Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The secret of Damascus

Is it the people of Damascus, with their fading smile that fights with the daily difficulties of life in Syria?

Is it the old section of Damascus, with its warm alleys and the smell of the hundreds of years that live among its walls?

Is it the modern part of Damascus, with its random allocations, and the smell of the pollution in the sky?

Is it the human noise in Damascus, with its mixture of all voices, a crying kid, an angry driver, a loud woman, a laughing boy and a shouting old man?

Is it the honks of the vehicles in Damascus, a running car, a stopping bus and an awaiting cab?

Is it the simplicity and the complexity of the life in Damascus, where the two exist under the same roof?

Is it the hangout places in Damascus, with people laughing, eating, playing cards or just simply, staring at each other?

Is it Kassion, the mountain that has been protecting Damascus for ever, with its occasional snow, permanent trees, and dark hideouts that shelter the lovers at night?

I have lived with, in, through all of that, and have been to all and though all of that as well.

The secret in there and the only special thing is Damascus itself. You may find the noise and the people, the old and the modern parts in many places around the world. You will find lots of bigger and higher mountains than Kassion. But they will never feel as they do in Damascus, you will never sense their spirit as you will in Damascus, you will never miss being away from them as you do when you are away from Damascus.

You will only understand what Damascus is, after you have lived there, and then left.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Ashamed of being Syrian!

I woke up this morning on the news of “Angry Syrians set two European Embassies on fire”.

I felt furious for this kind of response. This is not us, or at least, not what I thought we were not!

I welcomed, both, the commercial and diplomatic actions in response to the cartoons that mocked the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), and for once, I felt that we are reacting in a civilized manner! Not any more!

While I’m 100% convinced that the “Syrian Regime” had a hand in what happened. I still cannot understand the concept of being driven like a sheep. To me, those people who were sabotaging and burning the embassies seemed like stupid sheep led by a smart shepherd.

The demonstration had been set to be on Saturday, the off day of
all the western embassies in Damascus so they avoided any human casualties. This means they had already planned on letting angry/religiously-charged demonstrators go inside the buildings. The way the riot police was seen on TV and in photos suggests weak protection of these buildings. Furthermore, as a Syrian, I know that we have a strong security forces that can do anything to stop any unwanted gatherings, demonstrations, or actions with scales of responses that vary according to how bad they want to stop them.

All the above make me believe that our regime played a role in all this in a way or another!

Why? Someone may ask.

To send a message to the west demonstrating the alternative that will rule Syria in case the west decides to overthrow the current Syrian regime, I would answer.

I have always been proud of being a Syrian, today, and for a slight of a moment, I felt ashamed. But shortly after, I thought, I’m Syrian and they are not, and if they were, they are they ones who should be ashamed, not me.

Photo by El Sirio