Thursday, October 31, 2013

Fiction by Guest Blogger BRIAN ASCALON ROLEY, "Old Man"

Dear Readers,
For your weekend reading, we have a Guest Blogger, BrianAscalon Roley, who writes in several genres. His novel AMERICAN SON (W.W. Norton) received the 2003 Association for Asian American Studies Prose Book Award and was a Los Angeles Times Best Book, New York Times Notable Book, and Kiriyama Pacific Rim Prize finalist among other honors. He has been a Visiting Fellow at the University of Cambridge and is currently Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing at Miami University of Ohio. More information can be found at his website
Enjoy his story, "Old Man."

Cecilia asked me to choose a story to post as guest blogger. I decided on a piece she published a couple years ago called “Old Man” in the anthology, Growing Up Filipino II.

A note on this story’s origins. This story is a sequel of sorts to my novel, American Son (W.W. Norton), so let me begin there.

Back in the early 1990s, I returned to Los Angeles after living for years in Connecticut and London. I found a city transformed. This was the era of the Rodney King Riots. This was a time of racial tension; gangs of one race or ethnicity would target bystanders of other races on the streets in Venice. This was a time of gang wars in which they became a sort of fashion among teens, even spreading to suburban high schools. It was an odd return after living in the London neighborhood of Camden Town.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Vintage Pictures that Help me Write my Novel - Paris, Barcelona, Ubec

When I write my stories, I need to "see" my characters in their setting, and so I sometimes find pictures to help my imagination.  I'm sharing some pictures that I'm using in my novel-in-progress.
I've included short excerpts. The published story, The Old Mansion Near the Plaza, is part of this novel that I'm struggling with.

It is a struggle, but it's a lot of fun. 

For those who don't know Ubec is the mythical world I've created that is something like Cebu.  Note that Ubec is Cebu backwards.

 "...and I said, "My aunt owns a dress shop on Avenue Bouquet; I'll be fine."

"Encouraged, my aunt continued, “I remember watching them build it platform by platform, from ’87 to ‘89. I prayed it would get better — or topple down — but the higher it went, the more hideous it became. The skyline of Paris has been ruined by that ghastly protrusion.”

" and they had taken the exhilarating steam engine ride from Ubec to Carcar, in a first class car, which was finished in teak. The locomotives, steel rails, and parts came from America and everything was as solid as the spanking new railway system installed in earthquake-shattered San Francisco. The second class cars, where they now sat, were finished in yellow pine."

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Celebrating Halloween in America and in the Philippines

The first Halloween I experienced in America was magical. I loved the spooky decorations, the scary costumes, and the custom of trick or treating. We lived in a community with many children and it felt like a neighborhood Open House, with children hopping from house to house collecting candy. My children used to come home with two pillowcases filled with  candy.  We also gave out candy to the children who stopped by.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Cecilia's SMOOTHIE RECIPE for Good Health

 I make a smoothie most mornings, and I've shared this recipe with many people. 


FRUIT:   Bananas, Apples, Frozen or fresh strawberries and assorted berries (raspberries, blueberries)
NUTS: almonds, flax seeds, walnut pieces
Brewers Yeast
Apple Cider
Almond milk or Soy milk or Fat Free Milk
Yogurt (low fat or fat free, plain, unsweetened)


Friday, October 25, 2013

Catching up with News on the War in Syria

My last blog entry about the Syrian war was the appeal from an Orthodox nun, Mother Paraskeva asking for prayers for the monasteries in Syria and Egypt.

Syrian matters seemed to have made a turn and world politics took center stage after the terrible Ghouta Chemical attack. What remains the same are that the civilian population continues to suffer and that Assad's military perpetrates its destruction of Syria and its people.  The results of the war are mind boggling. The death toll was 120,000 last September 2013; there are over a million Syrian refugees and the count continues to increase. The overall quality of life among civilians has disintegrated terribly. Right now for instance, there is a polio outbreak among the children in Syria.

