Published: 3.18.2018
Level 4   |   Time: 4:03
Accent: American
New York Times (3.15.2018)

As Syria enters its eighth year of conflict, a Syrian-American architect reflects on the devastation destoyed her city over one year ago.


triangle Directions

  1. REVIEW the vocabulary / background.
  2. WATCH the video.
  3. ANSWER the questions.
  4. CHECK your answers. (Show Answers)

triangle Vocabulary

  • Aleppo [n] - city in Syria destroyed by war
  • wound(ed) [n/adj] - injury, damage
  • shame [n] - feeling of low value, less than human
  • a burden [n] - guilt
  • to the point [exp] - explaining how much
  • mended [adj] - fixed, healed
  • a balcony [n] - a small area upstairs, outside of the house
  • urban [adj] - city
  • resistance [n] - fighting, not accepting
  • a protest [n] - a gathering of people to show their disapproval
  • an airstrike [n] - a dropping bombs from an airplane
  • occupy [v] - control
  • opposition [n] - the opposite side/team
  • a regime [n] - a group with power
  • arbitrary [adj] - with no reason
  • jarring [adj] - disturbing
  • conquer [v] - beat, win
  • take over [exp] - gain control
  • gutted [adj] - completely ruined, destroyed
  • social fabric [exp] - most important parts of society
  • the vast majority [n] - almost all
  • a souk [n] - an Arab market or marketplace
  • a minaret [n] - a Muslim prayer tower
  • a mosque [n] - a Muslim place of worship
  • an icon [n] - a symbol
  • a compass [n] - an instrument to show you the directions
  • honor [v] - show respect to
  • heritage [n] - valued history
  • dignity [n] - pride, feeling of high value, human

triangle Questions

  1. What does Lina say about Aleppo?
    It has always been wounded.
    She knew one day it would be wounded.
    It is surprisingly wounded.
    It will never be wounded.

  2. Why does she feel ashamed?
    She destroyed Aleppo.
    She abandoned Aleppo.
    The Syrian people destroyed their own city.
    The Syrian people watched their own city get destroyed.

  3. What does she say about the wounds?
    They are not deep.
    They are deep but they can be healed.
    They are deep but they are being healed now.
    They might be too deep to be healed.

  4. Why did she photograph everything in her Grandma's house?
    She thought it might be the last time to be there with her grandma.
    She needed to document everything for insurance.
    She likes photography.
    Her grandma requested her that she do it.

  5. What does she say about the protests? (Check all that apply)
    There were many.
    They were peaceful.
    They were violent.
    They were effective.

  6. How did the government respond to the protests?
    They negotiated with the people.
    They forced the people to go home.
    They shot the people.
    They ignored the people.

  7. The East side of Aleppo _____. (Check all that apply)
    was the old city
    was the new city
    was controlled by the government
    was controlled by the rebels

  8. What is the situation now?
    The government controls Aleppo.
    The rebels control Aleppo.
    It is still divided.
    She doesn't say.

  9. Why does Lina feel uncertain about walking through Aleppo?
    She needs a compass.
    All of the landmarks are gone.
    There are some earthquakes sometimes.
    There is still violence.

  10. What is Lina's hope for the future of Aleppo?
    They will rebuild the city quickly.
    They will build a new city that looks the same as the old city.
    They will build a better, more modern city.
    They will remember the dead and the memories when they rebuild.

triangle Discussion

  1. Why does war happen? Who benefits from war? Who suffers the most?
  2. If war broke out in Korea, how would the damage compare to Aleppo?
  3. What can be done to prevent war?

triangle Script

I would have never imagined that Aleppo would be described as a wounded place. Living this now, you actually see the wounds happen in real life. And I think for me, that’s one of the most painful things about being from Aleppo is to have that kind of shame and have that burden that we actually destroyed our country, or watched it being destroyed, even if there was no way that we could have stopped it. The wounds are extremely deep, to the point where I don’t know if they will be mended.

So the last time I was in Aleppo was in 2011. I went for a couple of weeks and kind of said goodbye to my grandmother’s home and our home and Aleppo in general. I went every single day to my grandmother’s home, and I photographed everything in it. All of the pieces, all of the rooms, the balcony, her furniture. I did feel like this was going to be the last time I was going to be with my grandmother in her home. And it was.

[explosions] [men shouting] [sound of warfare]

Watching the war happen, that was very, very difficult because you had extreme urban warfare happening in a historic city.

[people shouting] [sirens]

What happened in Aleppo is there was a resistance against the regime. There were protests. Many, many, many peaceful protests. The protests were met with bullets by the Syrian army. After the bullets came, the tanks came. After the tanks came, the airstrikes came. During the war over who would occupy Aleppo, it was separated into two halves, the east side and the west side. The east side, where the old city was, it was occupied by the opposition to the regime and the west side by the regime. It was a military divide. It was very arbitrary. And when you’re from there, it’s very, very jarring, and it’s very, very painful. And all I’m thinking about is where’s my house on this map. Where is my grandmother’s home in this map.

The regime conquered eastern Aleppo, and now has taken over the entire city. The city has been gutted. It’s almost like an earthquake to the social fabric of the country. The vast majority of the destruction happened in eastern Aleppo. And it’s in the old city, so our historic souks were burned. The minarets of the Great Mosque, it collapsed. And so you’ve lost these, sort of, icons. If you’re from Aleppo, there’s certain things there that are like your compass. And those things are gone. And I don’t even know what it would feel like to walk in Aleppo not being able to have those.

But rebuilding is a part of human nature. We rebuild after natural disasters, after wars. I hope as an architect that Aleppo will be rebuilt in a way that honors the memory of what has happened there. I do believe that we need to keep the memory of the loss visible, honoring the dead and honoring the loss of our cultural heritage and honoring our homes, that once were, with dignity.