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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Nothing to Prove

(on the occasion of this blog’s first anniversary)
While a storm was raging outside, I was celebrating my birthday alone in the privacy of my office on that winter night in 2006. Wrapping up what had been a long day at work, I sat sipping my cold beer while staring blankly at my laptop screen. Accidentally, I found myself on Google Blog Search. I was vaguely familiar with the word blog but had no clear idea what it exactly meant. I entered Tartous in that search box and unleashed the power of the beast. There it was staring back at me, a link on the very top, barely a couple of hours old. I was very lucky as I had had apparently hit a jackpot. For the next few days, and up until now, I followed the amazing travels of Juan Pablo Villarino, an Argentinean hitchhiker on his blog Acrobat of the Road [1]. Mr. Villarino is actually living a dream of mine, hitchhiking his way across the world. He briefly visited Tartous in February 2006 and wrote an insightful post [2] about his passage. I have trailed him since in his epic journey through Asia all the way to Laos. Over that time, I have commented just once on one of his posts. I was worried about him as he disappeared somewhere in Afghanistan. If I remember correctly, I scribbled a short note in the effect of: please blog something so that I know you’re alright. He did so a few days later and I was much relieved. Up until then, and despite the fact that I have been working with computers since 1982 (yes, I am a dinosaur after all) and browsing the internet since 1994 (through a dial-up connection to Lebanon) I had never chatted with a stranger. Thus, I felt a little guilty that I might be intruding on Juan Pablo’s privacy by commenting on his blog. During the entire month of March 2006, his was the only blog I ever read as I didn’t have the luxury of spending lots of time surfing for anything but work. I have never commented on any of his posts again. He certainly doesn’t know anything about me, nor heard of me. Yet, he was my inspiration to start my own blog later that year.

Eventually, by early April, 2006 I stumbled on Syria Planet [3] and was very excited to discover this underground culture. My early browsing of Syrian blogs led me to read those which were highly prolific, regularly posting on a daily basis. Initially, I accepted what I thought was courageous criticism of the local political, religious and social scenes on one or two of these blogs. But soon thereafter, in a matter of days, a certain pattern emerged in front of my eyes. These self-proclaimed “dissidents” were not just utterly boring, fixated and autistic; they were naked megalomaniacs, plain and simple. They had reduced Syria to an absurd dichotomy comprised of the regime and themselves. Their writings promoted the idea that everybody else, the vast majority of Syrians at home and abroad, can only choose between suffocating oppression or their cheap brand of prostituted freedom of speech. What a pity! As I had learned some long time ago to never give the local official media a second thought, I had no reason whatsoever to pollute my mind with this new type of psychotic delusional garbage. I never considered clicking their links afterward. I even suppose that I have blemished by own writing by mentioning them but I have to give credit where it is due, as they were also an inspiration for me to start blogging. I had no idea whatsoever what I would write about. I just knew what I should never allow my blog to become.

I took my first dip on April 24, 2006, and published a brief meaningless post. With no compass to guide me, I sought the moral assistance of a few dear friends living in the United States and Australia. I sent an email apologizing for not being in touch with them as often as I should have and telling them that I had started by own blog where I would try to post something every week. This way they would remain informed of what I was up to. My lifelong friends here in Tartous, those I see almost everyday, have still not heard about my blog. They might one day, but not from me. Blogging became my private hobby. I told my kids. They shook their heads and wished me good luck. Well actually, they were watching something on TV and I was in their way. I told my wife and she patted my back: “Good luck dear”, she said, “just don’t ask me to read your posts. I’ll do that on my own when I feel like it”.

