Follow Abufares

Friday, March 27, 2009

Flirting with the Devil

Your children are not your children,
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but are not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
Which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
As living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and
He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
So he loves also the bow that is stable.

On Children from "The Prophet" by Kahlil Gibran, 1923

Before we attempt our valiant counter-offensive against political oppression and authoritarianism in the Middle East we should start with some vital in-house cleaning. I have taken it upon myself since I started writing here to expose the evils of this time and place while concurrently shedding a feeble beam of light on our obscure delights and felicities. Today, I am in a fiendish mood and as thus am inclined to frivolously flirt with the devil rather than majestically dance with the angels.

So far and to a certain extent Syria might have been fortunate enough to have escaped scores of the prevailing social ills inflicting most countries in the world, like high violent crime rates for instance. However, like everybody else, we are moving in the wrong direction. Local Crime is on the rise mainly due to the obscene economic disparity bisecting our society and polarizing what was once a continuous spectrum into Haves and Have-nots. We are environmentally illiterate and our natural resources are being slaughtered in the stupid name of "modernization", industrialization and development. Our streets, cities and countryside are dirty and unkempt because we are not conditioned to give but rather to take. We might be hygienically conscious when it comes to our bodies (especially on Friday mornings) and immediate surroundings but could care less about the rest of the world. We are generous and kind but have little respect for individualism and personal freedom and as thus are loud and boisterous and have no perception of personal space at all. We cannot adequately differentiate between love and smothering and this is most apparent in the parent/children relationship. Parents more often than not stifle their children's ambitions and dreams and force them down the road of conformity and banality. We have created a monster out of religion and accepted its interference with our basic identity to the point where many of us see themselves as Muslims or Christians before being humans. These faults and so much more were not caused by the absence of democracy per say but rather because we have tyrannical traditions imposed on our collective psyche through centuries of religious submissiveness. We have given consent to our leaders (masters) to mount us like beasts of burden, use and abuse us because, among other bizarre facts, not a single monotheist religion advocated banishing slavery! Just think of this notion for a minute. God spoke to us three times (at least) in this part of the world. Three times… and he never told us that slavery is ungodly. Before we call for political reform we’d better get indoors, within the dank walls of our own homes and rummage around for rot, pests and rodents in our basements, in the core of our foundations.

While traditional societies had evaded the onslaught of globalization for a longer period than their modern counterparts their eventual fall was far more spectacular and disastrous. A traditional culture like ours, which had over time relied heavily on religious mores to regulate its acceptable behavioral patterns while neglecting proper social evolution, communal conscience and the development of a comprehensive set of civil laws and regulations, is finding itself all of a sudden disgustingly naked. It's like a pot-bellied middle-aged man stripping and exhibiting his albinal folds of hairy fat in a skimpy black Speedo on a beach full of tanned and athletically appealing young men and women. His other option would be to keep his clothes on and stroll the beach like a pervert. And this is exactly what most of my parenting generation is doing, watching the world goes by while avoiding embarrassment through hiding our defects, hereditary and self-inflicted. If we were only opting for this defeatist attitude toward the challenges of history without further dragging the younger generations with us our sins could have been somehow forgiven. But in an act of absolute selfishness and cowardice we are holding our children hostages and eventually prefer to bring them down with us on this doomed ship.

We will never rise as a people until we shed our bauble robes of jejuneness, piety and self-righteousness and incinerate them in the hell we so wholeheartedly believe in and fear. Let our children discover a world free of ecclesiastical neurosis and taboos. They should realize, with us not despite of us, that they are at liberty to break the walls of isolation and bigotry without feeling the slightest regret or remorse. They should push forward universal suffrage for women. I know for a fact that many women are on equal grounds with men in Syria but not all. In rural areas and in excessively traditional families women have to either fight for their rights and pay for them with their own blood or they have given up entirely and accepted their inferior status. Honor killings, despite their rarity in Syria, still take place. Even a single murder for the alleged honor of mentally impotent men is too many. Accordingly and to all the men out there who condone the killing of women, be they their sisters and daughters or total strangers, to wash away their shame and to preserve their honor: shove your honor, your virtue and your rectitude up your rectums you imbecilic morons.

