Work is the Oxygen of the Heart and the Spirit of Civilization

A proverb about work used in Syrian cities and villages for the great importance work enjoys in the lives of Syrians.

There are plenty of proverbs about work, professions, and craftsmanship known in the Syrians’ life, as they have always told: “craftsmanship is a savior from poverty”, “craftsmanship is a bracelet of gold” and “Learn your father’s crafts and nothing shall defeat you”.

Furthermore, profession- attributed family names have spread throughout the country, as we can find the family of Al-Najjar (meaning the carpenter) in every Syrian city, as well as the family of Al-Khayyat (meaning the tailor), and many other families named after the professions of their ancestors.

Moreover, when a young man wanted to propose to a girl, her family’s first question about the young man was: “what is his profession?” The markets were also named after the names of professions; as there is the market of blacksmiths, carpenters, and tailors, and so on.

Likewise, Syria knew the trade unions at an early stage in its civilized age, so the chief carpenter who was the secretary of the profession was called the sheikh ‘meaning master’ of carpenters, and the chief tailor was called the sheikh of the tailors.

Thus, the social system was running in a way that places crafts and professions at the top of education; so, after the child gets his literacy at the seminar, he leaves to complete his education in one of the professions.

As a matter of fact, the Syrian fabric, such as the various types of textiles; silk, linen, cotton and wool, was internationally famous.

Damascene fabrics were the clothing of kings and queens, as Britain’s queen and kings, over the centuries and until a recent time, used to wear Damascene fabrics known as Damask only.

History also mentions how Holagu, and many following Tatar kings, captured many craftsmen and brought them to their country to build their palaces and castles.

Syrians were famous for this since the days of the Syrian emperors who ruled Rome; the days of the great Syrian Roman Empress (Julia Domna).

Libraries, readers, transcribers, and others who worked in the scientific field were not away from that trend, and the families of Al-Kutubi  and Al-Maktabi ‘meaning those who deal with books’ are found all over Syria.

When the Ottomans came, they took the best craftsmen to Astana and obliged them to live there to carry out their crafts and professions, build fortresses and palaces for the Ottomans, and plan their cities and neighborhoods.

That situation prevailed until the Ottomans killed the spirit of creativity in the Syrian man by the oppression, torture and deprivation the Syrians suffered at the hands of the Turks.

And now, the Syrians in the immigration countries are surpassing those professionals in the countries where they immigrated.

Then you hear someone saying: “How will Syria be reconstructed?!” The core truth is that the spirit of creativity is eternal in the Syrians.

In spite of all the chaos in the post-war period, the Syrian magic hand shall give the Syrians the upper hand in their Syria.

and the days will prove that ….

  • By : ( Dr. Ali al-Shoaibi ) – Damascus.

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