Friday, September 26, 2008

"In the Office of the Head of the Political Security apparatus in Damascus"

I was sitting in the office of the head of the Political Security apparatus in Damascus, to get an approval for a new passport...listening to him as he read out loud my father’s file, and counted the number of arrest warrants with his name. That was less than a week after my parents’ death.
He rolled up in his big fancy leather chair, and said, “What exactly guarantees, that if we do give you a new passport, you wont go and turn out to be an asshole like your father?”

This isn't just any story. This is a young man in the midst of reconceptualizing - not abandoning - his Syrian identity, re-making his very soul, and thinks others in his country are on the verge of doing the same. As far as I can tell, for the Arab World, this is something entirely new:
...It is truly sad to see this happening, in a sense. But it also offers a real chance to truly change. To try to reconstruct together our own national identity, just as we do with our own personal one. To start critiquing ourselves, and our world more consciously. To dust off our own layers and layers of cement and ugly facades and look what’s underneath. To read our own history more critically, and reconnect with it. To regain a long lost sense of dignity and humanity. To try and let this generation recognize its problems, and express them.

The author properly titles his post, "On Hope".

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