I beg the new generations to let go of their parents’ delusions of grandeur and probity. We were never better than any other culture or civilization. We were never worse. We have to open our doors and minds east and west. If we cannot emerge winners or at least reach a draw then we never had anything worth keeping in the first place.

My Treasure:

Friday, March 20, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

A few days after March 21st, when Mother’s Day is celebrated in this part of the world, I lost her. That was ten years ago. I remember the last thing she told me very clearly, as if it happened only last night. She had spent the last few days of her life mostly unconscious. She would wake up, open her eyes briefly and repeat the same phrase over and over then pass out again. “Don’t let them take my ring away from me.” She was of course referring to her wedding band as she was worried that after she dies the golden ring will be removed from her finger as per religious tradition. She was an avid believer in the afterlife and keenly practiced her spiritual duties. Yet she was even more devoted to the love of her life, my father. Her last thought, her final worry, her ultimate wish on the face of this earth were to keep his ring with her forever. And we made sure she did. My farewell memory of her was of her feet. As soon as she passed away I knelt by them, I held them in my hands then I kissed them and cried for a long time.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the breathtaking women out there and please cheer up. I’m not going to embark with you on an emotional story. I was merely introducing you to the first love of my life, my mom.

From word of mouth, I know that I was a naughty kid. My fascination with women came very early on in my life. When I was still in kindergarten and my mom had her morning guests for a Sebhieh (a morning get-together for women where they drink coffee and eat chocolates and sweets) I would sit in the middle of the room underneath the larger coffee table. I would scan the legs around me and locate the best looking pair and train my sight to get a glimpse of laced panties. How exciting it was, especially if one of the guests was skinnier than the norm for those days and pretty. I continued with this hobby of mine until I was too big a boy to be allowed to stay and listen to the women talking. But I didn’t have to worry much about it as by that time Lillian became my school teacher. We’re talking about the late sixties; the miniskirt was the revolutionary vogue of the time. Lillian had long and supple legs and she often wore very short skirts. She had great boobs as well and one of my favorite blouses was a tight one she wore and which seemed to be begging for mercy. Her hair brownish and permed, her eyes shaded with immaculate mascara and her large loop earrings contrasted beautifully against her sinuous neck, she was the reason behind my choice of sitting in the front row in class for the only time in my scholastic life. We sat in pairs on the wooden desks but sometimes, when my stars were perfectly aligned, the boy next to me would stay at home sick. Lillian would sit on my desk facing backward and I would be mere inches away from her sensuous body. She would occasionally catch me staring in awe at one particular schwerpunkt of her anatomy. She would flick my ear, look at me straight in the eye and order me to “stop what you’re doing right now.” She would then resume her teaching, the remains of a faint smile at the corners of her lustful lips. That’s how it all started and that’s how it still is. Well, of course, I don’t sneak looks beneath women skirts anymore… unless they were climbing a flight of stairs ahead of me and their legs happen to be remarkably graceful.

I will forever be in love with women. In fact it’s this love in me which makes me tense when I come face to face with the mindless men who believe that they have the right to hold the slightest control over them. But that is an entirely different subject, one which I plan to go into sometime in the near future. For now my only intention is to celebrate Mother’s Day in my own guileless way as an eternal picaro. Happy Mother’s Day to all! I will always love you.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Pillow Talk

