Investigations | 30 Nov 2014

Bashir from the Tartous countryside says: "I will not join the army reserve corps. I do not want to become another poster on an electricity pole."

Bashir's words to Rozana seem to express the thoughts on the minds of many. Had the number of those dead or injured been limited, they would have remained in people's memory. Yet with the figure exceeding tens of thousands, they have become nothing more than a fleeting memory, posters affixed under the electric grid lines, according to Bashir's words.

He continues, jokingly: "I do not want to my picture to obstruct electrical or phone workers, or to prevent them from climbing the poles."

Mahmoud, a worker in the electricity emergency department in Tartous: "You really cannot climb the electricity pole with so many posters of the army's dead. I slipped several times. Some families prefer to hang large posters with the image of their fallen one, thus covering a large area of the pole. This makes climbing it nearly impossbile without use of a crane."

He adds that, because of the limited number of cranes available at the emergency centers, workers are forced to hire ladders work on top of which is dangerous, causing falls and exposing workers to injury or death.

The worker concludes sarcastically: "If I were to slip and fall into my death, I will implore my family not to glue a poster with my image on an electricity pole; lest I cause another mortal incident!"

Municipalities Unable to Prevent Plastering of Posters

It is illegal to post an ad on the wall or to a lamppost without prior permission of the municipal authority. Offending material exposes its owner to a fine, or forced removal of his announcement.

Yet no one asked the municipality's permission to plaster the images of the dead; while at the same time, no fines have been issued to offenders.

The mayor of one Tartus village says: "Our village has circa fifty martyrs. The images of forty of them have been plastered onto electricity poles, which the families of the martyrs keep alight at night; thus increasing the municipal electricity bill."

The mayor concludes, that these parents have offered their children in sacrifice for the country. It is not right to prevent them from posting pictures of their children, wherever they wish to do so.

Stifling Electricity Crisis

Coastal residents, much like the rest of Syrians, are suffering a stifling electricity crisis. Power cuts and rationing hours reach up to twenty hours a day, while during the remaining four hours, emergency workers strain to ensure the continuation of the service to subscribers.

One of the engineers in the Tartous Electric Company, explains that the main reason for the electricity drop is the scarcity of petroleum resources that feed the power plant turbines. Additionally, infringements on the network and illegal electrical connections, as well as the lack of electrical equipment, such as transformers and the lines necessary for the maintenance of the energy transfer compound the problem.

The man additionally explains that, despite the regime government's efforts to keep the pro-regime areas outside the crisis experienced by the rest of Syria; the electricity crisis is much larger than the government's efforts to limit its spread to some and not other places. He adds: "If the authorities are unable to preserve the lives of their workers by preventing plastering the pictures of the dead on electricity poles; they most certainly will not be able to secure electricity for its people."

The engineer concludes: "It was once said that [it is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness]. Yet we in Syria need much more than that. Those who ignited war in Syria, have plunged us into a darkness that all the candles in the world will not light up."

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