Showing posts from June, 2009


My mobile's alarm blasted at two o'clock piercing the still of night and robbing precious sleep from my weary eyes. Bewildered, I slowly lifted my upper body on an elbow. I had gone to bed well past midnight but suddenly I remembered that I had a car to ride, two airplanes to board and a taxi to drop me at a hotel in Martigues . Eighteen hours later, I leaned on the reception counter of a small hotel in the south of France. Oui demoiselle, je veux rester pour quatre nuits chez vous. The summer sun lingers in the sky of France well past its usual day-shift of lower latitudes. My biological clock completely out of sync, my laptop rendered useless after a fatal system crash on the flight from Damascus to Paris and loneliness creeping up on me I descended the hill on foot and headed toward the docks of the small town by the sea. I scrounged frantically for a discarded cigarette butt on the pavement and sidewalks. No city could be so clean, no place more serene. Seagulls flew o

The Story of Abeer

The following is a letter I received from a girl I named Abeer. She wrote to me in Arabic and asked for my help. After her permission, we agreed that I should translate her words into English and post her letter on my blog for every single reader to have an open discussion. Whatever you might think, please feel free to join in through your comments. I might at any point butt in but I'd rather keep my peace for as long as I can. Abeer, thank you for trusting me with your story. I wish you the best. Dear Abufares I hesitated before I chose how to address you “Azizi: Dear” or “Ammo: Uncle” but then decided that you are so young at heart, I'd better drop the “Ammo” least I make you upset. You see you are about my father's age and I'm young enough to be your daughter. I'm a 21 years old girl from Damascus. I can write in English but prefer to express myself in Arabic, especially now. I have been reading your blog for almost a year. My boyfriend, and let's call

The Power of Dreams

I've lost my mother 10 years ago and I don't recall a single day passing by without thinking about her and remembering a charming word or an endearing gesture of hers. Yet, since she passed away she has never visited me in my dreams, not even once. Even when I go to bed upset or blissfully happy… nothing happens, I seldom dream, if at all. I know that I'm dreaming in the middle of a dream though. Most of my nocturnal visions are senseless. They are, I would like to think, the offspring of a late dinner or an unstoppable urge to use the bathroom. They are neither good nor bad, they are just the type I forget the moment I open my eyes. In order not to feel deficient about the lack of my night imagery I entertain another possibility. I'm such an avid daydreamer my brain remains thoroughly satiated with imagination. When darkness prevails my mind simply needs to rest and sleep. I do dream when I change beds, however. When I stay in a hotel I have learned not to even bothe


It was the end of June, a hot and humid morning on the southern Dream Beach¹ of Tartous. I slept alone and rather erratically, having watched Argentina beat West Germany 3-2 in the FIFA World Cup Final the night before. A bunch of friends and I had consumed plenty of beer and whatever leftover bottles we could find in the secluded chalet. I had a terrific hangover and couldn't tolerate even the smell of coffee. Instead, I gazed at the endless expanse of blue from the western terrace then walked lazily on the warming sand. Only if someone could stop the goddamn spinning, I wished. I threw myself in the tantalizingly refreshing water and surrendered to the sensual fingers of the undulating waves. The salty breeze and the engulfing wetness brought me back slowly and without coercion to awareness. My muscles relaxed. The pounding in my temple eased off. What a glorious day ahead, I mused. I had nothing to do or worry about. My immediate concern was to secure some basic form of break