Without hesitation, I named my blog: abufares said… the world according to a tartoussi. It had always weighed heavily on me that very little was written or known about my beloved Tartous. I thought that I could probably fill this empty niche. Slowly yet surely, comments started appearing, a few by my distant friends, others by total strangers. Super Hero [4], Mirzade [5], Ascribo [6], Ghalia [7] and Yazan [8] were among the very first to comment and I have to thank them and acknowledge that because of them I was encouraged to go on. They provided me with an early indication that “there is someone out there”. I had an audience but I had nothing to prove. During the past year I have written, admittedly, a little more than I thought possible or what I now deem appropriate. I would love to continue blogging as long as physically and emotionally possible but I must slow down a bit. I am not into making conscious decisions about the future but it would be more fitting to write once a week. I should not run the risk of boring anyone, including myself, although that might be too late by now. I have repeatedly written about Tartous, the city which forged my eternal identity. More and more is expected of me in return for all the favors Tartous has bestowed on me. I feel that I have managed to express my love for my city best so far in Gone Are the Olive Trees [9]. I have never imagined that I would be posting recipes, but the modest yet cheering comments I received on 100 Ways to Cook a Rabbit[10] veered me toward the kitchen and For the Love of Shanklish [11] eventually became my highest ranking post in terms of the feedback it received. Politics, a topic I detest by all accounts, crept on me and made me write Tom & Jerry [12]. It shouldn’t be that hard to deduct who Tom and Jerry are, according to a tartoussi, after reading this macabre account. On a softer note, I was better able to portray my own moderation in Average People [13] while, at the same time, clarifying my stand on war and peace. On Faith & Religion, A Visit to Seidnaya [14] briefly portrayed my relationship with God and my resistance to any canned interpretation or indoctrination of this relationship. I also wrote about the women in my life, or their absence, on several occasions. Down memory lane my friend strolled in 3 Love Songs [15] and I expressed my middle-age blues in the ramblings of In the Mood [16]. I also wrote about the ephemeral yet lethally attractive woman in The charms of the Passing Woman [17]. When I came to my senses, I paid tribute to the light of my heart, the love of my life, Om Fares The Wind Beneath My Wing [18]. My blog became more self-consuming and my first real personal post was in response to a commentator’s request. He wanted me to write about myself and I responded with Something About Me [19], a post I consider my very best yet by virtue of the memories it stirred and the profound impact this particular story had had on my own life.

The greatest pleasure derived from blogging though was the golden opportunity to cross paths with you. Within twelve months I have met some of the most amazing people ever. Most, I have never seen, a few, I don’t even know their real names but they have nonetheless become my friends. Karin [20], a woman of unrestricted enthusiasm, dedication and affinity for justice has done more good to the Palestinian cause and to Islam than most of us, Palestinians, Syrians and Arabs in general have. She is my friend and I’m so proud she considers me her friend as well. The Syrian Brit [21] a top-notch surgeon and physician living in England surprised me, and probably himself, with the many parallel lines we have in common. Like Karin, I have never met him yet. I don’t even know his real name. I read every single word he writes (although I wish he does more of it). I respect his sense of decency, his affection for his family and country and his dedication to his noble career. Shannon [22], a teacher of the English Language, is a sincere, hard-working American who reminds me of all the good honest folks I have met during my eight years journey of America. She, too, is a friend I have never met. Dubai Jazz [23] an expatriate Aleppine living and working in Dubai brings to memory my own homesickness when I was away. He also reminds me of my struggle(s) when I was his age. I admire him for his intelligence, his wit and his resilience in his quest for what is right and what is wrong. We are planning on meeting this summer and I will either teach him some bad habits or he succeeds in instilling in me some good ones. Most likely, it will be a combination of both. Yazan [24] and I have met over a glass of Arak in the mountains near Tartous. He is a bright young man with a promising future. I esteem his intensity, his compulsiveness and sincerity. Our meeting was too brief and I look forward more drinks and chatter. Chet [25] is a brother of mine across the oceans, across the mountains and the plains. Had I known Chet while I was living in Louisiana, I would have walked the distance to Nebraska to spend sometime together, on the front door of his trailer or in his favorite watering hole. We still have not met in person, Chet and I, but we will, one day. Soraya [26], her parents and I had dinner together one past summer night. She is a highly intelligent and sensitive woman. She writes from her heart, a heart as pure as snow and as big as Syria. Gray Fox [27] invited me not so long ago to Damascus. He has arranged a wonderful get-together of some Syrian bloggers. It was a great joy meeting all of them. They made me feel young again (although I’m not that old). I read Gray Fox very slowly like smooth Vodka and tremendously enjoy his writings, his dreams and his vision. Rime [28] an elegant woman with style and grace makes me wait for “her” politics despite my deep-seated aversion. Only a master such as her can tackle controversial political quandaries and get out on top. She loves her country and she is proud of who she is. When she attacks official Syria with hard balls she makes sure she does it, not from the sidelines, not from the dugout, but from her own side of the court. Another doctor I greatly admire is Abu Kareem [29], who writes excellent and readable political essays. We share more beliefs and values than we differ over circumstantial politics and I make sure to review his blog always. Razan, oops Sham, I mean Golaniya [30] brings warm laughter to my heart. She is spontaneous, she is smart, she is arrogant, she is modest, she is human. Had she been a few years younger, oops had I been a few years older, I mean … you know what I mean. I just wish she stops changing her penname, she’s making me dizzy. Writing from Montreal, an original ibn balad Damascene, Omar F [31] helps me fill some mental gaps I have neglected over the years. Whether by design or not, he excels in his role as the modern Syrian intellectual. I often crave a glass of wine, although at times something much stronger, after reading one of his posts. There is yet another Omar S [32] in Canada and I always read his delightful, lighthearted, easy flowing, unpretentious posts. He constantly succeeds in transforming me into a college kid and I tremendously enjoy this momentary transition. Canada is home to still one more blogger I regularly follow and appreciate. Ihsan [33] scribbles about everyday experiences or his reflections on the “Ghorbe” inside us all with compelling dark humor. Arima [34] who describes herself as “a mix of Egyptian and British genes” puts me on the line every now and then with a thought provoking tag or a far-reaching post. Although I have never seen her, but would love to, I imagine her as a woman of exceptional Egyptian beauty. Blogging is certainly dull if some of the comments do not challenge the writer. Lujayn [35] makes sure I do not get away with everything, especially when the topic is reservedly divisive. For some reason I enjoy disagreeing with her. She keeps me on my toes. Restless in Dubai [36] celebrates life on his blog in all of its triumphs and pitfalls. He is not afraid to be sensitive in the open, an attribute we should all learn to emulate and respect. I have also learned more about Ascribo [37] by reading his posts than by knowing him as my nephew. When I returned from the United States he was a toddler still. I was lucky to witness his first steps, and now I am proud of what he has become. I can rest assured that as I grow older and my health gets frailer, I will always have a Doctor in the house. Angel [38] should write more often on her charming blog. However, when she comments on mine she does so with such a feminine flair that I immediately think of losing some weight just in case I should run face to face with her one day. I am certain that I have failed to mention many other wonderful persons I have come to know through their blogs or on my own over the last year. This, however, is a shortcoming of mine and does not reflect their degree of importance to me. To all, a big thank you for writing and being a part of my daily life. I also appreciate the fact that you are reading me. I have the common sense to acknowledge that I do not make sense all the time. But at least I know that I try my best to remain the honest and candid person I have always been.