News Updates re October 15 Bohol Philippines Earthquake, 7.2 Magnitude

I've been following the news in the Philippines regarding the October 15 Philippine Earthquake.  My friends in Cebu say there are very many strong aftershocks, some of them 5 and more in magnitude. One friend says  "Pray and be alert" has been their mantra since October 15.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Fiction by Cecilia Manguerra Brainard - The Turkish Seamstress in Ubec

 Dear Readers,
I'm sharing a story that's part of the newly released anthology, Philippine Speculative Fiction Volume 8, edited by Dean Francis Alfar and Nikki Alfar. It's available in's Kindle and in hard copy in the Philippines. This is a bit dark, but Halloween is coming up, so enjoy!  Cecilia

The Turkish Seamstress in Ubec

I’ve never experienced pain like this in my thirty-five years of life. I’m talking about this slash on my neck; I’m talking about the contact of the knife against my skin. It’s agony that doesn’t just smolder where the flesh and bones have separated; it courses through every part of my body from my toes all the way to the very tips of my long hair. The millisecond the serrated metal touched my neck, I heard my skin rip like satin and what followed were the worst sounds I’ve ever heard: neck bones crunching and snapping reminding me of the awful sounds made by a butcher hacking away at a dead cow. And now the knife lies next to me, cold and slippery from my own blood.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

FEMA EARTHQUAKE INFORMATION- regarding 7.1 Magnitude Bohol Philippine Earthquake October 15, 2013

Hi, I'm posting this link from the US Federal Emergency Agency, or FEMA. There is a very comprehensive section on Earthquakes, including publications for building designers, and others.

To those who got hit by the 7.1 or 7.2 Magnitude earthquake in the Visayas, Philippines, do take a look:
  • Building Codes and Seismic Rehabilitation
    Among the most important strategies for earthquake risk reduction are the development, adoption, and enforcement of seismic building codes and standards, and the seismic rehabilitation of existing structures—these publications and tools address the public policy, socioeconomic, and technical aspects of these strategies. (This category combines relevant publications from the “Public Policy Makers and Planners” and “Building Designers, Managers, and Regulators” categories.)
Another excerpt

FEMA E-74 Reducing the Risks of Nonstructural Earthquake Damage

Main Content

This document explains the sources of earthquake damage that can occur in nonstructural components and provides information on effective methods for reducing risk associated with nonstructural earthquake damage.Download the PDF from the FEMA Library.

Read also
 Some Damaged Churches from 7.1 Visayas Philippines Earthquake, October 15, 2013
Remembering Destructive Earthquakes in Philippines, 1968, 2012
tags: Philippines, Visayas, Bohol, Cebu, earthquake, October 15 Philippine earthquake, information, earthquake preparedness, seismic damage

Friendship: Thanks for all the Laughs, Marily!

I just got back from the Filipino American Festival of Books held in San Francisco. I had a terrific time!  I moderated HOT OFF THE PRESS literary readings on Saturday and Sunday. I have earlier blog entries with lots of pictures about these events; please visit them - click 1, 2, 3

Another surprise was that my friend from college days, Marily Ysip Orosa was in San Francisco.  She attended the book festival and we were able to see a bit of San Francisco.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Some Damaged Churches from 7.1 Visayas Earthquake October 15, 2013

The aftershocks continue in the Visayas, Philippines. The aftershocks are quite strong and are causing cracking on buildings and breakage of glass windows.  The people in Cebu are understandable jumpy.

Here are pictures of some damaged churches as a result of the Visayas Earthquake that struck last October 15, 2013. The intensity 7.1 was equivalent to 32 Hiroshima Bombs. Some places are still difficult to access and information about deaths and damage in those places not yet determined.

The island of Bohol lost some heritage churches completely - some pictures of Bohol Churches shown below.  Many of these churches date from the 1600s; Santo Nino dates from the 1500s.

CEBU: (photos  courtesy of Carl Arnold)

Santo Nino Basilica, Cebu City

 Cebu Cathedral, Cebu City
 Cebu Cathedral

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Pictures - HOT OFF THE PRESS Reading & Filipino American Book Festival, Sunday Oct. 20, 2013

Here are pictures taken at the last day of the Filipino American Book Festival in San Francisco. We also had the second HOT OFF THE PRESS reading, which also went very well.  I'm whipped, folks, so I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Thanks to the organizers and writers. I enjoyed moderating the HOT OFF THE PRESS literary readings. The writers were professional and considerate and most talented. Congratulations to them, once again.

Click on pictures to make them big.

