“When the Syrian revolution started, I became like a newborn making her first steps, rediscovering herself and rediscovering her country,” Syrian actress May Scaff told me when we met in Paris on April 28 this year. “Like all Syrians who took to the street, I found my voice for the first time.”
May never contemplated the idea that she would breathe her last in a country other than Syria or in a city other than her native Damascus. Few things scared her more than the thought of dying outside the country with which she had fallen in love all over again after the uprising.
Though she had been living in the French capital for three years, Paris, for her, was a temporary exile. “Don’t say if we return to Syria or if the regime falls,” she implored her friends. “Say when – when we return to Syria and when the regime falls for this moment will come. It has to.”
If this moment does come, though, May will not be there to witness it. May, an actress, a revolutionary, and a single mother, was pronounced dead on July 23 at the age of 49. Paris, not Damascus, will be her final resting place. Detention, death threats, separation from her mother and sister, and permanent exile and alienation were the price she paid for speaking truth to power.
At a time when most of her colleagues sided with the Syrian regime to maintain their privileges or remained silent to avoid state reprisal, May chose not to make a compromise with her beliefs. [Continue reading…]