2009 is almost over. It started brutally enough with the massacre of 1,400 Palestinians by Israel and it is going to end with the decision makers of the free world still looking the other way. Not a single "democratic" country dares accuse Israel of being as atrocious as Nazi Germany. Statesmen and stateswomen disagree on everything: health care, welfare, the environment, military spending, prayer in school, immigration, same sex marriage, China and global warming but not about Israel. What a bunch of wussies! Ha! This is as far as I am willing to talk dirty politics in a bar or to write on my blog.
Personally, 2009 has been a great year as I have finally came out of my intellectual closet. I had my doubts about religion for as long as I can remember. I have chosen to keep my skepticism under the lid purposely so I do not upset others, many of whom I really care about. But then one day, I stopped being comfortable. I can accept being whatever to anyone but not a hypocrite to myself. To actually believe that we are lucky, chosen, blessed and special because we were born to a certain religion is the biggest lie we can teach our children. I put an end to that once and for all. Whatever I was by virtue of birth I am a secular humanist by virtue of choice.
I also took sides on several issues this year, at least on my blog. Syria, cradle of civilizations and birthplace of human folly and genius, is as colorful as a rainbow. It has always been a land of multiplicity where people of different faiths and cultures coexisted in peace and harmony. It is inimitable in its unique social fabric. The streets of Damascus and every other city contain a human assortment of opposites not to be found anywhere else. From the modestly clad to the sensually provoking, men and women of divergent cultural backgrounds walk side by side. Ours is a secular and pluralistic country where people have historically kept their religious beliefs to the confines of their homes. Generations taught subsequent ones to imitate them, to carry on their values and mores but to accept others for who they are. The new wave of religiosity is as alien to our Levant as the state of Israel is. Over the many centuries of conflict and struggle for political and social control no singular doctrine held power but ephemerally over this land and her people. Any attempt to restrict our diversity and garb us with desert gowns of ignorance, austerity and sameness will fail. I will side with anyone or any group, whether I agree with them or not, in their quest for freedom of choice and expression as long as they do not intend to curb mine. I am equally against men and women wearing burqas in airplanes as I am against them going inside houses of worship naked. The sexual preferences of others are their business and their business alone. Any self righteous hypocrite who denies them this basic right whether by terrorizing them with divine text or through imposing his or her twisted sense of morality cannot be trusted as a potential partner in the democratic process. They are the usurpers to watch. They are as bad, if not worse, than the prevailing variety of psychopaths ruling most totalitarian countries in the world.
I am comfortable with people and happy in my solitude. In 2009 I sought my lonely moments of privacy with unbound relish. Before being a hardworking man, a good neighbor and a law abiding citizen, even before being a husband and a father... I am me. “I came to this world alone and alone I shall leave.” If I do not enjoy the silent sounds of my thoughts or laugh at my own jokes, if I do not smile for her eyes only, if I cannot maintain that space that is utterly mine, how can I ever bring meaning to my life? What kind of person will I be to all the others if I am not myself to me? When I write “out loud” I do not intend to impress. I write mostly to a soul mate who is beyond the grasp of your imagination or my gift for words. For as long as I can remember I considered happiness as a vague and unreachable concept. Only idiots and non-sentient mammals could ever claim such state, I thought. This year has proved me wrong. The moment I realized that happiness is not an end by itself I became happy. No time is more important than today. Nostalgia adds a second dimension to the linear flow of time as memories bring solace and sweet compassion to our burdened minds. But only hope makes our lives worth living and dynamically happy. It is this third dimension that most people are missing and it is exactly what I have found in 2009.
I will continue to write out loud. I appreciate every single reader of this blog, whether she agrees with my choices or not. I am thankful for those who comment and criticize as long as they maintain common courtesy. I am honored by the many friends I have made over the last few years through blogging and who have been nothing less than inspirational. I still have no message to give. I do not blog to change others but to remain me, despite all.