Blogging has helped me come to terms with some of my own unexposed traits. By putting thoughts into words, by publishing them on the internet for all to read, I have become a more content person. The effect is therapeutic as blogging has made me realize that my true self is acceptable to (some) other people. Their acceptance is not tinted by any material or conditional advantage. They are reading my blog because, apparently, it has touched them in some way. There is no greater reward than this realization.

Another tremendous personal gain I reaped out of blogging is ascertaining my own identity, as a Tartoussi, a Syrian, a Levantine, an Arab, a Muslim and a human being. A troubling trend has been gaining momentum in the last few years, encouraged by the State of Israel and the current US administration, that of planting seeds of doubts and shame in the collective psyche of the population of the Middle East and North Africa. This troublesome trend worries me as it has one of two possible outcomes. If the plot reaches some of its objectives then we are likely to go through rough seas in the near future. Every social minority, every religious sect, every extinct creed living now in arguably relative harmony will jump at the others’ throats. Just observe what they have done in Iraq and learn. If the scheming fails it might be more likely because it had stirred the dormant fire of religious fanaticism as a self-defense mechanism. Up till now, it is my belief that “most” (certainly not all) of the “terrorism” they keep complaining about has come about through the making of their own hands and the scheming of their own minds. In the 6-volume novel “Dune” by Frank Herbert (1920-1986) [39], the Fremen’s Jihad eventually toppled up the entire universe. The Fremen [40], a simple yet ferocious people belonging to tribes of the desert lived in deplorable conditions similar to what the State of Israel and the current US administration are forcing on the Palestinians and the Iraqis today. Similar also to what they are trying to impose on the other “tribes” of the region. The West (in general) is using the word Jihad too loosely, underestimating what it really implies. A true Jihad, if it ever catches momentum, could well change the face of the earth. Only if they knew what lurks inside the magic lamp. I might never know for certain my exact ancestry, and frankly I could care less. Being a Tartoussi for at least 6 generations past on my father’s side and from the alleys of Damascus’ Quanawat on my mother’s side, it could well mean that I have at least Phoenician, Byzantine, European and Arab blood running through my veins. But here I am at this very moment ascertaining in English that I can identify myself only as a present-day Arab. This is an identity worth defending as are all the other ethnic identities in existence. Even if I fear the risk of offending local minorities in Tartous, Syria, the Levant and the entire Middle East and North Africa I would say it still: You, I and everyone else living here, has the Arab identity tattooed all over their faces. It would be much easier to engrave it in their hearts as well instead of futilely resisting a simple fact of life. We are all Fremen after all.