Ate Logo,


Seated l-r: Barbara Jane Reyes, Marianne Villanueva, Cecilia Brainard; Standing l-r: E.R. Escober, Kristian Kabuay, Nieves Catahan Villamin, Evelina Galang, Angelo Merino, Jay Bautista, Giovanni Ortega, Cecilia Brainard

Saturday, October 19, 2013

PICTURES - HOT OFF THE PRESS Literary Reading, Sat. Oct, 19, 2013

We had the Saturday Literary Reading, HOT OFF THE PRESS, this afternoon from 1:45-2:45 p.m. at the San Francisco Main Library, with Jon Pineda, Lysley Tenorio, Dawn Mabalon, Ben Pimentel, Luisa Igloria, Angela Naricso Torres, Evelyn Ibatan Rodriguez, and Elenita Strobel.  Here are some pics. If you click on the image, it should get bigger. Special thanks to Evelina Galang for taken most of the pictures shown here.

Stay tuned, one more Reading tomorrow, Sunday, 12:30-1:30 p.m. at the San Francisco Main Library, Latino Community room, with Evelina Galang, Giovanni Ortega, Nieves Catahan Villamn, Marianne Villanueva, Joaquin Gonzalez, Angelo Michael F. Merino, and Kristian Kabuay.

l-r: Cecilia, Luisa Igloria, Leny Strobel, Evelyn Rodrifuez, Dawn Mabalon, kneeling l-r: Nick DeOcampo, Lysley Tenorio

 Seated l-r:Dawn Mabalon, Jon Pineda, Angela Narciso Torres, Leny Strobel,Luisa Igloria; Standing l-r: Lysley Tenorio, Evelyn Rodriguez, Nick DeOcampo

Friday, October 18, 2013

Visiting San Francisco for the Filipino American International Book Festival

Leslie Ryan and Cecilia Brainard

I drove from LA to San Francisco today and made it to the reception at the Philippine Consulate. Here are some pictures with the organizers and writers.

From the car, I dared take a few pictures -- that's probably worse than texting while driving and promise not to do it again, but the 6 hour drive got boring.

More pictures tomorrow, stay tuned.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Pictures, Creative Writing Workshop at Bago City College, Negros, Philippines

I received these pictures taken at the Creative Writing Workshop in Bago City College, Negros, Philippines.  Elaine Sweet, a US Peace Corps Volunteer, organized the workshop. She had asked me to give a talk via Skype.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Creative Writing Workshop, sponsored by Bago City College, Philippines and the US Peace Corps

Dear Readers,

I had the privilege of participating in a Creative Writing Workshop held in Bago City College, Negros, Philippines, October 7, 2013.  The organizer, Elaine Sweet, who is an American Peace Corps Volunteer, had invited me to give a talk via Skype.

l-r: Cecilia Brainard, Elaine Sweet, Susan Brooks (partially hidden), friend

This is the second time I've given a talk to students in Bago, via Skype. The first time was last May, upon the invitation of another American Peace Corps Volunteer, Susan Brooks, for the students in Ramon Torres National High School.  

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Remembering Destructive Earthquakes in the Philippines: 1968, 2012

The 7.1 Magnitude Philippine Earthquake reminded me of these two great earthquakes in the Philippines, which I experienced.

Casiguran or Ruby Tower Earthquake - August 2, 1968 - 7.3 Magnitude

What I remember most about the Ruby Tower Earthquake is my mother and I running down the stairs and being flung from side to side. This happened on Friday, August 2, 1968. I had graduated college from Maryknoll College and was working in the Film Department of the National Media Production Center in Intramuros. The 7.3 magnitude earthquake hit at 4:19 a.m. and my mother woke me up and we ran downstairs and out the house. (We always left our houses when an earthquake struck; and I suppose this was to avoid being trapped should the building collapse.)

Monday, October 14, 2013

Sadly, Santo Nino Basilica lost its Belfry in the 7.1 Philippine Earthquake

Here are pictures of the Santo Nino Basilica in Cebu with its belfry intact. I took these pictures last July 2013.  I'm also posting a recent picture of the damaged Santo Nino Basilica.

While I realize the recent Philippine earthquake has caused more serious catastrophes (people have died, and other churches in Bohol have collapsed and cannot be saved), I have a special attachment to the Santo Nino.  It was here where my mother danced her prayer when I was newly born and dying from beri-beri.  My mother credits the miraculous Child Jesus of the Santo Nino Basilica for my healing.

