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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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…

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.

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Same stories, different faces.

“My friend Somar, you are alive and soon you’ll be among your family and friends… I am sure of that… Sure I will see you again”

That sentence above was written by a friend of mine on another friend’s Facebook wall. The guy was supposed to be in “Jobar” a place which was bombed yesterday. They couldn’t hear anything from him since then. The words written reminded me of another guy named “Humam”, an old friend of my brother.  When I mention his name I recall his picture as a little boy. He was a very short boy, much shorter than my brother which made him always look younger than the rest of the boys. He used to come over wearing a white shirt usually and black pants with his brown hair tidily combed from the right to the left like the old days. His white pale skin makes you feel he’s sick maybe or he needs to eat more. It always caught my eye how organized that boy was, how he rides the bike with his straight spine and how he folds his handkerchief gently and slowly, unlike the other boys. I never actually thought this little white rabbit is going to be a strong grown up.

Unlike my expectations, that little boy became a strong grownup with a little mustache and a beard. I saw his picture on Facebook. I said smiling “Oh look who’s become a big man now!” then I noticed he was carrying a riffle maybe longer than the boy I used to know (him). I knew later that he was one of the guards protecting Al Kindi Hospital in Aleppo.  The comment below said “the present absent, Humam, we are waiting for you… your family)… I was frozen for sometime, my eyes were hanged on the comment and couldn’t say a single word. I haven’t seen him since a very long time but… that was different. Humam was also “lost” after the big explosion of Al Kindi hospital. The explosion eliminated the hospital, nothing was left there. And Humam is “lost”. The stones of the hospital couldn’t stand against the flames but his family’s hope and faith could. They are still WAITING for him.

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Al Kindi hospital , the fourth largest hospital in the middle east for cancer

 Two months ago was Humam and today is Somar. Those who are “lost” may never get back. They may like their absence and obscurity. But who knows, they also may find their ways back. I hope the road is clear and lit for them to be back someday. I pray… 

 

Hard questions

As everyday.. I logged in my daily magazine which is facebook and scrolled down in my homepage, and as every day, pictures of martyrs from Syria were everywhere, pictures of blood and destruction that I almost got used to.

As I studied architecture so most of the pages I liked relate to art, architecture and interior so you can imagine the contrast in this homepage ranging from Antonio Gaudi and Zaha Hadid to Annusra front.

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above and down right, photos of destruction in Aleppo .
down left , an execution for two innocent Palestinians by radical extremists in Damascus.

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Zaha hadid project Dubai Performing Arts Center

So in one of these pages (interesting engineering) I saw this photo. It shows how some countries changed in a hundred years. The countries were USA, Emirates (mainly Dubai), and Syria. This photo grabbed my attention, it wasn’t actually authentic, I didn’t believe it but… I started reading comments.. It was amazing the amount of ignorance I found out, I won’t say that I know very much about Mali or Myanmar, but at the same time I wouldn’t curse randomly online or give an opinion in something I never read about it or never heard from all the sides..

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screenshot from (interesting engineering) facebook page

One of the commenters was surprised that Syria has cars!! 🙂 I didn’t know whether I should laugh or be sorry.

Then I posted a comment though I don’t usually comment on pages, I used to think that’s useless. “yes we had cars, factories, scientists, doctors, … and most important we had a safe life and a civilization that is more than 6000 years old, even our Islam was a better Islam. “

What happened after this comment? 121 likes for this comments and tens of inbox messages like;

Are you really from Syria?

You guys deserve what is happening for you in Syria because you threat peaceful countries like Israel “No offense”

Oh God bless Syria we are praying for peace in your country. (I still don’t know how prayers work in such a situation but I appreciate this)

But the question that made me really helpless was ;

“Please tell us what is happening in Syria.” I got this message from tens of people around the world.

I can write anything on the blank page of their minds, I could be as ignorant as those who were saying stupid things online as long as this person will never see me for real.

How hard! .. It’s not politics, not history, not media,, It’s our lives being discussed irresponsibly stupidly randomly on these pages..

What happened since 1900?? is it freedom? is it democracy?

naive question.. It’s OIL and GAS my friends.

And then they said; let’s Somalize Syria

 

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Being lonely in a dark room in a dark house located in a dark city is enough reason for me to write tonight. The whole city is drowning in darkness. I have nothing specific in mind but this blank page at least lightens the room a bit.

Electricity is down in the whole city, the laptop battery will survive for the next 30 minutes, and I don’t know how more I and my city will survive.

Tonight I’m not writing to tell the world anything

Tonight and in many other nights I spent hours staring at my reflection in the mirror, nothing is really clear but the Panda spots around my eyes because the candle light isn’t perfect if you want to feel your beauty.. Anyway beauty doesn’t really matter.. I was staring at my eyes that I hardly recognize..

I used to stare at people’s eyes when I’m in the bus or walking in the street.. it’s strange how you can know a lot by staring at these eyes, these helpless eyes..  these colorless eyes.. I recognized at this dark night that I have the same eyes now.

At first some Arab said : we will Somalize Syria..

It was something unbelievable for us, kind of funny.. I remember at that time I smiled and ironically said : ah as if we are Japan.. we are not really much better than Somalia.. Image

Then after two years , I’m here .. In the dark room of the dark house in the dark city staring at my black face and colorless pale eyes thinking.. I became like those people I used to look in their eyes.. and the word “Somalize“ is much worse than I thought..

my childhood questions about war to be solved

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On this cold evening, there’s still time for memories and some good oriental music (Naseer shamma). So the scene is like this, my laptop is in front of me, the sound of oud is near and tender, the sound of war is far a little bit but not as far as the sound of peace, I am staring at the white ceiling with a blank mind. Then this image of my memory popped up :

When I was a little girl there were that Chinese cartoon movie I liked very much and watched it over and over again. It starts with the daily life of a little family , two little girls and their parents.  They were naughty happy girls, until the war came to their city .. I remember how I watched this movie every time with tears filling my eyes for these girls. When the war came they had to leave their home which was taken by the enemy and I can see in my head now the part that made me always cry when the little sister died of fever because they couldn’t find a doctor or medicine for her.

Oh God! While I’m staring at the ceiling, listening to oriental music I recalled this Chinese movie that I used to watch FIFTEEN years ago .

At that time I always imagined these girls as me and my sister and maybe that’s why I cried too much watching that movie. I thought if war ever came to my country I’ll never leave my sister because she might die like this in the movie, if she dies I will die too. And I thought; what do people do in war , how do they live, can they still watch cartoon ? oh I wish war doesn’t come here because I love cartoon too much and if I had to leave I won’t be able to watch .

I am smiling now, cartoon and my sister were all that mattered at that time.

I still don’t have a full answer for that little girl that was me, but I know I won’t die when someone I love dies, I continue living stolidly , I wake up every day , look around , recognize where I am, and recall in my mind that they’re not there anymore ..  but dear little girl you may watch or not watch cartoon and that won’t matter much.

Dear little me, you may listen to music in war, you may sing, you may runaway, you may lose people you love, you may cry and be torn apart, you may die a thousand time and revive again, you may hide your head under the pillow when the clashes get closer.. you also may choose to stop feeling, you see a dead body and don’t show emotions but still cry when you watch a sad movie. You surely will become another person .. a stronger from the outside and fragile inside,

Dear little me, you will always have a tear waiting in your eyelid to be dropped, And you will always choose to keep it for you know you will need more tears in the future.

But keep it in your mind sweetie, you won’t die unless you choose to die, and this choice is always available.

displaced Syrian child

displaced Syrian child