I was seventh grade. Twelve, thirteen years old. It was 6:30 in the morning. Suddenly I just stumbled across this tree hanging bodies in the middle of this square, very close to my father’s shop where I used to go every day.
They were topless, but there was this big white piece of paper, and it described on this paper why they were committed. The eyes were open, and that’s how I just had this one second… I saw them and this image, it’s never gone away from my memory.
My father used to be a freelance photographer, weddings and portraits. He got this idea of opening the first colour lab for developing and printing films in Syria, and in this shop I grew up. This was my university, let’s say.
These places are public execution squares. This continued from the Ottomans until these recent days, of course. These photos were taken in three cities in Syria. That was in 2008. Damascus, Aleppo and Latakia. They were all taken when the sun was rising. That’s why all these squares are empty. Usually these are the main public squares in the city.
I tried to include the surrounding of the square because people used to stand everywhere, from every angle they used to see the hanged bodies. This was the purpose of the squares. I thought photography could help me with erasing this, and just to confirm that these bodies don’t exist anymore. But it didn’t work out. I keep seeing these bodies there.
Of course, this thing, it’s not only for me. It’s for everybody in Syria. We all saw these kind of executions.