I might have exhausted my welcome with this unusually long post. However, after one whole year of blogging and 117 different posts, after dozens of pictures and thousands of words, after the recipes, the personal thoughts, the politically one-sided essays, after the drinks and the passing women, after my devotion to my family, my love to my city and my total commitment to a just cause, after I inhale Syria with every breath I take and BEFORE I close my eyes every night, I still have nothing to prove, obviously not to you and certainly not to myself.

[1] Acrobat of the Road, [2] The Transit from Egypt to Turkey , [3] Syria Planet, [4] me and others, [5] Maya, [6] Thinking Aloud, [7] Cocktail, [8] My Stupid Corner , [9] Gone Are the Olive Trees, [10] 100 Ways to Cook a Rabbit, [11] For the Love of Shanklish, [12] Tom & Jerry, [13] Average People, [14] On Faith & Religion, A Visit to Seidnaya, [15] 3 Love Songs, [16] In the Mood, [17] The charms of the Passing Woman, [18] Om Fares The Wind Beneath My Wing, [19] Something About Me, [20] Munich and a little bit of everything, [21] Syrian Brit, [22] The Shannonsphere, [23] Dubai Jazz, [24] My Stupid Corner, [25] Just Wondering, [26] Syrian to the Bone, [27] The Earth Becomes My Throne, [28] Mosaics, [29] Levantine Dreamhouse, [30] Decentering Damascus, [31] Deconstructed Life, [32] Earth to Omar, [33] My Thoughts & Notes, [34]Ha Ana Za, [35] Simply Lujayn, [36] Restless in Dubai, [37] Thinking Aloud , [38] Transparent, [39] Frank Herbert, [40] Fremen


Lujayn said...

A sweeping insight into what makes you (and your blog) tick. I also like the idea of the one-year assessment.

Thanks for sharing, Abu Fares. You are a thought-provoking, challenging blogger/man, so the toe exercise is definitely mutual.

Karin said...

You did it dearest friend .. you really did it - I am struggling for words! Your absolutely stunning post(s), your kind words, your honesty, reflections - all that makes me feel so humble though more than happy to know you (even though "only" over the net though SKYPE is a GREAT gadget and shrank the distance almost to a "0"!).

It is YOU as person who makes your blog so very very special ... your way of looking at things, your brilliant way of expressing yourself, your eloquence, your empathy and sensitivity, your honesty ... your most beautiful soul ... YOU!!

Thank you so very very much for the kind words you wrote about me ... I do hope I deserve all that!
For me you were the first Syrian I ever got to know. I didn't know more about your country than the basics and even less about traditional foods, customs ect. It was YOU who opened this door for me, who introduced land, customs and people in a most wonderful way and who proved beyond any shadow of a doubt to be the BEST AMBASSADOR your beautiful country can possibly wish to have!

I feel happy and very honored you call me a friend to be able to say, you are one of the VERY FEW "best friends" I have!

Thanks so much Abufares ... for EVERYTHING!

Yazan said...

Abu Fares,
In one year, u have managed to create a place over the internet where we all can just come and lose ourselves with every new posts. Your like the Syrian bloggers asylum, we forget our silly causes here, and our superiority and the rest of complexes... I love the human feel of this blog, I love how you syrian, how human it is.

kul 3am w enta be kher ya sadee2y abu fares.

Unknown said...

first of all, welcome back Lujayn. i value your input tremendously, but you should know that by now. i look forward reading more of you and celebrating many coming anniversaries as friends through the written word.

Unknown said...

Karin my friend.
what can I say? You just made the whole year worth it with just one comment.
Thank you for being one my side. It's so comfortable knowing that.

Unknown said...

Hey Yazan
Calling me a Sadee2 is an honor and privilege. You give me a feeling of safety and security when you tell me that you find an asylum in my blog. To come into terms with our true identity is to be human. It's as simple as that.
I love to always hear from you, here or on your own blog.

Torstein said...

Dear Abu Fares

Thank you for your long post. Being an infrequent reader of your blog, you directed me to another few good posts that I hadn't read. Yours is the one blog from Syria I follow the most, despite several good blogs out there, maybe also because you are from Tartous where I have lots of friends :)

The one thing I do find a bit difficult, although I do not think you mean it like that considering your earlier posts, is the blame you attribute to the condition of the Middle East at the moment. I would be the first to point the finger in the same direction you do, but at the same time, placing all responsibility elsewhere is always dangerous as it makes ourselves blame-free and unable to do anything about our own situation (or as in Israel's case, allowed to do anything they want because they are the "victims" after all). And even when we can explain a problem by someone else's actions, it does not excuse our own actions.

But not intended to start a political debate :)

Thank you again for a great blog and good luck for the next year!
Oh, and thanks for the tips on the hummus a while back. It will soon be up to Syrian standards, inshallah.

