The Sound of Silence

Losing my anonymity on this blog was similar to losing my virginity earlier on in life. It brought me pleasure but it couldn’t be undone. I’ve been blogging for 5 years. Under different circumstances I would’ve been writing a celebratory post, one that explores my impressions and experiences. I would’ve attempted, as I often do, to infuse it with my “questionable” sense of humor and anecdotal trivia while I would’ve sought to portray my self-celebrated joie de vivre to put a smile on the pretty faces of some of my readers. My jubilant mood would’ve been further enhanced by the occasion of the 65th Anniversary of Syria’s Independence from foreign occupiers, yesterday April 17th, but this is neither the place nor the time for a celebration. Not that I’ve given up on better days ahead and on fresh breezes to blow over the entire region but in acceding my anonymity I have in essence relinquished my present right to free speech.

This blog has touched on social and political issues before and on some serious matters for the solemn type of reader. However, my take on politics in particular was more like soft porn, an allusive phrase here, a slightly explicit sentence there but it always lacked penetration. I carefully picked my words, avoiding confrontation and possible retaliation. In real life I’m mostly like that to tell you the truth. When I don’t enjoy my surroundings I leave. If a conversation upsets me I stop listening. I’m too Syrian to engage in a gentlemanly debate with an adversary. We would both lose our temper and a true dialogue becomes impossible. On a few occasions I butted heads with fellow bloggers because of our divergent opinions on religion, social mores and traditions and their proper roles in our lives, if any. Had I been living in Iran or Saudi Arabia I would’ve probably not dared made my voice heard so loud and clear on those subjects. I was safe in the knowledge that I didn’t cross any red lines as far as my habitat is concerned.

Perhaps it’s worth noting that I hadn't put an effort into hiding my true identity in the same way that I didn’t work hard to become as “known” as I am. Writing is a pleasurable pursuit and I didn’t want to have to look back over my shoulder to keep enjoying it. Besides there’s an upside to revealing my identity to many of my readers. I’ve become best of friends with some of them and this friendship I cherish more than most things in life. I don’t feel like posting recipes for now so you would all excuse me for remaining silent. After all this is my only way, for the time being, to express myself. Fortunately, nothing lasts forever. I have no idea how long it will take but I can only hope that we can get out of this dark tunnel with minimum pain and loss for everyone.

May the voices of wisdom, of mercy, compassion, kinship, unity, accord and ultimately freedom  prevail and guide us all to the future we aspire for.

Hello darkness, my old friend
I've come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence

In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone
'Neath the halo of a street lamp
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dared
Disturb the sound of silence

"Fools", said I, "You do not know
Silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you"
But my words, like silent raindrops fell
And echoed
In the wells of silence

And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming
And the sign said, "The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls"
And whispered in the sounds of silence*

* The Sound of Silence (Simon and Garfunkle), written by Paul Simon 1964.


Anonymous said…
I hope that better times come very soon to you and all Syria. This unrest feeling is crossing boundaries in all the world, and I can just help but think that something mayor is in the future for all humankind. Let us hope that it will be for the best.

w.b. yeats
Gabriela said…
I agree with the first comment: let's hope everyhing going on in Syria is for the best.
I use to say that there are absences that are presences. Now I'd have to add that there are silences that are thundering voices.
BIL said…
I must echo the first two comments, having had a glimpse into the Syrian life and culture, your wonderful postings made me realize that no matter where one is in the World everyone wants the same things. Paramount on that list is peace and the chance to live a life without fear. As you and I had talked about Worldly situations and happenings; changes are to come, but what form that takes …no one knows for sure. In the end of all turmoil no matter where it may be, all sides will have to comprise...if even a little, and no one side or group will get everything they want, but that is life just as if it would be a marriage and a couple having a spat. In the end a compromise will occur. Change is hard because it goes into the unknown zone and it is that very fear which is most trying. I pray for you and your family as well as all of the Syrian people the changes taking place as we speak turn out for the best. Just remember that nobody will get everything they want but your country has a bright future and promise for all Syrian people, just hope that they will not be let down if they do not get everything they want. The best of luck - BIL
Anonymous said…
Abu Fares,
Good to hear from you. I have been worried to distraction about friends and family back home. I am worried about my country but proud of its people. I hope for better days ahead.

Your friend, Rabi
Sean said…
I really hope - and believe - that brighter days for Syria are on their way. I also really, really hope that you and your loved ones come through this unscathed - we've been thinking of you and our other friends there every day.

May you all soon enjoy the future that you deserve.
Abufares said…
@w.b. yeats
Thank you dear friend. Like Miss Universe, I hope for World Peace :-) Unfortunately injustice and disrespect for basic human rights by individual states and the International community prevail.
May we live to see the day John Lennon sang about in "Imagine".
Abufares said…
Haven't you noticed how you Latinas always agree with each other, in a most adorable way of course, lolll.
Silence, at times, is the sweetest music of all.
I'm glad though that the younger generations don't necessarily agree with me.
Abufares said…
I see that you've developed a taste for Latinas (the first two comments).

