sites that claim to know the truth. These accusations come with citations and sources, but always from the same places.