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First thing you get to learn through crisis is to let go To let go of your memories … you start to forget your old friends, the faces of your neighbors, the phone number of your first love, the promises you have made for them…
If you are lucky enough you then let go of the memory of your pain. You look back and just see vague images in your mind… like a gathering you and your friends have had in a cheap restaurant back in the days when you were all students. An image of the person you were. But with no pain.
To let go of your friends, of your beloved ones. To let go of your lovely things, of your properties.
To let go is a virtue, that can make one understand the abstract meaning of being one. We most of the times have a misunderstanding with our own selves about the meaning of being.. are we the things we have ? are we our pain? Are we our memories? Our hope ? our love? Our friends ? or are we the things we created ? I have no clue actually what am I and it always thrills me in any job interview that question “please, tell us about yourself” Letting go of everything may get you closer to who you really are. But I know one thing , that through this journey, Never let go of your dreams, and your smile.
In this occasion, I am letting go of these 2 paintings that really mean a lot to me and that I always refused to sell. I always thought that these paintings are me, the image of the inner me. Now I am letting go of that old me. I think I am free now. I am unattached. If anyone is interested contact me on my Email: btoolzalkha@gmail.com
name of the painting: me and my city

   name of the painting: me and my city

oil on canvas

oil on canvas

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a post that has no title, and no meaning

I am leaving this country as soon as possible…

A thought that filled my mind for moments. I don’t remember how many seconds or minuets or maybe hours I heard this sentence swinging between my ears,  In that place where I used to have a clear brain and smart ideas while now it looks exactly like Damascus; a complex of unfitting elements and colorless buildings.8f0471c7185d925a4d9326426cc3dd04

I am leaving… somehow somewhere. I only have this will now that is not figured out. It hit me just when I was running down the street of Babtooma (the old city) praying to god despite my agnostic belief to live one more day. I heard the noise of mortars near, I held my breath and held my friend’s hand. She told me that’s normal don’t worry it always happens here. I looked around, the streets were not crowded as always and there were that girl wearing a summer hat and walking slowly like nothing is wrong and talking on her cell phone. we were about to go to the main street when a soldier ordered us to walk through another way and stay near the wall… that is when my knees became weaker … why near the wall, because it’s safer. My friend kept telling me “that’s normal, why are you afraid?” … I knew that was normal, I mean for god’s sake we are in war and you never know when things can get crazy for five minutes and then it gets normal for the rest of the day… just five minutes that don’t matter in a normal day, but it can make a lot of change in a country like mine. It’s not that we make a big deal out of our time; we are people who can live ten years without changing our breakfast meal or the road we take to work, but seriously five minutes can matter more than ten years here.

While walking near the wall I told my friend “I don’t want to die today, or any soon” she smiled, then we reached the main square, ran to a taxi and got away of this place. My friend laughed at me and said I am a rabbit.I thought to myself, seriously why was I scared! I wasn’t like this before, it was just an ordinary mortar shelling like the normal days, but I am not the same anymore.

I realized that I want to live more and experience life… real life not this one I am living. I want to know how it feels to wake up and go to work not worried about which road has less snipers or less mortars.

How it feels to walk in a city that has no check points or soldiers.

How it feels to plan your vacation.

How it feels to stay out late in the night and be able to get back home without being worried?

How it feels to sit in a park and talk to a stranger without him wanting to know about your religion or your political views?

How it feels to take a photograph anywhere any time.

How it feels to be free, to be fearless, and to be light…

How to be happy… really happy without that deep deep feeling inside that something wrong may happen in any moment.

I always said; If you can’t be happy here, you can’t be happy anywhere, but everyone who ever knew me knows that I was never a sure person, never. But for now I want to leave and also I am not sure about that, not sure how, not sure when…

our sky knows it all…

  • Today I am sharing a post of a brave, sincere, beautiful soul from Syria. she had to stand face to face with her past and memories in the ruins of what used to be her home and her city Al-Hasakah which is located in the far north-east corner of Syria. A city where you used to find all Syrian colors and had a mixed population with the majority being Assyrians/Syriacs and Arabs , Armenians and Kurds.