Unknown said...

Dear Torstein
Thank you for your comment and I truly appreciate your extremely thoughtful interjection. I would never blame somebody else for all the problems we have in the Middle East. However, in the two particular instances I've mentioned, Palestine and Iraq I'm certainly blaming Israel and the current US Administration. They are the "clear and present danger" to borrow from their own vocabulary. My attitude is not to allow ourselves to become victims but rather to confront danger head on.
I'm glad my Hummus tips proved useful. Here you go, something good came out of my blog after all.
Thanks again for dropping by. My pleasure.

Dubai Jazz said...

Abu Fares;
Happy anniversary; I am sure that almost everything I am going to say will be a repetition of all the well-deserved and spontaneous praise I cast on this blog earlier .. you know that I am a big time admirer of this blog (and his owner) I am just going to say THANK YOU SIR for everything, for illuminating our ghorbe, for all the valuable info, for the recipes (although none of them has materialized as far as I am concerned), for the counseling and for just being you...

I couldn't say it better than Yazan, your blog is a refuge, a niche of peace...

Dubai Jazz said...

forgot to say; the only bit I disagree with in your blog is the 'nothing to prove' bit. you proved a lot of things my friend. :))
any clue what happened to Naji?... when you referred to the Shanglish post, I couldn't help but to remember him.....

infinit reality said...

and we are all winners by having you blogging the Tartoussi way. thanks for sharing...yep nothing to prove, but many things to share....
thanks Abu Fares for the sharing

Unknown said...

Hahaha..kil hadol ana??
Tli3t mal3uneh w mani khabar, actually 3andi khabar ;-)
Been thinking about the title of your post: "Nothing to Prove"..
You might not trying to, but you sure proved a lot to me ya Abu Fares.
I'm honored you think of me this way, including the "arrogant" part ;-)
Happy birthday The World According to Tartoussi..

Unknown said...

Abufares it has been a pleasure reading your posts over the past year.

Hands down you are one of the most skilled writers in the Syrian blogosphere. I'm always waiting to see a new post pop up on my google homepage, because I know it's going to be a good read.

Happy blog birthday :)

Anonymous said...

I am a Lebanese expatriate who has been living in Canada since the early 90’s. I have been following your blog for several months now. Although I never left a comment on your blog before (or on any other blog for that matter), I feel compelled today, on this first anniversary, to send you a few words and let you know how touched I am by your writing.
By reading your brilliant and insightful posts, I am able to get glimpses of your beautiful soul. For that I am thankful. I am also able to get glimpses of some of the most radiant faces and beautiful facets of Syrian culture. For that, I am even more thankful because – like many Lebanese growing up in our war-torn and tormented country – I came to distrust and fear anything related to Syria.
Since then, I have learned to look beyond barricades and smoke screens, to listen beyond empty political discourse, to reach out beyond narrow sectarian identities and to connect with genuine people such as yourself.
As a true neighbour (although many thousand miles away), as a fellow Levantine, as a fellow Arab and a fellow human being I salute you.
Keep up the good work!


KJ said...

The greatest human achievement is the power of expression through words.

Although I am recent to your blog, I am hooked, and I am happy for you that you have made your mark someplace in this world and have affected people's lives (merely making me visit your blog is enough for example), when so many people just let life go by without trying to keep some sort of token where other people would remember them by.

Congrats Abu Fares! And don't worry about age. Leave that to turtles.

Shannon said...

Abu Fares, Thank you so much for taking the time to write the story of your blog and, of course, your kind words. I stumbled upon this blog quite by accident, (as I kinda did other Syrian blogs- I was really just curious about the lives of modern Syrians) and I've been addicted ever since. Your posts are not only brilliantly weaved but have a beautiful human quality that truly does inspire hope. I always look forward to your posts and am happy to call you a friend as well.

Syrianita said...

Dearest Abu fares
I really really wish if all men are just like you, I truly respect you so much.
I love you and love your amazing blog

Happy blog anniversary and may you keep on blogging till I get 80 :)

Unknown said...

Hi Dubai Jazz
Welcome on board. Every time I post I have you and many other friends in mind. I'm not just
saying that to be nice but it's true. At times when I have nothing that matters to say, yet I still publish, I feel a little guilty. I know there's a certain level, you and many other friends, deserve as a minimum. Yet, we are all humans and make mistakes. We should never forget that within these mistakes
the greatest lessons of life can be learned.
As for Naji, I haven't heard from him in a quite a while. I hope he's doing OK and I really would like to read his blog one day.

Unknown said...