Read also:
FEMA Information - Re Bohol Philippines Earthquake 
Remembering Destructive Philippine Earthquakes - 1968 & 2012
Bohol, Cebu, Visayas, Philippines hit by 7.2 Earthquake
Walking tour of old Cebu
Pictures of Historic Cebu - 1
Pictures of Historic Cebu - Santo Nino Basilica - 2
The Jesuits in Cebu

Very sad,

Bohol, Cebu, Visayas Philippines hit by 7.2 Earthquake

This news is developing: Bohol, Cebu and the rest of the Visayas in Southern Philippines has been  hit by a magnitude 7.2 earthquake, Tuesday morning, Philippine time. Check the links below for updates.

 Santo Nino Church, Cebu

"More Than One" - travel photos by Cecilia Brainard

"More Than One" - photos by Cecilia Brainard

I took these pictures from different parts of the world. Something about the "repetitiveness" caught my eye.

I hope you enjoy them.


Sunday, October 13, 2013

My Cannibal Pitcher Plant Caught a Fly!

My Cannibal Pitcher Plant Caught a Fly!

Oh wow, my carnivore pitcher plant caught a fly!

Take a look at these pictures.  My son gave me this pitcher plant, which he had bought at a museum shop. It was very small when I got it. I re-potted it (we named him Seymour) in a bigger pot. For a week or so Seymour sulked and threatened to die, until I learned that he's a bog plant and loves to be wet. I put a bowl underneath the pot so he's soaking in water at all times. Seymour is used to spartan swamp conditions and he hates fertilizers and minerals. His water must be distilled water. I also keep a spray bottle with distilled water and spray Seymour in the morning and at night. He sits above my kitchen sink and gets nice filtered light from the picture window.  Before long Seymour started to have new shoots and is thriving.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Interview of Cecilia Manguerra Brainard about Creative Writing Plus Random Cecilia pictures

Good morning, dear Readers,
I found this set of questions and answers for an interview I did last May. I can't find the name of the person who interviewed me, but here are the questions and my answers. It's about Creative Writing.

I've included some recent pictures taken in Brazil and in Cambra, just for fun -- they really don't have anything to do with writing per se, so don't look for a connection.

Have a great weekend,

1.      How do you find inspiration?
Most of my writings have been inspired by what I call my Filipino experience, referring to the time I lived in the Philippines, from birth until the time I left for America.  I grew up in Cebu and wanted to write about some of the personalities I knew there.  I also wanted to write about interesting moments of my life, such as the time my father died. There were stories about people in Cebu as well, teenagers I grew up with, or people who were different and whom we saw, for instance, there was a woman whom we called a witch, or a woman who was said to have horns on her head.

My novel, When the Rainbow GoddessWept, is about a coming of age of a young girl named Yvonne during World War II in the Philippines. The novel is a work of fiction, but the stories that my parents told me about World War II inspired me to write this story, and some of their experiences are recorded in the novel.

I’ve also written about my Filipino American experience, referring to the time I have spent in America.
Some of these writings are non-fiction, meaning the writings try to be factual; others are fictional, meaning I’ve used the inspiration but have changed information so it’s basically just made-up.

More re inspiration: Sometimes, I feel compelled to write about memories, about interesting people I’ve met or known, about places I’ve been to, about an interesting moment that I find myself in.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Fiction by Guest Blogger, ERLINDA KRAVETZ, "Song from the Mountain"

Dear Readers,
For your weekend reading, we have a Guest Blogger, Erlinda V. Kravetz, author of Krystal Hut: Stories. It is available in paperback and e-book from, Barnes & Noble, Baker & Taylor, and other online book retailers.te. ~ Cecilia
Enjoy Song from the Mountain, a short story from her collection, Krystal Hut: Stories. The story is also part of the collection, Fiction by Filipinos in America, edited by Cecilia Manguerra Brainard, which is available in Kindle and Nook.

Introduction to the short story, Song from the Mountain by Erlinda V. Kravetz

          These stories were culled from the scores of short stories I’ve written over the years starting in the late 80’s when I gave up journalism to write fiction.
        I had always wanted to write fiction but I also had to make a living. Journalism was a happy and serendipitous compromise – it allowed me to write, meet all kinds of people, travel, and collect experiences.  All those people  (they had to be, in one way or another,  ‘newsworthy’ to deserve a write-up) I met in my reporting career stayed with me and fed my imagination. As a graduate student and, briefly, an employee of the United Nations, I had also met and befriended - in addition to many Americans, one of whom I married  -  Latinos, Russians, Chinese, Japanese, French and others from all corners of the world.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Short Story by Cecilia Brainard - 1943: TIYA OCTAVIA