Change is inevitable it's how the universe functions from the smallest particle to the largest galaxy. Anyone who believes in bringing time to a standstill is not only disillusioned but totally oblivious to the laws of physics and to human nature itself.

PS I don't blame you for the Latinas' thing.
Abufares said…
You're always on my mind too. Please don't worry. This is inevitable you know. May all Syrians ride it in peace and come out in one piece :-)
Abufares said…
I share your hope and optimism. This might take a while but we all look forward a new and better beginning cause the end is not an option.
Gabriela said…
Does w.b. yeats hail from somewhere close to my country? I had no idea.
Anonymous said…
@ Gabriela

Saludos desde Puerto Rico, una pequeña Isla pero con gran corazón. Mi amor por la poesía tal vez me hizo usar ese seudónimo... Al momento no recuerdo, pues pude igualmente usar a Neruda, o Gautier Benítez, pero ahí está.


World Peace is something worth wishing for!

w.b. yeats
Neetu said…
Hi Abufares,

i hope all will go well and be peaceful and well soon. take care.
Abufares said…
Thank you for you heartfelt wishes and sorry for being a little late replying.
You too take care my friend and smile :-)
Phyllis Schoenberg said…
Amen and best wishes to you and to all Syrians. People of all countries deserve the chance to live our lives in peace, freedom and dignity. Your blog provides a fascinating window into the home that you so clearly cherish and I thank you for sharing that.
Neetu said…
Hi Abufares, hopefully see u in tartous one day, hopefully soon. :)
Be always the light house in the dark sea........
Abufares said…
Thank you for your comment. It means a lot to me and I appreciate your support and words of encouragement.
Hopefully we'll be better off than we were before when all the dust settles down, when the blood of the innocent and the tears of the bereaved dry out.
Abufares said…
Hopefully soon. I look forward to it.
Isobel said…
Abufares, forgive me for being so late. It's not even fashionable at this point. This was a nicely done post. I think your silence is worth a thousand words. I hope you and your family stay safe and well and that the desires of the people of Syria are granted before more violence errupts. I have several friends in Syria, and my thoughts are always with you and them.
Abufares said…
A post is not behind me until you comment on it.
There's a silence by choice then there's a forced silence. But in either case, the silence of Syrians is becoming increasing loud.
Anonymous said…
“Man is free at the moment he wishes to be.”
Abufares said…
Yup! Voltaire.
KJ said…
You took the words right out of my mouth, Abufares - and indeed, I, too, am seeking solace in silence, and my lack of deep understanding in some worldly matters make me more cautious in going with the flow (in any direction).
Abufares said…
Oh, I would've not felt so bad if I didn't know where my heart is.
I'm silent because (at the moment) I have no choice.
Anonymous said…
It's true that most times silence is golden, but do we have the right or privilige to be silent when our people are being slaughtered all around us? Do we have the right to be silent when our armed forces killed more of our people than any enemy? Do we have the right to be silent when our freedom and right of speech are being raped right in front of our eyes for 40 years? Do we have the right to be silent when our leaders laugh in our faces and remind us of what waits us if we utter any forbidden words? When our vocabulary is diminished to terminology approved by them. When our media talks about imaginary armed militias trying to create choas in our country, and ignore the hundreds of peaceful protestors that died for no reason other than voicing their discontent. When one family rules us like a monarchy under the name of presidency, and controls every power and economic outlet in our country?
Like you, I chose to be silent. I took the easy way out. I feel like I'm cheating all of those who sacrificed their lives for us. This is what kept us in this situation for such a long time. For the first time in our beloved country some of us are doing the right thing, but without the support of the majority.
God give us the strength and courage to do and say what's right.
Abufares said…

Thank you for your comment. My only answer is that I'm not anonymous. Am I convinced deep inside that it's enough of a pretext? I have mixed feelings toward that. Had I been alone, at least nothing would've made me stay if I couldn't change it.
Karin said…
Abufares, dear friend ... I apologize for being so awfully late! I am sure you know that I am following very closely what's going on in your country and I am WORRIED! Please do everything necessary to remain safe ... everyone will understand. I am standing firmly by you, your family and ALL Syrians who want nothing else but freedom, the most elementary human right. Sending you truckloads of strength and love! LOVE YOU ALL!!!
Neetu said…
Hi Abufares
Gabriela said…
I certainly miss this blog.
Anonymous said…
I hope things will get better for our people and country. I thank you for so many words said with your silence and hope you and yours are ok.
Abufares said…
Thank you as always for your kind and generous words.
Abufares said…
Thank you for being here and for believing that my silence serves a purpose.
Abufares said…

The next one is for you :-)
Abufares said…
Hello my friend :-) Sorry for being late!
audio brisbane said…
True silence is the voice of reason. it is the voice of truth. Moments in which one can reflect are truly beautiful. even one's loneliness can be reconciled by appreciating the silence.

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