Hi Dancing Solo
Thank you for taking the time to read this unusually long post. I promise I wouldn't do it often. Sharing is a great pleasure indeed.

Unknown said...

Sham (whether you like it or not, this is what I'm going to call you)
You are very mal3uneh and you certainly know it.I just hope that if I've actually proved anything to you that it might be along the line of : I write therefore I am. As I said earlier, only if you were a few years younger...hahaha

Unknown said...

Hello Omar
Thank you for your kind words. I derive as much pleasure from reading than I do from writing. It's a two-way street, esepcially with blogging. I, too, get very excited with every new post you publish.

Unknown said...

Dear Maroun
As this is your first comment here, I have to welcome and thank you for taking the time to read and comment on my blog.
I'm honored by your visit, not merely because you are Lebanese, as many of my true friends are from Lebanon. I'm honored because you simply proved that in the long journey of life we are passengers in the same boat. None of us ever get a chance to choose our place of birth, our parents, our religion. We might at a certain point later extricate ourselves from this legacy but that is another story. Whoever we are, we should first be proud without prejudice, then accept all the other colors of the rainbow.
Despite all the medldling, the mistakes, the short-sightedness of everybody involved (on both sides of the border) the simple truth is there for all to see. There's as much difference between a Tartoussi and a Lattakian as there is between a Tartoussi and a Beiruti. They can close their eyes and pretend that this is not true. But it is, regardless.
Again, thank you for dropping by.

Unknown said...

I agree with you about words. My feelings exactly. I also thank you for your kind words. We have probably found out about each other's blog around the same time. I, too, have become a regular on yours recently. I'm looking forward reading more and more.

Unknown said...

It might be that I'm naturally inclined to act nicely but my compliment was very objective. Whether we write about the future of human kind or our everyday little matters, we can certainly show that we are caring and compassionate human beings. This is what I love about your blog. It's not the subject that matters most, it's making us see things through your own eyes. And, I'm happy to say that I have only seen beautiful scenery on your blog. Even when you tackle "ugly" topics, the real beauty of your soul prevails.

Unknown said...

Come on, you really don't want all men to be like me, I'll lose my edge then ;-)
You know what, you are among the very first I met through blogging. Actually, you are the very first other blogger I met IRL and that makes me very lucky and happy.

Anonymous said...

Wow! What an introduction and insight into what has gone into your blog over the year. Truly this is a celebration and reminder of all that has been said, argued and commented on. I loved your comments on the commentators and you really introduced me to some amazing bloggers I may otherwise never have encountered...and thanks for your kind comments on me..i really am flattered :)
Three cheers for the tartoussi hip hip hooray! and here's to many more wonderful posts and discussions!
Never fear you will never attain the much envied ephitet of a 'self-proclaimed “dissidents” were not just utterly boring, fixated and autistic; they were naked megalomaniacs, plain and simple. They had reduced Syria to an absurd dichotomy comprised of the regime and themselves'. Abadan!

Unknown said...

Hello Arima, my inspiration to several posts during my first year.
One of the inadvertent pitfalls of blogging, if one is not active and inquisitive, is running the risk of orbiting within one tight circle. I feel that we should all have the courtesy of introducing each other to our personal favorites. Only by expanding the circle can it ever turn into a real sphere.

Chet said...

Dear friend, A great post and a great blog. I really enjoyed reading your blog and this post deserves a gold star. Congratulations on your aniversary and Thank you for the kind words you said about me. You are welcome here anytime. There is no doubt that you would fit in well here and I am looking for the day we meet. I must apologize for not visiting you more. Things have been hetic here. Remodeling the kitchen a little at a time and with two of us on the same computer I don't get around much. Take care brother and keep up the excellent posts.

Kinano said...

Happy 1st Blogiversary abu fares, enshalla el 3m3er kello :)

I am addicted to your writing. Your words flow ever so smoothly when read and combined with your posts' authenticity (and yours) it makes our blogging experiences this much more enjoyable.

Keep them coming our way!

Unknown said...

Hi Chet
I'd like that you send me some pictures when the kitchen is done. I love home improvement projects but I have to do it in the dark of night as Om Fares is not very keen of my methodology.
Thank you for your kind words my friend. You are one of the most decent and honest human beings I had the pleasure of ever knowing. Keep that 6-pack in the fridge, you never know when I might drop in.

Unknown said...

Hi Kinan
Glad you're here. In the last month or so I came to know some new very exciting blogs. Yours is certainly one of them. I appreciate your kind words. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

So glad that you found the blogosphere, in this wonderfully told manner, and so glad that the blogosphere found you. Hopefully we will one day read the 10th anniversary post.

