A little man

Is the world a good place to stay in?

I’d say Yes without hesitation, I don’t know how it works but I try to see the potentials in every situation I see. I don’t know why I was born in an educated family which believes in women rights and why other people were not. I do not understand its logic but it is our job to spread the word and change the world somehow.

Today I was with a friend in a business trip in a remote city, where there are few Syrian refugees. We were having tea after a long day in a café when he saw a boy he knew when he worked in a camp. The boy rushed to him and hugged him, he was very happy to see him. “Why don’t you come anymore!” he said “I missed you very much”. He was speaking in a very fluent Turkish with the local accent, if you hear him you would think he came from a village nearby. We invited the boy to our table to have tea with us, he was glad to join.

His name is Raafat, and he is 13. He looks like a little man and he acts like a little man as well. He was proud to tell me that he helped my friend in being his Arabic Turkish translator in the camp. He learned Turkish on his own God knows how! the waiter came and gave him a glass of tea, he added one small spoon of sugar, and explained to me that sugar is not good for health so he is trying to reduce his consumption

He told me he has two sisters who are older than he is and one brother who is taller than he is but he does not know who is older. And he is working in a car wash place to be “independent”, he earns 8$ a day which is “great”.

“And what about your school?” I asked

“I don’t want to go anymore; they beat me at school because I don’t know how to read. The teacher once shouted at me and hit me so I stood and looked in his eyes and said: no body shouts at me! Not even my father! Then I left school. I actually lied to him because my dad also beats me, like every day! Sometimes I don’t understand why, so I decided to get off his face and leave the camp so I can work and support my mom and sisters. At least now I am a king!”

“Why don’t you wash your car it is dirty?” he asked

“We don’t have enough money,” I said smiling

“I will wash it for you for free,” he offered with a very proud look. I smiled

He is a boy who loves to talk in a very hyperactive way.

“And what do you do with the money you earn?” my friend asked.

“I am trying to collect a lot of money, maybe 3000 liras (1000$) so I can get married!”

“OH REALLY!” we were both surprised and we laughed at his dream, he is just a child and he is not supposed to be thinking of this now!

“I will marry a girl I know but she is older than me, this will take me maybe two or three years or who knows how long to collect enough money. I was in love with a girl at my school but I was not able to offer her a house so we get married, someone else was. They married her off to that man, but men marry and divorce too many times, some of them even marry two or three women at the same time, but I believe that man should marry only one woman” Raafat said.

I was speechless with the issues this boy is discussing! It showed on my face.

“Aren’t you too young to talk about marriage?” I asked him.

He was too proud to admit that, so he gave me that funny big fat lie “I was older in Syria, but here I am young” I didn’t understand what is this supposed to mean.

Some boys are meant to be men too early. He was speaking openly like these are normal things in life and then suddenly smiled and said like a wise old man “hayat cok zor ya” which means “life is too hard”

The three of us burst laughing! Ironic.

I go back to my first question; is the world a good place to stay in?

I would still say yes it is.

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Raafat

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in a parallel universe

Lately, I have watched so many videos about the Syrian crisis..

Seriously that was just five years but I feel it has taken forever. I don’t remember how my life was like before war started.  I don’t remember who my friends were or how I went so easily to university.

In a 60 second film for Unicef they say

Five years is enough time to build a family

Five years is enough time to build a career

Five years is enough time to graduate from university

I wonder how my life would be like in a parallel universe where there is no war in Syria, maybe I would have been married and I would have a kid, or maybe I would have had my own design studio working in the domain I love the most. In a parallel universe I wouldn’t meet the people I know now, and I wouldn’t live where I live now.

In a parallel universe, I want to be who I am now but without the pain and loss I suffered. I want to know the people I know, but I also don’t want to lose the people I lost.

In a parallel universe I want to have this small of my own I have now, and I want to be able to cry openly  when I listen to a touching song, or when an emotional thing happen to me. I want to visit new places and meet nice people. I don’t want to waste years of my life waiting for something good to happen watching my life fall apart not able to do anything about it. I want to be a successful person.

In that parallel universe there are million possibilities for who I would be and what I would be doing. I always wanted to leave Syria even before the war, I thought I could be more free anywhere but home, and I always wanted to disappear somewhere in this world and cut all my roots, but what really happens when we have the opportunity to do that! We don’t do it, or at least I myself don’t do it.

If I can create a series of one day of my life in a parallel universe, I don’t know if I would choose to live this or not. it is hard to imagine how much you can bear until you live it.

I can’t focus on one idea related to the possibilities, because this takes me between my past and my present back and forth like the needle of a sewing machine. I feel now we are two separated people, I can’t relate to that girl.

The problem is, after five years people in my country still care who was wrong and who was right. I wish I can scream like a thunder and let them all remember it is their life they are losing. I wish I can remind them that our lives are more precious.

I was watching a great short film you must see as well, it made me think of parallel universes and me.

 

Can’t we be who we are without the pain?

I would love to answer this as yes, but that is not right.

