Monday, April 18, 2011

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.