International Affairs Poetry & Fiction

Bitter Sweet

Earlier this year, The Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS) launched the “Write a Revolution” competition as part of their SOS Syria project. The competition attracted submissions from writers across the globe. Entrants were asked to consider the words freedom, oppression, unity, justice and hope to write a short story or a poem in light of recent events in Syria. Below is the winning entry for the poetry competition.

By Syma Alam



         The humming of bullets thicken the air

         Death preys on the souls of innocent men

         Like a crazed grim wind it seeps everywhere

         Without knocking it enters, feasts again

            Our lips have been sealed but our eyes

                    Bleed, yearning for freedom and the right to

                    Speak. But those who feign deaf can’t hear the cries

            For rights to the pursuit of happiness

            Men flee to save their precious lives

            Lost lovers shed tears of grief

            Children from mothers, husbands from wives

            Yielding love in hope of relief

            But though their hearts choke with dismay

            A rising sun brings a new day.

                  And when I thought I saw her disappear

       She emerges from the men and children

               From the darkness, a light draws close and near

               She runs forth and into my arms again

      Holding her tight, inhaling her sweet smell

       Spinning with fair bliss, I failed to conceive

      The dark speck that tore as she moaned and fell

       My tears rolled, as she struggled to breathe

       Blades through my heart, I watched her die

       Red innocence spread out upon

       Her White clothes, Black hair, Green land, my

       Hands. She smiled. And then she was gone.

       Justice had died, I could not pretend

       But a rising sun will set in the end.

        A lifeless corpse, I stand alone

        A blind warrior, naked, weak

        Stripped from my sanity and prone

        To suffering, the days are bleak

        Watching the killing of thousands

        Of men, the piles of the bodies

        Guiltless and pure, laid on the sand

        Our homes invaded by armies

        But we have committed no crime

        But mourning cannot turn back time

        We must be patient, though there’s no place to stay

        As jannah (paradise) awaits us at the end of the day

        With honour, death I shall befriend

        A rising sun will set in the end.


Syma studied Islamic theology for a number of years before her A-levels and is now in her second year of Medicine at St George’s University of London. She is interested in teaching and occasionally writes, when time permits, as it allows her to reflect. She hopes to travel to the Middle East and acquire a deeper understanding of the Arabic language.


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As a virtual mosque, we strive to provide a safe space for learning and discussion. We would like to invite our readers to join this process. Everyone has a reflection to share, expertise on a specific topic, or a new idea. We hope, by opening up submissions from guest authors, that we can highlight the work of new, talented writers in our virtual community.


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