Showing posts from February, 2010

Five O

  1960's The Scar In the aftermath of the six-day-war a long trench was dug in the middle of an open field near my home by the sea. More like a scar, it measured a hundred meters long by two meters wide. We kids went there and played War in the afternoon. "Tatatatatata," we roared back and forth, reproducing the cracking reports of machine guns. When we all died, I climbed out with muddied pants and sand in my hair and rode my bicycle frantically across the gritty breadth of the field. I sped over the pebbles raising a storm of dust in my wake all the while keeping a watchful eye on the gaping wound in the ground. I pulled to the edge of the asphalt and braked hard in a sweeping arc. I stood up, removed the sticky underwear wedged up my ass and gathered my courage to jump to sea side. I pedaled as furiously as I could. The wheels spun in the air over the ditch then made contact, an inch or two short. I plunged forward hitting a sharp protruding stone chin first.


Perhaps I should start this article by explaining the term Levant( 1 ) since it might not be familiar to all the readers of this blog. The word comes from Middle French and means the Orient . From a geographical perspective, the Levant is that region of West Asia comprising the eastern shores of the Mediterranean. It is bordered to the north by the Taurus mountains of Turkey. It reaches the Zagros mountain range which forms the border between Iraq and Iran to the east and extends southward to the Arabian desert. The Island of Cyprus was historically, and until very recent times culturally, a part of Greater Syria , as the Levant is known to the more fervent Syrian Social Nationalists in Lebanon and Syria. Additionally, Jordan, Palestine, the Sinai Desert and parts of Iraq belong to this region as well. If you are wondering whether I accidentally omitted Israel or not, wonder no more. A sixty-two year old “country” with an acute identity crisis as to claim that it invented Hummus and

Let it Snow

I stood behind the kitchen window on this Friday morning. It was 7:00AM when the cloud above broke her water. Flurries of snow started falling and drifting in the light wind, very unusual for seaside Mediterranean Tartous. I went outside to the balcony to drink my espresso and enjoyed five magical minutes. The thermometer showed 8ÂșC. What a glorious day! I woke Fares up, “Come on! There must be plenty of snow for us in Kadmous.” “Oh, Baba! Are you sure?” Fares had only been in the snow once a few years ago in Farayyah, Lebanon. He was about five and he had a blast so his excitement was only natural. At 10:00AM we left Tartous and headed north on the Lattakia Highway. 35 KM down the road we crossed Banias and made a right turn and quickly climbed our way up the mountains. I could tell that whatever snow we might find would be light at best. We crossed one enchanted village after the other, Bermaya, Faresh Ka'bieh, Isquableh as we steadily gained altitude. 57 KM from home we