Faced with a blank page, I have suffered to write a single word for months now, and shortly thereafter completely stopped trying. It’s better, I suppose, to keep this confusion inside, to let it ferment with one’s thoughts, than to try to pen it down and exasperate one’s self with the lack of words.
Syria. It takes a lot nowadays to infuriate me, it takes a lot to drag me to a conversation or a debate about her state of affairs, it takes a lot to even interest me. Every word uttered comes with a familiar stench. From a far, and up-close she looks but a puddle of incest, at best. I tread carefully in, and then out again.
I came to this life as a little, and in hindsight, truly insignificant, triumph for two people who were otherwise defeated in every way possible. Two people who were being chased out of life, literally and metaphorically, and I was the middle finger they put out to the world, to others, to heaven and to hell.
One day, my father accepted his defeat, stepped out voluntarily with a boisterous laugh. He sat down with a glass of Arak, a notepad and a pen, and told them that they can have everything else. My mother, on the other hand, let herself be chased until that very last second. And myself? well, I watched.
I watched, as they were buried in the “Alawite cemetary,” as my uncle liked to emphasize. I watched as they built them a grand tombstone, in the shape of an open book, no less. As they wrote verses of Quran pleading with the lord to have mercy on their souls. And then I watched them marvel at a job well-done.
I can see my father smirking at the sight of his chosen resting place. This shall be the last of their defeats, but they really couldn’t care less anymore.
However much one cursed at the time, one realized afterwards that one had been in contact with something strange and valuable. One had been in a community where hope was more normal than apathy or cynicism, where the word ‘comrade’ stood for comradeship and not, as in most countries, for humbug. One had breathed the air of equality.
George Orwell – Homage to Catalonia
That passing moment of hope cost Spain 500,000 deaths. That is what I know.
I woke up to a generation defeated. A very small defeat, that is. One befitting our little and insignificant existence, but a defeat nonetheless. One that wasn’t of my own nor did I have a feeling it should affect me, but again, a defeat nonetheless. In fact, my generation never really tasted defeat, we just strolled along.
I read through Homage to Catalonia, and I catch myself telling Orwell, “I know what happens two years later. I know what happens after the defeat. I want to know how it feels before it. I want to breathe that air, to fire my gun once, and then you can have everything else.”
Il n’est pas de sauveurs suprêmes
Ni Dieu, ni César, ni tribun
Producteurs, sauvons-nous nous-mêmes
Décrétons le salut commun
Pour que le voleur rende gorge
Pour tirer l’esprit du cachot
Soufflons nous-mêmes notre forge
Battons le fer quand il est chaud