I can't believe you didn't mention the I hate Fairuz post - shou, changed your mind? :)

Such a pleasure to read you, as always. And I was personally delighted to read the comment of Maroun, it really warmed my heart. Thanks to both of you.

The Syrian Brit said...

Many Happy Returns, my friend..
I am honoured and privileged to get a mention amongst such illustrious company.. I am equally privileged to have made your acquaintance on the blogosphere, and look forward to the day we meet in person..
To me, your blog has been a true revelation and a profound inspiration..
Many congratulations, my friend.. God bless you and yours, and may this occasion be the herald for many more happy and productive blogging years...

p.s. You mentioned that Ascribo is your nephew?.. Do you have the same surname?.. If so, there might be more incredible co-incidences to talk about!!..

Unknown said...

Hi Rime
It's always my pleasure to have you here. Thank you for your warm wishes. I neither forgot nor changed my mind about Fairuz, I just listed some of my favorite posts (not all by the way).
I was delighted by Maroun's comment as well and obviously for the very same reasons as you.

Unknown said...

Hi Syrian Brit
It seems we are destined to keep surprising each other. Indeed, we have the same surname, Ascribo and I.
OK, we'd better do this the right way, please drop me a line anytime at:
abufares at bigfoot dot com
Thank you my for your great support, and as I've already said, I look forward reading more and more of you.

Rabi Tawil (AKA Abu Kareem) said...

Abu Fares,

Just wanted to add my voice of appreciation for your blog and thank you for the kind words. I think Yazan's comment best expresses my feeling too:"you created a place over the internet where we all can just come and lose ourselves with every new posts. You are like the Syrian bloggers asylum". You are,in the best possible sense, every Syrian's Syrian; you make us proud.

Unknown said...

Dear Abu Kareem
I thank you for your comment and you know that I'm a regular on your excellent blog.
I have always considered the correlation between activism and extremism disturbing. People of the middle are often the quiet ones and their soft voices are likely to be lost in the radical hubbub. In this instance, I mean the right and left equally although both sides have shed several layers of skin and are more and more turning into unprincipled chameleons.
There's more to any country than the dirty politicians, corruption, and the violation of human rights. There's more to Syria than the negative images some have to chosen to deliberately and exclusively expose.
Syria is no Utopia for sure, but as far as I'm concerned, it's the only home I have. I will defend it with every word in the book, using my conscience as a dictionary. If If my shortcoming is mainly that I over-simplify the issues ad/or glorify my homeland I proudly take full blame.

Black Hawk said...

Abu Fares ,
Thanks for the most of ur inspiring posts..I have nothing to say except
Happy anniversary...& keep posting..
Truly it gives me pleasure & joy to visit ur blog always..maybe it will push me to write about my self one day...who knows ? :-)
i must thank to my colleague who told me about it..

Best Wishes.

Unknown said...

Hi Black Hawk
I look forward reading your blog soon.
Thank you for the kind words.

GraY FoX said...

thank you for the sweet kind words you said about us
thank you for remembering everyone
saying that on the behalf of everyone.
and on my behalf :D , i want to say that you made me blush and made me feel like I ROCK :P
you should be working as a diplomat my friend, i would have voted for ya :P

Unknown said...

Hi Gray Fox
Every word I said about my fellow bloggers was an understatement at best.
Working as a Diplomat, emmmh, I have no chance my friend as diplomats are "appointed" rather than elected ;-)

Angel said...

Has it been a YEAR already?

Thank you so much for this wonderful FIRST YEAR RESUME post. I am really flattered and insurmountably honored to be mentioned.... are you sure it is feminine not teasing flair ;)

In a sea of blogs, it takes an exceptional blogger to attract such invaluable group of readers/audience. If ever the events in the blogsphere would occupy the pages of history, your name Abufares will be written in bold letters.... A blogger with a difference...

You have an excellent blog that helps keep everything in perspective...a place where I turn to for solace ..... Reading it (thanks to Ascribo) from close to when it first started (waited tooooo long to first comment, I addmit!!), it is certainly making a difference in every walk of my life... .....Echoing many of your thoughts, your writing is witty, intriguing with an immense a pleasure to read.......Speaking your mind in a very awesome style, your intelligent commentary makes any reader a fan ;)

EVERYONE is Sharing and celebrating your creativity all around the world! HAPPY 1st BIRTHDAY.

Shall I say: See you soon ;)

Anonymous said...

Thanks Abufares and I hope you keep on blogging. It has been the best way for me to stay in touch with you and know your news. I do not comment often, but I am sure you know that I read all your posts.

