Tags / Ismaili
Dust rises above the village. The Pamir Mountains are a snowless desert. For Europeans dust is associated with the scorching sweltering summer, cracked earth parched by the sun. Here it is dusty all the time until the first snow falls.
A calm afternoon in the village. Women sit in front of their houses. Here, houses are built with stones and clay mixed with straw. A roof is the most expensive part of a house as people need to import wood from Kirgizstan. During soviet times, it was not so expensive as it is now as it was imported from Siberia.
Sarabdek looks at his village. Roshorv is beautifully located village on a high mountain plateau. It is the biggest village in the Bartang Valley. 3 000 people live there in 165 houses. People came here 4 or 5 centuries ago from a village located below Yapshorv, which was slowly eroded away by the roaring Bartang River. Previously, there was only alpine pasture.
Catching a yak. A few wild yaks are brought from a distant Murghab. One was chosen to be culled for upcoming wedding party.
To kill a yak, men bind its legs, put it down, hold it and one of them cuts its throat.
Butchering the yak. As the custom, the neighbors receive a piece of meat, ready prepared and boiled.
The leftovers from the yak.
Sarabdek grinds flour in the water mill. Villagers make flour by themselves. There are 10 water mills in the village. At each house, bread tastes different as everyone bakes it in their own way, some add some oil, others more salt. The price of a bag of flour in a Soviet time was 11 rubles, today it costs 180 Somoni (30 euros), which constitutes Sarabdek’s monthly pension.
A woman takes water from a spring. The water from the spring is used for drinking and cooking. For washing and cleaning, people take water from a system of irrigation channels around the village.
The girl looks for sheep and goats. This task is reserved for children. There are 7 to 10 big herds in the village. In one herd, there are around 10 to 15 smaller groups each owned by a local. Shepherds switch their turn for grazing their herds.
The groom’s family goes to the bride's house to form a wedding party.
Kids are jumping from one roof to the other.
Musicians are greeting guests at bride’s house. The tambourine is a local traditional instrument.
A wedding ceremony takes place in the big summer room. Guests dance in pairs and then they leave the dance floor for the next. A wedding ceremony takes place at the bride’s home. If the young couple comes from the same village, a ceremony starts at a bride’s house and
Girls on their way back from school.
The wedding guests are dancing. Anyone who wants to come is welcome. Hopefully there will be just enough space to dance.
The best meetings are always in the kitchen, because they are most intimate and sincere. There are no unasked questions, but only timid responses. In the kitchen people talk about life, about men, about dresses, love stories, and unrequited loves. There are no cultural or religious differences. Tajiks, including Yaghnobi people, are Sunni, where a woman’s position is often discriminated against. Pamiris are Ismailis, they practice a progressive Islam often earning them the label heretic through this progress.
"Here in the Pamir Mountains, women are free, they are not like other muslims who live only for cooking and cleaning. They go to school and then go to college in Khorog.” Ismaili women, who can be considered Islamic feminists are educated, some of them even work. Their position in society may have its differences, but could be looked on as equal to that of men. Most marriages in Sunni Tajikistan are arranged. Polygamy is permitted up to a maximum of four wives. Tajiks get engaged at 18 and then marry two years later. In European culture, the young become very quickly independent from their families and young couples live on their own. Tajikistan is different. Because of a difficult economic situation, one's mate comes to live in the new family circle, so the decision of who is to live under a common roof is also a family decision. Love between married couples is considered not as important as loyalty to blood relations. A man’s world and that of a woman are clearly divided here. Women take care of the household and raise children. It is instinctive. Men, if they have a chance to work, they work, but certainly never refuse a glass of vodka. When they drink they become rash, harsh, mirroring their surrounding word. They know that drinking, and the behavior it prompts is bad, so they keep their families out of this world. Maybe it’s why the worlds between men and women remain distant. The kitchen is a woman’s world.
