I’m back in Bamberg, where winter is warm, the streets are clean, and the air is fresh. There is a great degree of noise pollution here, though, because Bamberg is an industrialized city that has not yet learned how to properly informatize itself. Most people here have not reached a point where they struggle to record text without being interrupted. In fact, they are not that interested in encoding their own content, despite the insane tax-money that goes to their free education. Once they start using their keyboards, they’d realize how severe noise pollution is in their city.Continue reading “I left Syria, but I brought Damascus with me”
Two days after my arrival in Damascus, I woke up depressed, unable to imagine that I had to spend three more weeks in this zombie city. I did my bed, and sat on it for a moment, unmotivated to do anything. And then I saw my reflection in my mother’s big dusty mirror. The miserable way I looked inspired me to snap a picture. That experience somehow energized me to get up and have a busy week.Continue reading “The Last Damascene with a Keyboard”
It hasn’t been easy to be at home with my mother again after all this long. This is the fourth time I see her since I moved to Europe in early 2015. My mother is the same every time we meet, yet she’s changed a lot. Some things never change about people, but they age. The war in Syria has made most of us age faster. Mom is now 70, although she looks more like 80. It broke my heart to see how old she’s grown since I last saw her two years ago.Continue reading “A Baathist Legacy”
It’s hard for me to meet my father without us getting into a useless and irritating argument these days. It’s been two years since we last met. I’ve seen him three times since I arrived in Damascus. Now I realize how easy it is to be at peace with him when I’m away. I can love him then, even more than my mother. But once I’m here, I must remind myself not to be mad at him. When I talk to dad, it feels like I’m talking to Sultan Abdelhamid, or even Hitler. And what do you know; the old man is apparently a fan of both.
As a child, I loved my father. We had a good relationship until he retired as a trade inspector in 2000. Up till that point, my father had had a remote positive influence on me. I knew him to be the mighty inspector who had survived 17 assassination attempts throughout a crusade against corruption. He was always very passionate about his job, having grown up with detective novels. Those he read at a little bookstore that my grandfather, Abdo senior, ran.Continue reading “The Supply Man”
I walk around Damascus and I see how confident and confined its soldiers are, both men and women. They wear their camouflaged suits and tie their machineguns to their backs, commanding the streets as if they were heroes. This makes them the proudest people in the city’s alleys. I’m sure, all the way north in Idlib there are other kinds of confident camouflaged people. The two sides fight each other tooth and nail, but they both agree that their showcase of violence is a source of pride.Continue reading “The ugly truth that isn’t ugly”