Wine, Poetry, and Syria…

Poetry and wine. This was the name of my yesterday.

In Damascus, where you smell Jasmine everywhere, and you read the history of the world through the gate stones of the oldest inhabited city, someone decided to replace the Jasmine of blood and the history of the oldest city of some religious myths.

Bab Sharqi- Old Damascus

Bab Sharqi- Old Damascus

You read about Damascus everywhere, you see the battles and the dead bodies, you see different flags.. colorful ones and black ones , yet it’s not a matter of colors on the ground, it’s a matter of survival and control, not a matter of freedom rather than a matter of who will take the control on other people’s freedom.

An event is waiting for me in a small cafeteria that is lost among those old stones and the aroma of coffee, bread, jasmine which is the magic aromatic combination of old Damascus. A short walk from Bab Touma square to Bab Sharqi at night can be now my most huge wish, but I can’t fulfill it at present because the night bats are everywhere. Any way I had the chance to have this walk at about 3:00 pm which is not a quiet good time to have a walk in Damascus.

These streets are the main evidence for all love stories in Damascus. If you are a damascene you can’t walk there and not remember a thing, some people passed in our lives and left away, some left behind the borders and others left behind the line that separates the sea from the sky… only those stones and some of us are still there.. But when we will go, those stones will know other people and won’t be able to tell them about us.

I passed by the mosque and the church, you can see on the walls of the church a huge photo for the two kidnapped bishops..

I walked and walked, pretended to be calm when I passed near that cafeteria on the left, even stared at the table I used to sit on waiting for my love.. didn’t want to stop for a moment to see if someone else was sitting there, and as cold as Ice I had to go on…

I reached on time, my lovely friends also arrived, young men and women were there, different religions, different majors, different styles, and different political opinions, only wine and poetry gathered us…

Maybe it’s also wine and poetry that separated us somehow too… not literally of course, but it’s the concept of considering poetry and dance as arts or as a devil’s seduction that is Haram, The concept of seeing me as an independent free woman or a “jewel to be covered”…

In that old renewed space everyone said a poet he wrote, Syria was present in every word they said, it was our pain , our hope and our inspiration , Syrians are still able to drink wine despite the will of extremists , they are still able to love , and hold the hands of their beloved .. they are still able to speak up and scream, they are still able to sit together in a café but why can’t they sit together in a conference hall… I don’t know…

I think politicians must drink and start a dialogue.


Sham mahal cafe – poetry and wine event

5 thoughts on “Wine, Poetry, and Syria…

  1. I remember the picture of Bab Sharqi, I had been there.
    You don’t have to be a Damascene to remember those streets and alleyway. I wish I could go back to those memorable places…..

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