    On her way back to Damascus, she only told that sky she was fascinated by about those days and how she felt…

    I am leaving you now with her words :

    It’s been a year and about three months since I’ve been here… And I can’t believe that the first thing i did the morning I woke up in Kamishli was to fix my flight reservation to go back ASAP. Today I woke up and I had plans to go home to visit nana (nana means grandma ) .. Seba and Elias (my friends) decided to join me so I don’t travel alone! They really didn’t have to, but it was so kind and generous of them to budge in. I didn’t want to go hadn’t my mom called nana and told her I was in Kamishli. When we got the station.. People started talking to us in Kurdish assuming and expecting us to answer back in Kurdish too.. I remembered that the same thing happened to us at the airport when we landed and wanted to take a cab to Seba’s office. I didn’t know what to feel or how to react. I didn’t understand what the man was trying to tell us and he refused to answer or explain in Arabic! That happened to me last time I was there too.. It still feels weird and uncomfortable.. And it feels like you’re a stranger in your own home. Seba found her way to get tickets for us to Hasake and we hopped on the bus while trying to joke about it.. When deep inside we were all puzzled with our feelings and thoughts. I was going home. I am going home; I kept repeating for myself, in a failure attempt to calm down and not be nervous about it. I knew the city was somewhat a wreck and I’ve read the news, saw the pictures and had myself ready to what I might be seeing. I had made my own expectations and tried to make them the worst. I closed my eyes. The weather was nice, a cool breezing was playing with the three clouds up in the blue sky. It was green all around. The yellow and white flowers were still shy and were gathered next to each others getting ready to fully blossom. My shuffled music system played “you can never hold back spring” a smile then started to make its way to my lips. After a little bit less than two hours ride, on a bumpy road and with exactly 11 checkpoints, only one of them for the regime and the rest were equally divided between the PYD and the YPG. Here we were 1km away from the city entrance. My heart started beating so fast and I forgot to breath for several seconds and when I sighed at the site of the kurdish flag covering what used to be the Syrian flag I noticed that I was frowning and holding my hands so tight together and pressing them against each others. The city looked so dusty, rusty, deserted.. Like an old man.. So tired of his fucked up life waiting in vain for his delayed death.. A call of mercy.. Or maybe waiting for a tender touch of a hand.. I passed by my old school.. The streets I grew up between its walls.. Here I laughed with my friends and talked endlessly.. And there I bumped my car when I was still learning to drive.. And there.. And there.. Shhhhhh stop!! I forced my self to! Seba held my hand.. She knew what I was thinking and feeling.. Our street had been mostly damaged after the last fight between the kurds and ISIS and the national defense force!! When we got to our block.. We both stopped.. And couldn’t look at each others faces for more than a second.. A couple of the people we grew up around were still there and surviving, they welcomed us and stopped to catch up.. I felt nothing!!! I got home and at the entrance I asked seba and elias to go walk around and i was suppose to see nana. I walked into the building.. It was dark.. I though i smelled my mom’s carrots cake! She used to make that every time I came home from Aleppo. I thought I heard her steps down to welcome me. I thought I felt my dad’s touch trying to carry my bag for me. I thought I heard Sara crying for me from above “allousheee my lovely what did you get me this time!!! “. I didn’t smell any cake, I heard nothing, I felt nothing.. And I didn’t even had a bag on me! I noticed that i had forgotten to breath again.. And that with each step up my heart beat faster. Nana was waiting on her door; when I saw her I felt a little better. She hugged me and cried. After sitting down with her and after seeing my aunt I asked them if I can go up another level to my home. Mom wanted shoes from her locker. The place was so cold. White sheets all over the furniture. The decoration was so different. My hands touched the walls and I pulled them back so quickly. I went into my room and didn’t find the cushions I had set with seba. I went into all the rooms. I wanted to cry and I couldn’t. I ran my fingers on the piano and It felt like touching a hand of an old friend only that friend didn’t remember me. I reached for my phone to call my mom but without thinking I called my precious. That voice was comforting and when I hanged off I closed the door and got down to eat kabab with nana and my aunt. It was the quickest lunch of my life and then I made an excuse to leave so soon saying that seba wants my help in translating few papers for the office. I decided to walk a little before I met Seba and Elias. Walking around Hasake i felt like a stranger. I knew no body and no body

    at last ... the way back to Damascus

    at last … the way back to Damascus

    knew me. I didn’t feel safe. And for a minute there I though I was walking in the set of “The Book of Eli” or “I Am Legend”. The face of the city has grown different as if it has sold its soul to the devil. I met my friends by our moms’ friend house. We had decided to visit her and have coffee with her. I live tant Entwanet she is the sweetest, but she too was tired and different. “I am not coming back soon” is all I could think of through out our visit. When we went back to the station to go to Kamishli I learned that I had dropped my wallet with my ID in it and that I am going to have to make another trip back here to get an alternative… That trip back, was even worse than the first one! Hasake for me now is a memory of a place that once made me the person I am today. For that I will always be thankful. But it is

    nothing more than that!!