While the Syrian revolution has become increasingly sectarian and the fighting has often been dominated by Islamists, one brigade of the Free Syrian Army in Salamiya fights for a united and diverse Syria, and within the brigade multiple sects fight side by side.
The “Phalange Brigade of the Free Syrian Army” claims to fight for a democratic, civic state that unites and protects all Syrians under one slogan: "The Syrian People are One." This brigade, which is the dominant revolutionary force in Salamiya, is comprised of intellectual youth who believe that education and culture are revolutionary weapons. They envision a civic state, built on concepts of constructive criticism and spreading understanding between all of the Syrian sects. Even though Al Salamiya is the Middle Eastern cultural capitol of the Ismaili sect of Islam, the brigade prides itself on being non-sectarian and is comprised of Sunnis, Alawites, Ismailis, and others.
Like many in the Syrian revolution, the Phalange Brigade of the Free Syrian Army claims that they began their uprising using peaceful means. However, after the oppression and injustice that their city witnessed, they say that they have been forced to carry guns and join the armed resistance to Bashar Al-Assad’s regime. The men now wait for the regime’s bombing and shelling of their homes to end so they can resume their lives normally, and work on building a democratic Syria.
بعد ان اجتاح الفكر الطائفي الثورة السورية، ظهرت الكتائب الإسلامية لتكون الطاغية على الصفة الثورية في معظم المدن السورية. في مدينة السلمية التي تقع على بعد ثلاثين كيلومتراً إلى الشرق من مدينة حماه و التي تعتبر عاصمة الطائفة الاسماعيلية في سورية و الشرق الأوسط والتي شهدت حراكاً ثورياً كثيفاً على امتداد الثورة، تشكلت كتيبة للجيش الحر تطالب بدولة مدنية ديمقراطية تحمي الجميع تحت شعار الشعب السوري واحد. هي كتيبة مؤلفة من مجموعة من الشباب المثقفين من كافة الطوائف( سنة، علويين، و اسماعيليين)، يعتبرون الفكر و الثقافة سلاح، و لكن نتيجة القمع و الظلم الذي تعرضت له مدينتهم اضطروا لحمل السلاح لإيمانهم بأن الحل الوحيد لاسقاط النظام هو القتال المسلح. هؤلاء الشباب ينتظرون سقوط النظام ليعودوا إلى حياتهم الطبيعية، و ليعملوا على بناء سورية الديمقراطية، التعددية، المدنية عن طريق الفكر البناء و نشر التوعية بين جميع السوريين بكافة طوائفهم.
00:04 The movements in Salamiyah started peacefully
00:09 Like all syrian cities, it rebelled against oppression.
00:13 We started peacefully, until we started helping refugees who came from stricken areas.
00:20 security pressures increased on the activists, so they carried guns
00:33 Since the beginning of the Syrian revolution, the regime accused protesters of sectarianism.
00:41 Al Salamiya replied to that accusation saying, one one one Syrian People are one. This was the case because, in Al Salamiya, people went out to the streets from all sects.
and the first sign that was raised in Salamiya was saying Sunnis+ Alawis+ Ismailis= National unity
01:03 This atmosphere of brotherhood has been transferred to this brigade in which there are soldiers from different sects. Tt's not a sectarian brigade, it's not Sunni, Alawi, or Ismaili.
01:25 we're suffering from the lack of support on all levels. On the military level, we don't have enough weapons and bullets, and also on the living level.
01:36 We're lacking support on all levels, but thank God we remain patient until we get rid of Bashar Al Assad.
01:48 Al Salamiya’ weapon, as it's knows through history, is Education and Knowledge.
01:55 But, because of the harsh oppression that it suffered from, the men had to carry guns.
02:00 They saw that this is only way to overthrow the regime.
02:12 But after the regime falls, God willing, we will drop our weapons and get back to the real weapon and the most important weapon which is the Knowledge and education in order to build a democratic Syria, a diverse Syria, a Syria for all people, a Syria for all sects, a country that competes with all other countries all over the world.
