Showing posts from May, 2010


“Sabah el kheir.” Her voice startled me. The shop had been here for centuries, or so it seemed. How it stayed in business no one ever really knew. We gossiped that the family was secretly wealthy, perhaps descendants of some powerful magistrate or rich merchant, or maybe they had some less than legitimate business on the side that allowed them to live comfortably while the store made no money for them at all. Until recently it had been an antiquated book store. Although I had never gone in, I'd heard rumours that it was dim and dusty and a generally unpleasant place to be. The old book dealer was rarely ever seen around town. No one really knew who he was. If it weren't for the sign over the store, Nader's Bookstore, no one would even have known his name. “Sabah el nour.” The words barely escaped my lips. She was stunningly beautiful, a polished gemstone. Her smile radiated a love of life and of people. She could endear anyone within mere moments of meeting

Humanoid Hemorrhoids

If you wanna soar with the eagles don't fuck with the chicken ( a Wise Dude) I had a week to forget and I will. Over its course I had suffered from mild and acute pains in the butt. I had to talk to, and even smile at, some people whom, under normal circumstances, I would totally ignore. I have also turned a blind eye toward  lost souls hiding behind bitter words, too Gallus gallus domesticus to be fucked by me. My perception of freedom, my own, has changed drastically the day I became a father. I constantly remind myself that I have to accommodate, accept and tolerate donkeys with suits and ties for instance. Yet, I will never cross the line to hypocrisy and my patience has been tested to the limit. Only yesterday a dear friend wrote to me: "This is a dirty, dirty business..." In real life and online it's becoming increasingly true. However, we have to accept that evolution is far from perfect and that imbeciles are an unavoidable but necessary fact of life.

Al-Mina Street

I often write about a Tartous that is no more, about a time that treads on the fringe of anamnesis. I might be a nostalgic old dude but I am neither bitter nor grumpy. I simply miss a past that is far too beautiful to be laid to rest then forgotten. Until the 1980's Al-Mina street was the crown jewel of my city. I was born right there, where I planted the red arrow on this photo dating back to the early 1960's. It was taken from the roof of the Awkaf building looking north. I remember every single building in that photo, a few of which still stand after almost five decades. The Roman port, which was later obliterated, is visible right across the street from my home by the sea. So is the open field we called Al-Bayader with a tin roof cafe that was the compelling gathering place for all the Tartoussi men in the evening. During the day it served as playground for us kids. We played ball, rode our bicycles and made up games of unimaginable simplicity. Women with their chi

Quadrennial Anniversary - a disgruntled tartoussi

A few readers have expressed their discontent over my predisposed beautification of Syria and the untainted image I strive to paint in my writing. On the occasion of this blog's fourth anniversary I admit that they are partially right. Although I am not in a perpetual state of bliss and satisfaction I tend to not elaborate on my dislikes. I am simply stingy when it comes to the expenditure of mental energy on my aversions. I would rather talk, write and cerebrate about life's pleasures rather than its unavoidable maladies. That we cannot freely and entirely express ourselves here is a well-known fact of life. However, when mushrooming zealots seek to stifle freedom of expression and rowdily promote a fake carbon copy of a traditional and devoutly pious Syria, one which had never existed, it is high time I lash back. On the popular level, their extraneous brand of petro-Islam was sanctioned by an innate feeling of resentment and bitterness toward the dark years of the