The history of Syria is not a peaceful one, even before the current civil war, Syria had been ruled by the iron fist of dictators, the people suffering from heavy sectarian violence. Though the land it occupies has been home to people for thousands of years, the country of Syria is less than a century old, and herein lies the key to its bloody history.
All of the deaths, disappearances and instances of violence and torture that have affected my Syrian friends' lives should be fiction, could have been fiction if things had turned out differently. But since they haven't, these facts have had to be absorbed into the fabric of people's lives, just as the realities of life on a refugee camp have had to be.
As someone who adores new technology I'm not sure whether to be impressed or appalled by this new generation of 'live' carnage. I feel near helpless sat on a comfy couch, in a leafy green part of London, yet as a generation we have never been so empowered by the tools handed to us 'millennials'. But we are not helpless.
Saydnaya is a place of unimaginable terror. Even when you know about the numerous horrors that have already unfolded in Syria in the past half-decade, it chills you to the bone to hear survivors telling you what it was like to be in Saydnaya. The 30 or so former detainees we spoke to have been to hell and back.
The emotional torment of fleeing your home is not easy to describe. I remember arriving at London Heathrow airport like it was yesterday. It was a freezing cold December night and I could not think straight. I felt so sad and guilty at leaving my parents behind. But equally I was happy and relieved to be in a safe place. I never wanted to leave Syria. I never thought that, some four years later, I would have a new life in Yorkshire. What makes someone abandon their home and travel over land and sea for a better future? In recent days, there has been so much focus on refugees around the world. I am a 'refugee'. But first and foremost, I am a person.
Heads of states come and go and, as recent events in Europe show, in a rapidly changing world, that seems to be the only opportunity for compromise and peaceful transition toward the new global realities. Yet if Erdogan would still manage to eat his cake and have it too, perhaps to everybody's surprise, he will be able to surpass Ataturk's legacy too.
Building such community peace at the grassroots is not easy, and too often overlooked. But in 2017, with so much uncertainty about where governments are going, it is vital. And we need to make sure that the voices of all those who believe in justice and peace, and in caring for our planet, are heard loud and clear.