Tuesday, January 22, 2013


There is a feeling of exhaustion amongst many Syrians I meet these days. A feeling that the cold will never end and that we might never laugh again as we did before. Perhaps the saddest thing I can think of is the plight of those people who have been made homeless by the violence. When I brush off the snow from my shoulders as I walk indoors I think of those who don't have this luxury and I shudder inwardly.

Should we feel guilty for having so much when others have so little? Or that we are safe whilst others are in harm's way? I don't know how to answer that. I know that I have done far too little to help end this suffering, and there are others, far braver than I, who have done more to fight injustice.

There is a feeling nagging me that we are in a trial of sorts - it's totally irrational but also inescapable - and that these times will come to an end; that all this suffering, cold and hunger can be forgotten about eventually and that the struggle will be vindicated. But is there really anybody watching our lives as if a story? As if the good will always triumph and that no bad deed is left unpunished? I suppose it is a human impulse to give meaning to the meaningless; to see shapes in the clouds or 'history' as some titanic struggle between forces. But for many people right now the only reality is the cold and the hunger, and a fear of violence. For them there is no cosmic guarantee that justice is inevitable. There is only a a tiny hope that things might get better and that these bad times will soon be behind us.

People say they will never forget, but they will. People forget quickly, and that's not a bad thing. Whether because of the passage of time or because their new lives have distracted them, people always find a way of moving on. One day they'll move on from this tyrant, too, and all that we have been through and seen will become part of a thousand yesterdays. Then, perhaps, we can rest a bit.

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