02:37 for sure, we're working in a direction where we're trying to take a step forward and cut roads to help other groups in the neighboring areas and our goal is to liberate Salamiya.
02:55 Hey guys, keep quiet.
Since the start of the Syrian clashes, a large number of Syrians have migrated to the city of Al Salmiya, which is located 30 kilometers to the west of the city of Hama. The city of Al Salmiya is considered the capital of the Ismaili sect and therefore is of large importance to Syria and the region.
In the wake of the explosion that targeted the headquarters of the People’s Committee at the end of January and the initial wave of refugees coming from both Hama and Homs, the security in Al Salmiya was tightened. This resulted in further unrest, including the abuse of the refugee population and the destruction of their housing.
00 :02 If we want to discuss the process of displacement to Salameyah, we have to dissect it into two different segments. The first is prior to the bombing that occurred two months ago in the city. The other segment discusses what happened post bombing.
00 :17 The city is hosting approximately 50,000 to 60,000 refugees. As a result, from the influx of refugees, the economy has flourished. The shopkeepers have benefited in a noticeable manner, trade volume has increased, and stores that are in key markets witnessed better work.
00 :35 The first major influx of refugees arrived in Al Salamiyah from Hama. Entire families moved to the area, most of them being women and children. The offensive on Homs brought another wave of refugees to Al Salamiyah larger than that, that came from Hama. After which, the bombing of the People's Committee occurred.
00 :51 The People’s Committee increased it security measures after the bomb detonation. Al Salamiya locals started going to the houses of the refugees, especially to tenants, and beat up some of the masses. They tortured the men and threatened their women and children. They claimed they want to beat and kill them. Furthermore, they shredded their rent contracts so that they no longer have alibis to stay, resulting in the refugees leaving the city of Al Salameyah due to fear and intimidation.
01 :17 The site of the bombings are these residential buildings and the headquarters of the people’s committee that was bombed. Also, this is the house of the head of the area.
01 :36 and this is the sign of the party again (inaudible)
01 :42 It was obvious that the refugees were kicked out due to, both, a security and military decision from the government. The tool to execute it was by the use of the thugs i.e the people’s committee. How ? By pressuring them, by attacking their homes and harassing them on the streets. They would take someones identification card and ask him, "you are from Homs. Whats brings you here?"
02 :00 My siblings were in Al Salamiya, so I moved to the area.
02 :06 I left Homs at the time that the big strike happened
02 : 12 In regards to the bombing that happened here in Al Salamiya, it instilled fear in people. We started hearing people say that they are going to kick us out and to be careful. As a result of that, we did not dare to go out even if we were short on bread. We were afraid to go out and buy bread.
02 :31 These are my kids, and there are my brother's children and the children of my other brother. We guided them to start working. My son who is in sixth grade is working for 100 Syrian pounds in order to finance himself.
02 :46 The refugees have nothing to do with this. We are sheltering women and children, they believed that we are sheltering the women and children of the men that are fighting outside.
Sarabdek with his youngest daughter (in a middle) and his daughter in law (at the left).
Boy threshes grain with oxen. In the village as electricity is not reliable most of the work is done manually or with the help of animals.
Somersault on a haystack of threshed grain.
A Pamiri room is characterized by a single central window in the roof. It is the main room where the family cooks, eats and sleeps. In Ismaili culture, women stay at home and cook, but their social position is considered to be equal to that of men. The Pamiri diet is mainly based on rice, potatoes and a very small amount of meat.
Physical education classes. In the village there are two schools, primary and secondary. There are 180 students.
Zohra is a nurse in Ajirkh, a small village where she lives with her husband and 6-year-old son. A year after the birth of her son, she decided to study in Khorog. After three years of studies, she came to like her urban lifestyle and wanted to stay in the city to work in a local hospital. Her husband, however, wanted to go back to the village in the mountains. She asked me if sometimes I argue with my ‘close one.’ I answered that that I did. I asked if she argues with her husband….