In memory of Ursula Baher, a beautiful soul and defender of humanity
Ursula Baher, who on Facebook went by the pseudonym "Manuela Hochsteadt", passed away today, finally freed of the terminal cancer which she had valiantly defied, fighting to stay alive and realize her dream: to come to Syria. 

This dream was realized recently--thanks to Syrian individuals and those in the Syrian government who facilitated her visit and arranged for her artwork  to be shown in a gallery.

Ursula was a heroic and courageous woman, whose love for Syria and Syrians transferred to her amazing paintings, art which depicted the horrors of this horrific war on Syria and Syria's people and its defenders. She painted the unbearable scenes, but also the beautiful, uplifting, and noble. She painted the hypocrisy that are international platforms, corrupted and contributing directly to the war on Syria, and Syria's noble representatives rising above such loathsome hypocrisy. 

She painted, too, the beauty of life.

Her work touched so many lives. 

I'm so grateful to have briefly met her, spending an hour with her and her husband,  Marcel Berlina, in the old city of  Damascus. Her courage and strength in the face of a terminal illness was  humbling. Her spirit was inspiring. And she was simply a beautiful  person.

Marcel told me of Ursula's incredible bravery in the face of her terminal illness.

They had gone to the hospital in August, and the doctor told her that  she had a week to live, her liver had stopped producing bile. He had  told her her options limited to a surgery that wouldn't work, or faith in God. 

The same day she got news about her Syria visa and they  began preparations to come to Syria. She outlived her doctor's prognosis  by over one month. "I chose to have faith in Syria," she said.

Her suffering on earth is over, although she leaves behind many, many  people around the world who are sad at the news of her passing.

Deepest condolences to Marcel and their children. Your Ursula is beloved. 

She will be hugely missed. May her soul rest in peace. 

Some of her incredible art work on Syria, its people and defenders--the Syrian Arab Army and Syrian political figures--can be seen on her Facebook page.

Syrian media, SANA, wrote of her exhibition:

"Yesterday, Baher opened her exhibition under the title “Rising from  the Ashes” at Dar al-Assad for Culture and Arts, making her last wish to  showcase her artworks in the heart of Damascus a dream come true.

In a press statement after opening her exhibition, Baher sent a  message to the Syrian people in which she expressed her love to all  Syrians and her confidence that they have achieved victory because they  are right.

“My current health condition is critical, and if I die here, I want to be buried in Syria, the land of martyrs,” said Baher."

Of her funeral, Ursula's husband Marcel wrote:

"Time  and location of Ursula's funeral is given below. Instead of buying  flowers to the funeral I want to ask you to make a donation of your  choice for a good cause, eg a foundation to support the families of the  martyrs of the Syrian Arab Army, the foundation to help people fight  cancer run by Asma al-Assad or just any other effort to help the poor  and needy."

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