Abu Abdo

Unknown said...

a flair is more feminine if it is inherently teasing.
I thank you for your wonderful words and for your graceful presence on my blog.
Teasingly or not, I look forward seeing you. I am immediately starting on my diet.

Unknown said...

My dear Abu Abdo
You were among the very first I thought moral support from when I started my blog. I, and the rest of the blogosphere, are still wating for your long anticipated blog. You have wonderful stories to tell and an exceptional ability as a story teller.
Come one, we all deserve this treat.

david santos said...

Thanks for you work and have a good week.

The languages cannot continue to divide the peoples and to give to origin the one that the tyrants lie. We have that to exceed the barrier of the languages. We cannot continue to be been deceptive by outlaws. We go to defend this thesis in the whole world all together

Unknown said...

Dear Mr. Santos
I just hope that the people in Google knew what they were doing when they offered English to Portuguese translation. Your blog is just amazing and I'm glad you made me find you by commenting here. Anyway, here we go with my Portuguese babble.

Caro Sr. Santos
Nós fomos carregados ser quem nós somos. Nós fomos significados nunca verter nossa pele. Sua maneira é não melhor do que nossas. O mais importante nossa maneira é não melhor do que dela. Nós compartilhamos de um planeta bonito no vácuo do espaço. Nossas diferenças são os ingredientes de uma placa do salad. Fazem-no tasty e atraente. Nós pudemos ser as cebolas e elas os tomates. Realmente não importa contanto que nós todos adorn a alface dum raio.

Anonymous said...

Hi Abufares!!

I am glad to prove once again that the consequences of the letters we write -with ink or pixels- are billard balls that pull each other.... Glad to know that my blog a year ago inspired somebody in beautiful Tartous to create a blog. In anycase, my (and everybody s) debt with Tartous is greater. The 28 letters alphabet we use to communicate now was created not far from Tartous thousands of years ago....

keep posting!
Juan Villarino

Anonymous said...

"... still wating for your long anticipated blog... we all deserve this treat"
Thanks Abufares for the complement, but you are a hard act to follow!! Anyway, I am hoping that one day I will start to write something in

Abu Abdo

Unknown said...

Hi Juan Pablo
So nice to hear from you. When I said that you are living a dream of mine I wasn't exagerating. What you are doing in this stage of your life is fascinating.
You've inspired me into writing. I hope that you inspire those with stronger legs and fewer commitments to embark on their own journey of discovery.
Thank you for dropping by and good luck in your quest.

Unknown said...

Abu Abdo
your DAM BARED is world reknown. But you have told me the exact same thing one year ago, that you would start one day on your blog.
Well get to it Menshan Allah!

david santos said...

O dia 25 de Abril de 1974 foi o dia do derrube da ditadura fascista em Portugal, a chamada REVOLUÇÃO DOS CRAVOS, e a queda do (poder) dos inimigos do povo. 25 de Abril, sempre.

Day 25 of April of 1974 was the day of it knocks down of the dictatorship fascist in Portugal, the call REVOLUTION OF the flowers, and the fall of the power of the enemies of the people. 25 of April, forever!
يوم 25 نيسان 1974 كان يوم تقرع عليها من الديكتاتوريه الفاشيه في البرتغال والدعوة للثورة الزهور ، وسقوط سلطة أعداء الشعب. 25 نيسان ، الى الابد!

День 25 апреля 1974 года, в день он постучит в воздухе фашистской диктатуры в Португалии слово О РЕВОЛЮЦИИ цветы, и падение власти враги народа. 25 апреля, навсегда!
Le jour 25 d'avril de 1974 était le jour de lui frappe vers le bas du fasciste de dictature au Portugal, de la RÉVOLUTION d'appel des fleurs, et de la chute de la puissance des ennemis du peuple. 25 d'avril, pour toujours !
Tag 25 von April von 1974 war der Tag von ihm klopft unten vom Diktaturfaschisten in Portugal, von der Anruf REVOLUTION der Blumen und vom Fall der Energie der Feinde von den Leuten. 25 von April, für immer
25天41974年的一天,它拍下來的法西斯獨裁政權,葡萄牙 號召革命的鮮花,秋天的權力得到人民的敵人. 25日,永不停息

Unknown said...

Sempre, Forever, الى الأبد , Für Immer

Unknown said...

Thank you for this extensive review of your blog, and of the surrounding blogosphere! It is very useful for those like me who came around just recently!

It will take some time to read through all those recommended posts though!


Unknown said...

Hi Nicola
Sorry it took me so long to respond to your comment.
I always enjoy your presence here. I really need to say this, a writer is worth ... if he's not read. Had it not been for you, my blog would have been "dust in the wind".