This short story is set in the Philippines during World War II. It is part of my collection, Vigan and Other Stories (Anvil, Kindle, Nook). This short short, or flash fiction piece uses the Second Person Point of View, which is unusual.

by Cecilia Manguerra Brainard 

You dream of fried bananas, sizzling hot in bubbling coconut oil, golden brown, its sweet aroma bringing back childhood memories of your mother in the kitchen — happy times. With a metal spatula, you lift the banana-halves from the wok and roll them in a mound of precious sugar. The irresistible sight of the white grains of sugar clinging to the red-brown surface make your mouth water, pushes your sister's words out of your mind: "No matter what happens, don't leave the house." Ever since the Japanese occupied Vigan, you have not eaten fried bananas. Meals consist of sweet potatoes, cooked with mongo beans, dried fish, and coconut milk. You're fortunate, you realize that, because many have only watery soup to drink.

Filipino American Authors - HOT OFF THE PRESS LITERARY READING, SUNDAY, Oct. 20, 12:30-1:30 pm

INVITATION TO THE HOT OFF THE PRESS LITERARY READINGS, moderated by Cecilia Brainard, part of the Second Filipino American International Book Festival in San Francisco:

Filipino American authors will read from their recently published books on Sunday Oct. 20, 12:30-1:30  p.m, at the San Francisco Main Library, 100 Larkin St. (at Grove), San Francisco, CA. The event is free.

There is also a literary reading on Saturday, Oct. 18, 1:45-2:45 p.m. (see their names below).

This invitation highlights the Sunday Readers.  Here are the bios of these talented writers and links to their websites. You can get signed copies of their books from Linda Nietes of Philippine Expressions, tel: 310-514-9139:

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Filipino American Authors - HOT OFF THE PRESS LITERARY Reading, Sat. Oct 19, 1:45-2:45 p.m.

INVITATION TO THE HOT OFF THE PRESS LITERARY READINGS, moderated by Cecilia Brainard, part of the Second Filipino American International Book Festival in San Francisco:

Filipino American authors will read from their recently published books on Saturday, Oct. 19, 1:45-2:45 p.m, at the San Francisco Main Library, 100 Larkin St. (at Grove), San Francisco, CA. The event is free.

There is also a literary reading on Sunday, Oct. 20, 12:30-1:30 p.m.(see names below).

This invitation highlights the Saturday Readers.  Here are the bios of these talented writers and links to their websites. You can get signed copies of their books from Linda Nietes of Philippine Expressions, tel: 310-514-9139:

Monday, October 7, 2013

Hangtown Fry: Omelette with Fried Oysters

In Cambria, Central Coast, California, there's a restaurant called Moonstone Beach Bar & Grill that faces the ocean, and which serves the best Sunday brunch. They have complimentary champagne with their brunch, and the choices are fantastic. My favorite is the Hangtown Fry, which is omelette with fried oysters and a jalapeno cream sauce. Moonstone Beach Bar & Grill also serves the best little cubed potatoes that pop in your mouth.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Remembering the Woman in Amsterdam

Hi, I'm reprinting this - enjoy!

Remembering the Woman in Amsterdam

It's raining now and for some reason I'm remembering our trip to Amsterdam. We stayed in a studio apartment on the Dam Square. The location was great: we were on the top floor and from our window we could look straight across at the Royal Palace and below us was the square. The only hitch was that the building didn't have an elevator, which meant we had to drag our suitcases up six floors, and when we went out, we had to make sure we had everything we needed for the day. There was no going up and down to get the bottle of water you forgot.

I thought Amsterdam was wild. I don't know how other places in Holland are, but Amsterdam had a hippie-San-Francisco-in-the-70s feel. Maybe it was the pot and sex that were easily available. Clearly there were many young tourists who were in Amsterdam for those things. The older tourists like us took the canal boat tours, and went to the museums (Anne Frank's House, Rijsk, Van Gogh, and Remembrant's House). And because it's part of the tourist thing to do, we walked to their Redlight District, which was near the Dam Square.

Zebra and Elephant Seals in the Central Coast, California

It sounds fantastic but there are zebra in the Central Coast. William Randolph Hearst kept a zoo in the grounds of his Hearst Castle in San Simeon, which included zebra. Later the zoo animals were placed in other zoos, but the powers-that-be decided to keep the zebra (and some other animals) in the huge grounds of the ranch, free to roam with the cows. Sometimes, when you drive by the huge Hearst estate you will see zebra grazing, as we did yesterday.  