A few years back an Italian colleague was visiting Syria and we traveled together on business to Aleppo, Homs, Lattakia then eventually Damascus. We had nothing to do on our last day before he was to fly back to Venice and I offered to take him around and show him the ageless beauty of the oldest capital in the world. Francesco asked me if we could go shopping and although it was, and still is, one of my least favorite activities I was delighted to help. He was a great travel companion and I pleasantly inquired about what he had in mind. “An oriental dancer (belly dancing) costume,” he told me, his eyes steady and unblinking. I swallowed hard yet kept smiling reassuringly. How in the hell was I going to overcome my acquired modesty and actually ask someone where to buy one of the most sensual pieces of feminine attire, I pondered covertly. I called a friend of mine, a very pretty Damascene girl I once knew and posed the question. “Now that you’re in your 40’s you’re getting kinky aren’t you Abufares?” she laughed teasingly. Despite my long-time familiarity with her I still felt awfully embarrassed. “It’s not for me. I mean I’m not buying it. It’s for my friend Francesco. I mean he must be buying it for someone…”. “Relax, my old friend. You probably don’t know that it’s customary for young Damascene brides to have at least one oriental dancer outfit among the most intimate apparel of their dowry? And, Abufares… I have several myself”, she divulged in the daintiest of tones before we finally hung up.

We walked along the long covered Souk of Hamidieh, Francesco and I. My friend had assured me that they were sold everywhere. All I had to do was ask. I finally summed up the courage and entered a small boutique where nightgowns and other womanish stuff were on display. The store was attended by a twenty-something year old guy. I whispered my request self-consciously. I needed to repeat my question three times before the asshole yelled at the top of his voice in the general direction of a narrow staircase that led somewhere up: “Majed, please show this gentleman our fine collection of dancing outfits.” “It’s not for me…”, I started… but he was already busy serving two veiled clients. Francesco and I climbed upstairs. My face was red with the blood of shame; I could almost feel the tips of my ears burning. I was so desperately embarrassed. “Ahlen wa Sahlen Eyouni (welcome)”, Majed beamed at us. “What do you have in mind? Classy or trashy? A high quality masterpiece or a cheap costume? We have everything from SYP500 to 100,000 a piece ($10 to $2,000)”. “It’s not for me…”, he wouldn’t even let me continue. “So what if it is for yours, man? Alhamdu Lillah (Thank God) we’re not doing anything wrong”. Francesco ended up buying a sexy purple translucent outfit. Majed had to get him from a high shelf behind a smaller size bra since apparently Graziella’s boobs were a little on the diminutive side.

For the last three years of my life I’ve been blogging and reading blogs. My browsing preferences have continuously shifted further and further from the mainstream of the Syrian Blogsphere. There are a dozen Syrian blogs out there which I will continue to read no matter what. Their authors have become enduring friends of mine. I’ve met a few of them and I would love to meet the others. I sporadically read additional blogs depending on the topic of their recent posts as they appear on Syplanet. But unfortunately, instead of finding more interesting reading material with the proliferation of Syrian bloggers the number of what I find captivating had remained constant. The most recent trend is annoying to say the least. People who are deeply committed to a cause, just or not, tend to be boring and really get on my nerves. In that light it’s understandable why I can’t get along with sternly religious folks. They are too serious to take seriously. Granted, they are free to express themselves as they please but they can eventually become a pain in the butt with their righteous persistence.

Not only was I seeking more intellectually stimulating content than the current vexatious craze of religiosity but I also am in dire need to be entertained in this day and age. Life is difficult enough as is. Many of us work and toil to make ends meet and at the end of the day are too exhausted to actually go anywhere. And, when you live, like me, in a small city where very little ever goes on, the internet is our widest window to the rest of the world. Naturally enough, I started my hunt on Syplanet. Are there any new and interesting blogs out there which I have somehow missed or not taken notice of? Don’t Syrian bloggers write anything interesting other than politics, religion or, like me, about nothing at all? I narrowed my search and concentrated on blogs written in English and started randomly clicking on the Syndicated Blogs list. Orchard Blossoms & Moonshine! What in the hell is that? I read the About Us section and became intrigued with the brief yet fascinating depiction the writers chose to present to the rest of the world. Upon further investigation I learned about the myth(s) of Nikkal and Yarikh, two Syrian gods of old. No sooner than I started reading through the blog than I realized that it had to be read from bottom to top. Nikkal and Yarikh are, according to the grapevine, two lovers who are writing to each other and do not mind if the rest of us read their story. I blame them for one thing though, they are not writing enough. I hope they are doing well together.