My sweet November is my cold November this year

“In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.” I read this sentence somewhere and thought to myself … what! an invincible summer! ughhh … I’m sure this man never tried staying for one night in such a freezing room like mine in the university apartment. I always felt that winter is so romantic and dreamy BUT It’s so cold and the heating system doesn’t work … it looks nice in my room but it’s completely truly not working and that’s not romantic 😛  ..  The point is I can’t complain about being cold or having no fuel .. why? Because it’s a war issue … hmmm how to explain it… there’s that gas field in eastern Homs which is taken by ISIS or don’t know what troop because I personally don’t find any difference after trying to get it for almost three years .. so after  the gas field is occupied, the gas and oil company naturally can’t  sell any gas so naturally the electricity company can’t generate any electricity since the stations mostly  work on gas or fuel. So if there’s no gas then the stations will take most of the little fuel we still have in the country (after the mines are controlled by ISIS and its cute friends )  to generate electricity and then … there is no fuel for us to be warm … but … you should not complain because we are in the middle of an international war and you should be strong and hold on till the end because this is resistance … well … I don’t actually care…  because there’s an invincible summer n me -_- and I am waterproof and cold resistant, actually I am a robot … and guess what ? I never started any war but I should resist and fight in a war that is not mine .. and guess what else ? I don’t understand anything except that I love my warm water sack .. someone invented a rubber bag to be filled with hot water in case you have a belly ache but I use it to warm up and I appreciate the man who invented this silly rubber bag way much more than that one who invented the gunpowder …

I found a way of my own to feel better about this national international war resistance gas – electricity crisis and I’m not going to complain (except here on my blog 😉 ) but not because of resistance or strength or anything.. I just won’t . I don’t find it classy to complain 😛

To tell you the truththings are not that bad for me  but I wrote this note to show some of the little unimportant scenes behind some news headlines like :

“Syria army retakes gas fields from jihadists” Or vice versa. it’s the real scenes that should be thought of and archived not these silly hollow news headlines.

76

a thousand days and two lives.

a thousand nights have made me older … colder …

I can’t remember how it all started. it feels like a nightmare..

when I look at my past I feel I’m two people or maybe I lived two lives, one before the crisis and another one after it started… that one before is a long long time ago …

now I’m there in my room watching some pictures of the old times in Damascus … yes it’s a thousand days that feel like a thousand years …

this picture was taken in days like these four years ago near Christmas time. this years no lights will be lit …

in order to build you need years and years but in order to destroy , you only need moments.. will I see these lights again in Damascus ?

Damascus Christmas before we import "Democracy"

Damascus Christmas before we import “Democracy”1293291882

 

I’m such a drama queen!

Just today, I’ve been counting.. It’s been exactly twenty days since the last time I went out of the suburb I live in.. I live in a suburb that is near the front line of the confrontation. So today I thought I need to be in Damascus.. I am actually in Damascus but I meant Damascus that small old spot.. the old city ..

Image

a Bus accident caused by the highway sniper

The suburb has 2 ways to the city and they  both now give you the chance of being under the snipers  fire.. one of the roads is completely closed by now since the rebels won’t let anyone pass and leave with his complete body organs,  yet the army isn’t doing anything about it for now.. so I had to be going down through the highway that was once an international highways .. I took the bus, sat next to an old man who was reading Qur’an in the bus to spend his time because who knows how much we will have to wait on the checkpoint. Right after you cross the checkpoint you become in the danger zone, I felt strange at that moment and I thought to myself, this may be the last thoughts that cross my head , if I ever got back home I want to write… this is what I thought of.. then I said Oh I’m such a drama queen.

In the bus there was a young guy who was going to meet his girlfriend, you can see that in his eyes , in his smile when he was talking to her on the mobile phone..  yes some people can still be in love!

The driver was telling a man next to him how lucky he was although he lost his 20,000$ car but he was happy he still can walk on two legs after he was kidnapped by angry rebels, rebels took his car as a payback for fighting the government , or else he should have fought with them to serve the revolution. He was a bit sad for losing his “life earn” but smiling he said : I’m thankful I’m still alive.. I don’t want to fight

An old woman wanted to get into the bus but there were no place ..so a man stood up and gave her his place, yea these people still exist .. and guess where! here in Syria ! where some people kill and slaughter … those people in the bus all have these deep brown eyes.. they are simple people who really tell you a story in their eyes.. weak , weary , and yet they still want to keep their good manners alive. Everyday many people died by the sniper’s fire on the highway .. no one could know where he’s hiding.. and yet , men and women  are still going to their daily works. I think no one can stop life here, they may change its shape, darken its color, but never will stop it.

Staring through my window at the destruction around, and thinking of that bus driver .. well yea there are replaceable losses and irreplaceable losses .. this man can’t be sad for his “life earn” as long as it’s replaceable , as I can’t be sad for this governmental building as long as it’s replaceable .. but 230 coffins I saw on 27-9-2012 in a hospital passage are irreplaceable .. 230 coffins I walked along looking for the coffin I wanted to be next to and cry over..

Ah the bus stopped, at last I’m there ..I didn’t die of snipers..

Oh I’m such a drama queen.

Image

a destroyed governmental building on the northern entrance of Damascus