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Where the Pines Meet the Sea - Cambria, Central Coast, California,

Years ago, you could drive through Cambria without knowing a community existed behind the thick pine forest. Now, you can see some of the seaside village as you make your way North on Highway 1, although the pine forest remains. Cambria is halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, within San Luis Obispo County.

It has a population of around 6,000; but because it's a popular vacation spot, it has topnotch restaurants, shops, and hotels. It boasts of being "Where the Pines Meet the Sea."

Friday, October 4, 2013

Request for Prayers for Monasteries in Syria & Egypt

 Ma'loula St. Thekla in Syria; photo below shows Saidnaya; bottom photo shows St. Catherine's
This request for prayers for Monasteries in Syria and Egypt comes from an Orthodox nun, Mother Paraskeva:

"….. As you probably know, Syria and the surrounding regions (and Egypt) have been in crisis in recent months. An alarming consequence from the internal civil strife in these regions has been the focused persecution of Christians and the destruction of ancient Christian sites-- many ancient Orthodox churches and monasteries. (Incidentally, Syria is dotted with many holy Christian sites and places connected with biblical events.) As I don't know how well the media at large is covering the news of the immense sufferings of Christians in Syria and Egypt (and I suspect it isn't), I'd like to humbly call your attention to a few highlights for your consideration and prayer.

Not the least of my concerns about the violence in these regions are the sufferings of my fellow Orthodox nuns and monks: specifically, St. Thekla's Monastery in Ma'loula (Syria), Convent of Our Lady  of Saidnaya (Syria), and St. Catherine's Monastery in Mt Sinai (Egypt).

Cecilia Manguerra Brainard: An Interview by Daniel M. Jaffe

Hi, I'm reprinting this - enjoy! Since this interview I have had more books, visit my official website; but Daniel M. Jaffe's point of view is interesting, which is why I'm sharing this.

Talking Across the Table
Cecilia Manguerra Brainard: An Interview,by Daniel M. Jaffe 

 Cecilia Manguerra Brainard is one of the few authors whose first novel captured readers’ imaginations across international boundaries. Her novel about the Japanese invasion of the Philippines during the Second World War, was initially published in 1991 in the Philippines as Song of Yvonne (New Day Publishers).  Dutton brought the novel out in hardcover in the U.S. as When the Rainbow Goddess Wept (1994), and Plume followed with a paperback edition in 1995. University of Michigan Press then brought out another edition in 1999. This portrayal of a girl’s blossoming into young womanhood “interweaves realistic events with myths of women fighters and goddesses, as well as fantastic dreams . . . Brainard’s appealing characters are larger than life, people who change before our eyes, yet remain utterly convincing . . . A fast-paced, sensitively written first novel.” (Kirkus Reviews.)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Testimonies of Syrian Chemical Attack & Assad Continues Heavy Air Strikes

Even as UN representatives are now working to disarm the Assad Government's chemical weapons in Syria, the Assad government continues heavy air strikes in cities, including Raqqa. (The Syrian Revolution 2011 site gives up to date news.)

The war in Syria is far from over. 

Here are testimonies from people who survived the August chemical attack in Syria to remind us all of the awfulness of war.

Testimonies of Syrian Chemical Attack that happened August 21, 2013

From Syria Direct:

Testimony from a boy from the eastern Suburbs of Damascus
First thing, my grandfather lives upstairs, and we were asleep. The aircraft hit us and the voices were very loud. We woke up all of us, my brother went upstairs to tell my grandpa to come downstairs to escape from the gunpowder and the shrapnel.

They came down and as my brother was coming down he smelled the gunpowder and started to feel pain in his stomach, he started to throw up and was about to die, he started to have difficulty in breathing and died. They smelled the gunpowder smell and laid down on the ground. My grandpa was sitting in front of us and suddenly he laid down and his head hit the ground and he died, his wife was near him and she rolled on the ground also and died, my siblings also died, I was sitting on the sofa away from them, I stayed there.
Q: What did you do? I do not know, I do not know what brought me here.
Q: You could not do anything? I do not know
Q: Didn’t you scream? I started crying, crying and crying, what brought me here
Q: And you fainted and fell on the ground? NO, I DID NOT, I did not,
Q: And now, where is your mom and dad? They are dead.