One thing naturally leads to another, which brings me back to the beginning of this post, not oriental dancing per say but the realm of the erotic. Why do we work so hard on hiding our emotions, feelings, yearnings and longings? These two lovebirds, Nikkal & Yarikh, have one link on their blog roll: Pillow Talk. I clicked expecting to find another romantic or poetry oriented blog but I was in for a huge surprise. Fantasia, as she chose to call herself, is without a doubt one of the most sensual women I have ever read (and seen judging from her personal photo). I have no idea where she’s from. She doesn’t write Erotica, she breathes it in and out and makes it morph into something so wholesomely decent while concurrently being so lewdly amatorial. Obviously she started this blog only recently but she intrigues and excites me beyond reason. She just feels everlasting. She is a woman, the real woman in every woman out there if given the chance. How much more pleasant this world of ours would be if everyone could innocently enough convey Fantasia’s message. No shame, no remorse, no regret, no guilt, no fucking nonsense. We are highly evolved beings that strive on love yet in the course of our infant civilization we have managed to muddy our purity with culpability. We invented religion initially to provide solace and comfort to our restless souls but soon enough our own creation spun out of control and took command of our consciousness. For no reason whatsoever, for no fault of our own we accepted that we are guilty until proven innocent. We had to work so damn hard all of our lives to appease the God who had created us without even giving us the option of not choosing to be born at all. We had an exam to take and that is the only course our lives were meant to follow. Love/Sex became the primary target and the absolute taboo of the religious institution.

Even for me, a man who has broken free out of this vicious guilt trip a long time ago, I was still somehow trapped within the layers upon layers of shame and ignominy. I couldn’t buy an oriental dancer outfit without being senselessly embarrassed. Blogging has helped me a great deal into coming to terms with myself. I now fully accept that I am what I am and it’s the most gratifying feeling any sentient being could ever achieve. It doesn’t matter how old you are, whether you are married, whether you have children, whether you are a professional, whether you are content, whether you are lonely or not. All that matters is to feel the freedom of being alive and conscious without preconditions or limitations.

Thank you Fantasia for showing me that Erotica could be more virtuous than hypocrisy and certainly much more fun. Keep on writing please and make this world a better place to live and love for all of us.

Link to Pillow Talk

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Live and Let Live

In response to the latest bigoted outcry on the Syrian Blogsphere against Homosexuality.

I never ever imagined that there will come the day when I would have to stand up and fight for the right of homosexuals to be what they have chosen to be. I don’t condone their outlook on life, I don’t concur with their preferences, I don’t truly understand their choice but this is how far I go. My personal judgment and bias should not blind me from seeing that they exist and that I have to shut the fuck up and abide by their freedom of choice.

How can we stop ourselves from repudiating all forms of nonconformity? Should we start cleaning our society (as if our society is clean to start with) from homosexuals and then relentlessly go down the list. Let us clearly identify the next targets (victims) of this moral crusade.

Atheists, adulterers, drinkers, un-hijabed women, un-bearded men, lovers, nightclub patrons, beach bums, hot chicks, artists, poets, communists, irreverent writers, people who look funny… free bloggers. Alas, it is a desperately long and all-encompassing list.

Where do the dimwits intend to stop?

What are they to do with all these non-conformists? Leave it to these religious tartuffes and they are likely to replace us with a bunch of brainwashed zealots, ardent celibates, devout cretins, faithful crusaders, pious robots and godly agitators who will teach those who are left of us how to live. What to do and what not to say. How to look down and how not to laugh. Why we die and why we should lead austere lives all the way to the grave.

Thanks but no thanks. The fanatics, the fomenters, the hypocrites, the bigots, the knaves gave me no choice but to defend a Syria of multiplicity and to protect my own freedom of choice.

Live and let live.

in November of 2008 I wrote Secular Shivers and Religious Fever and I was partially blamed for seeing the Syrian Blogsphere in Black and White. How do you like them colors now?