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Tuesday, March 29, 2011


The smell of fresh coffee wafted to the balcony where I stood mesmerized by the dancing shadows. Budding roses in a pot trembled to the caress of a breeze. A bank of fog lightly veiled the silent sky above but I could feel it, rain was coming our way. I gulped my coffee, put on cotton pants, a t-shirt and a pair of old trainers and descended the stairs two steps at a time. Glancing at my watch I walked briskly toward the park. It was dawn.

The city woke up yawning. As a wet cold fell over my shoulders I hastened my pace and winced in the drizzle. A mourning dove, then a few, hence a dozen followed by a covey from here and another from there cooed and took to the air. The fluttering of wings awakened my dream of a peaceful existence, of hope, and of freedom. Birds were meant to fly not to shed feathers in a cage, no matter how big the cage is and irrelevant of the goodness of the keeper. I stood still and stared at the soaring flock, drops of rain blinding me with ecstasy. I longed to take wing, to see and hear the countryside from above in a kaleidoscope of colors and a concert of kindred.

It’s neither about the birds nor about the bees that I’m writing. It’s about us Syrians. I have never loved a land like I love mine and I’m aware that my feeling is shared by almost all of us here and abroad. She’s our home from high above and from the top of trees as she is from ground level.

The door is open, it’s high time we fly.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Land's End

I’m perched at land’s end. The water is captivating, almost as beautiful as your eyes, almost as enticing as the sway of your hips. I’m as far removed from the world as the unfathomable depths of my soul.

The cradle of civilizations, desert, river and sea, the place I call home is awakening to the rumble of my identity. Whatever woes unfolded over the last few centuries are ripples on the surface of my perpetuity. The rise and fall of empires, the demise of the orient, the ascendancy of the northern tribes, the holocausts that laid the trail westward are only blemishes on my olive skin.

I’m not a king, nor was meant to be. I’m the humble, proud, complacent, fierce, forgiving, fanatic man who’s been through it before. I was there from the very beginning and will remain when all are gone.


The breeze fondles my short bang. I close my eyes and breathe your eternity, your absoluteness, your omneity.  The air around gathers its strength. It turns into a wind without direction and ineffectually assails me. I stand still still and wait like I’ve always done. Someday, the Shmali* will carry you this way. I’ll wade into the water, lift you up from the beaten raft then bring you to my down to earth level and kiss the hunger off your lips. Let it blow, the wind. It’ll come to pass if you stand your ground long enough... at land’s end.

*Shmali: A northwesterly wind that blows over the Levantine coastline.