It was the end of Islam Awareness Week in New Zealand. My wife, mother-in-law and my almost one-year-old daughter visited the only mosque we have in Wellington.
A young girl with the most beautiful voice sang a verse from the Koran. A Saudi man poured me a thimble-sized cup of cardamom-flavoured Arabic coffee and invited me to his country’s national day. There was candy-floss and a bouncy castle. We ate ethnic food sold by the various nationalities that attend the mosque. It reminded me of the hospitality I encountered when I travelled through Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and the West Bank in 2004.
I was lost in Damascus. I went up to a local and asked him for directions - I forget where it was I needed to go. He took me by the hand and led me to my destination. This was a regular occurrence. I fell asleep on the cool tiles of the Umayyad Mosque. I played countless games of backgammon with a French traveller who invited me to come and stay with him in Paris, which I did. I woke and fell asleep to the dulcet tones of the muezzin who sang from a minaret up the alley not far from my hostel; there is nothing else quite like it. There was an elderly barber - who rode to work on a motorcycle - that had a barber shop across from the hostel. My face has never felt smoother. I can’t remember his name, but I have a photo of him with his son. They’re smiling. I haven’t thought about them at all since the civil war. Now that I have, I hope they’re still alive. As I write this I wonder about all the Syrians that befriended me while I was in their country. All the Egyptians. All the Lebanese. All the Palestinians.
Mostly, the possibility the US might bomb Syria makes me feel disappointed. No matter how many mistakes we make in that part of the world, we never learn from them.
It is often in the small and simple things where we find the answer to who we are :)
Home is where the heart is!
Autumn breeze clearing the mind
To live is not this!
He was happy he'd decided to go
I'm stuck here in a society that doesn't let me be where I need to be. Held back by the people who birthed me, by the people who learned me, by the people who will bury me when I have lived my shitty, cynical life. I have three options, One which would bring joy to me that I have not seen in a long time, one which would give me the opportunity for me to be possibly the happiest ever happy in the future, and one which would break me apart. Most likely I will have to choose the latter. The one that will break me. The society that we have created will break me, just like it has broken you without you even knowing. We sit behind our computers, reading other peoples stories because we have none to tell. I am not free,if I go out and find a drink, I get arrested. If I go to the orchard nearby, I get arrested. If I try and build a house on some land that I think looks suitable to raise my family in, I get arrested. Is this how life is meant to be? Is this how we started? Is this how we will end? This may not make complete sense, but that's because it's come right from my heart. I hate western society.
Good luck living in a world like this. I'm off to Alaska.
The farmer's beads
The weight of a memory