Saturday, May 07, 2016

Uncomfortably Numb...

Last week a Russian orchestra was playing a concert in Palmyra. In a grotesque pantomime, Putin sent his forces into Syria to prop up a clown against the enemy he helped to create. Celebrating a victory against a foe they didn't even fight, the Russians celebrated with pomp and fanfare. There, amidst the ancient ruins, notes of classical music rang out triumphantly. It was meant to symbolize the victory of civilization over barbarism, of light over darkness, and yet across large parts of Syria, especially in those that the Russian planes dropped their bombs, darkness reigns.

Men in white helmets are obliterated as they desperately try to save the people the Russians are "saving" from barbarism. The helmet doesn't mean anything, really. It's a symbol, like a uniform. It's a comforting illusion in times of stability, to think that the person represents something. But in Syria it becomes tragic in its futility. There is no infrastructure behind the men wearing white helmets, no vengeful government that can protect them from abuse. They're like ancient tribesmen who enter a battle against modern armies wearing only magical amulets, thinking they will be protected. It's all very depressing when you think about it.

Being Syrian is like being an unwilling actor in a play that repeats forever. You think you are going somewhere for a quiet coffee, and as soon as people realize where you are from, a reaction is inevitable. "Oh, I'm so sorry" they'd say. Or there is always the, "I can't imagine how you feel". And I just want to reply, "Actually I feel perfectly fine". But that won't do.

Instead I nod my head in a move that's been rehearsed a thousand times. Sometimes I shrug my shoulder for variety. I give out a sigh and say stoically, "What can you do?", but inside, I'm just screaming for the conversation to move on. I don't want to talk about it. I don't want to keep saying the same things over and over. I've said everything I have to say, I don't have anything more to give you. There is no inside story, no more tragedy that can be spoken about. My bank of emotion is spent and it's not giving out any overdrafts.

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