 

The Pied Piper of Syria

I wrote once here that I will only write about hope… only hope will let me look at this white screen and type my letters… today I can’t help not to write, but not to spread hope this time .. to tell a story for humanity to hear…

Once up on a time in a city called Homs in Syria, there were many families who wanted to raise their children normally despite the war torn there and the tragic around them.  they taught their children about love and life. The sent them to school believing they can build a human not a fighter..

They didn’t know that in places like Syria humans are not welcome, if you don’t know how to carry a riffle or a knife you are not welcome. If you only know how to carry your book case, your drawing crayons and your little innocent hear, then you don’t belong here…

One day the “rats” invaded this city (exactly the way in the story we read when we were little kids). They were not like usual rats , not the kind we all know.. they looked like humans . they had heads and hands and everything except for the hearts and brains…

People of the town panicked and searched for a way to get rid of them.

They hea800px-Pied_Piper2rd once in their childhood about a piper who can lead these rats out of their city by playing his magical music… they couldn’t find him anywhere … but they still sent their kids to schools maybe they learn in the biology or chemistry or even in music classes something that helps getting rid of these human rats..

The pied piper knew about the rats problem but he decided not to help the city as he was betrayed before in Hemeline (like the German story) and after that happened to him he always played music for children and led them to his magical unknown land . he waited and waited in front of the school in Homs until the kids got out… he played his pipe music and led them to heaven … straight to heaven… he believed these children are like angels and deserve a better place than this ugly torn noisy place..

The Story in Syria had a sad ending… the children left their families and went to the unknown… the rats are still in the town scaring and frightening people … who knows what is waiting for the children who stayed there..

school children - victims of the terrorist explosion in Homs

school children – victims of the terrorist explosion in Homs

Oh wait.. I lied … that’s what I want to believe but the real story is; the children didn’t go with the pied piper like the old story …. The terrorists bombed the school .. 45 children died ,they had their bookcase with them and their morning sandwiches … their blood is now on the pages of their book instead of the colorful illustrations … the echo of their laughs and smiles is still in the school’s court yard and their moms’ hearts are bleeding of sadness instead of being proud of the future builders …. The piper didn’t take them to heaven but that’s what I’m going to tell their little friends who survived … my little girl please don’t cry .. your friend is now having a nice journey in heaven… if in the future you discover that heaven is also a lie please don’t hate me … forgive me because I was also lied to …

Shahd : a girl survuved the school bombs

Shahd : a girl survuved the school bombs

angry birds is NOT funny in Damascus

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Art work by Tammam Azzam

Today; the weather is cloudy with the chance of mortar rain… the temperature is much much higher than its average in this time of the year. It’s hot that your car might melt down in the street.

Every day the sky of Damascus throws tens of mortar shells randomly in the city. Sometimes it feels there’s someone playing angry birds… well.. REAL angry birds. it’s weird how the game becomes so brutal when it gets out of the screen.. When someone plays it for real and thinks if he kills all the birds and destroys all the stones he will go to heaven then. This is a surreal scene for how Damascus looks like in the day light. What’s more surreal? When you hear those who are shelling the mortars say they are doing this for the sake of the revolution and to emit this dictatorship then you see them shelling a kindergarten school bus.. Five little kids and their teacher are the dictatorship in my country. Another ironic picture is when you see the time of the shelling is exactly the same time when employers generally get out to their homes.. Really! Are those poor employers really a dictatorship?!  I am saying they are poor because most of the richies are now out of the country. Is this your idea about a revolution!

How much more do I have to worry about my fourteen year old sister because they might bomb the schools?

How much more do I have to run all my way to the hospital staring at the sky not at the road to see if anything is falling over my head?If this is your idea about revolutions!

Then really may you rest in peace Gandhi. May you rest in peace mother Teresa, may you all rest in peace great peace seekers lucky you didn’t have the chance to see those freedom fighters.

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a mortar shell on an elementary school in Damascus

Chemical, Chemistry, terminology transformation

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little girl has the true Syrian flag around her wrist

Chemistry,  to me .. this word that was always related to the magical world, to the stories of Alchemists who along thousands of years never gave up their dream of getting gold out of cheap metal. When I was a little girl I was surprised to see a blue liquid turning into fuchsia or orange and since then the word chemical has had a special place in my mind dictionary.

Today, was the day when this word “chemical” grabbed its luggage and moved from the “magical” words department in my head to the department of tragic horrible words.

“Chemical” is no more a word for pharmacy or agriculture or even industry, this word in my country is a keyword for death and destruction.

What made this terminological change in my head ? it was this

25 Killed by Rocket with Chemical Materials Fired by Terrorists in Aleppo Countryside.

Just today I could smell the dead bodies from Aleppo to Damascus. Staring at those faces.. what do they feel? Do they even still feel? is it the betrayal or the fear or the loss that hurt them the most.  I gazed into their faces for tens of minuets.. blank minds maybe just as blank as mine..

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Someone came from abroad promising of freedom.. and then suddenly he shows his fangs  and freedom seems to be a nightmare, a sick memory .. a man who lost a whole family, a little girl crying in a hospital longing to see a face she recognizes, a woman with dizzy eyes looking for her kids, and a soldier came from his poor village, left his old lonely mother and his young beautiful beloved girl, carried his rifle and a pride that none of the readers can imagine and then faded away in his way to defend the big homeland. 

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