The days of November are the dearest ones to the citizens of a city which has offered many innocent souls in return for its freedom and it is still targeted by a regime whose military fighters escalate their raids in Idlib city to the extent they barely leave the city sky. In this month, great rites take place most important one is harvest time of olive trees which is considered the most enjoyable rite with its ancient inherited traditions from our ancestors being held as big common celebrations among the farmers and mixed with the joy of the bestowment of their agricultural green lands.
On the first days of winter cold breezes are the best suitable time to harvest olive trees where it is possible to decide its ripeness depending on the olives’ color and shape; olive which is 60 percent black is considered the best to produce olive oil.
Although sometimes the fruits of olive trees are few, contentment seems to be clear on Om-Mohammad’s face ( who is aged 46 years) once talking to her in our morning tour on the orchard belonging to the city citizens located in the outskirts of Idlib city just like a bracelet around the wrist, she told us:” Our feelings are linked to us always for they changed but with boon which is sometimes great and in other times little, we keep on satisfaction and optimism considering the future hoping its existence will be good to all the citizens who have suffered from long years in which they could not even look at their green trees”.
Although it is sometimes cloudy or rainy only after couple hours of launching the harvest so that the citizens become forced to gather their stuff and return home in a rush fleeing the heavy rain; however, fearing being targeted by warplanes is way terrifying to the extent launch break is cancelled although it may be a chance to regain that activity of the morning. That is why the work lasts from the morning to the evening with facing difficulty in harvest and being slow due to harvest count on the hands and the activity of the workers.
Olive trees need for continual care using the medications to fight the diseases that can affect the tree which recently have increasingly spread after aggravating the circumstances and missing medications in the markets which resulted in production being less than the previous years; Om-Mohammad said considering this “the land and the trees will give you as much as you give them”
Despite Idlib famousness of growing olive which considered the main economical source, the citizens suffer from several problems mainly missing factories for squeezing olive; because either they are closed for displacing their owners or being missing in unclear circumstances such arrestment or death due to shelling; ruined or threatened to be shelled.
Abo-Mohammad revealed to us proceeding his wife’s speech:” even in my city streets in can see olive trees enjoying people sight with their green color and fruits. It is an amazing kind of fruit since it can be squeezed or pickled”.
Olive being available makes it the first and basic dish to the citizens in addition to the tasty dishes made with olive oil.
By Bayan Alahmad
Translated by Sabah Najem