To Be Syrian

To Be Syrian
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Nabil al-Mulhim

July 13, 2017


To be Syrian, means to dance with embers, you are already dancing with embers on the map, why not? Did you see a map in a straight line, bounded from the east to the north, only with the shape of Syria?


To be Syrian, means to be in the earthquake zone, to hear the loud noise of the earthquake, it is such a curse to be in the earthquake zone, an unfortunate and difficult place to be in.


To be Syrian, all you have to do is to carry your flexible container and all your money:  your bag will be empty and filled only with small memories, such as those that are written on the blackboard, and then taken by the eraser.


To be Syrian, means to be American, Turkish, Russian or Iranian, and when your camels take you to faraway places, you will be a be Syrian, you only have to be a temporary entity in the game of time; there will be no meaning to wristwatches and Big Ben, even the time when you were born, will be empty, and you would curse that you were born.


To be Syrian, means to stare at the violet gates, until you are felled accidently by a shot from your friend, enemy or God, it doesn’t matter, you only have to fall down.


And to be Syrian, all you have to do is never tire of dust or departure, and forget about all matters of the heart.


To be Syrian you have to leave; you have to leave this country, from which fire plunges from its bosom, as if it is a mad lover, and which you wear as if it is your quilt in the frost.


To be or not to be, is no longer a Shakespearean question, you have been sentenced to eternally climb, then roll and then climb, and then get back to your rock, you have been created out of Sisyphus, and he is a piece of your lost time, just because you are Syrian.


To be Syrian, you shall not be as elegant as a night gown, and you shall not be luxurious as an orange juice, all you have to be, is to be always ready to leave, with your clothes on your shoulders.


To be Syrian, you have to be outside the map, there is no map for you at all, whether you are the son of a cave, or merely a sad ending, if you want to be Syrian, you have to be many different things… Listen to Daniel Cohn-Bendit: "You are the son of old times."


Revolutions fail and countries vanish...These are simple facts for you, Syrian, just to make you as happy as silence.


Be a piece of art in some Parisian neighborhood, be lost as a floating tree on the River Spree in Berlin. Be a beggar in al-Hamra Street in Beirut, or an obscure musician in al-Haram Street in Cairo. 


To be Syrian, you have to forget about Muhammad al-Maghut... Suleiman Awad... Louay Kayali… Nazir Nabaa... Fawaz al-Sagir, and to start a trip towards Haifa Wehbe, to fall from her bosom inadvertently, and then listen to her unique unrefined songs.


To be Syrian, you have to forget your sublime origins, as you used to be the son of al-Hamidiyah, the tomb of Bilal, Iskenderun Street, Arados, Palmyra, and that woman, who upon her memory, you will hear the neigh of horses.


To be Syrian, stop being who you are, and forget that you are the apples of al-Zabadani, the sweet dried grape of the Sweida, the oil presses in Afrin, do not be apricots and walnuts of Ghouta.


Do not be a lover, scratching the knife’s blade, and then burning his heart with fire.


To be Syrian, it is enough for you to be: the wreck of meaning...


All you have to do is repeat the following word: “Was”.





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