Friday, June 8, 2007

Maryam- outspokenarab

Observing the recent "elections" in Syria have been an experience. I have a few words to say but I tend to write them from the point of view of a story so bear with my writings. Here is some of what happened here with me and my cousins.

Posters of his face, Bashar al-Asad, screened every house, window and open space of air. The promise of peace, hope and future forcefully glittered in every direction. The sight gave her heart a jump a hope for an untouched future without the seeping encroachment of corruption. But she knew no such future existed, despite what the posters promised. Purity cannot be built upon corruption. And like always promises here were never kept, whether it was your father promising to take you tp the park or a promise of justice and equality in a dictatorship only slighted coveted with a thin drape of democracy.

Back in the taxi the conversation centered on the best places to buy scarves. The evil hands that extended from the posters and signs seemed as if nonexistent to the inhabitants of the car.

"There is a store at the end of the Hamadiya market. Do you remember it? We bought scarves from there last year. They have really nice scarves," suggested one cousin.

The others quickly agreed.

"You know, my boss was telling us yesterday," began one cousin, "that he'll give 1000 pounds to anyone who votes.

The only male in the car looked up, "Really? Then I'm gonna vote! Man, a 1000 pounds!"

She sat thinking she'd vote to, a civic duty sure. But a 1000 pounds? Even better. She opened her mouth to agree but then was tackled by a thought that made her stop cold. 'Who would she vote for?' And like that the hilarity of the moment, the joy of the shopping trip disintegrated in her frozen mind. She was left with the cold reality of being told she had the freedom to vote, but not the freedom to choose anyone but him.

Here is where my cousins and I get caught up in a demonstration for the President in my cousin's car.

They rushed by in their cars, chanting, screaming, whisatling, clapping. You name it. They had left the cafe to head home when the madness started. Cars stopped and started all around them with flags attached and posters waving. A march to support him for sure, his picture loomed in every direction like the darkness of the night sky above them.

Music shook from every car, sporadically switching from military beat nationalistic songs to gangster rap. The air was filled with joyfullnes and laughter and despite the chants for God, President and Country, no one's mind was on the future of the country or the upcoming election. They screamed their youth, sung their boundless hope and clapped for the moment.

She sat in the back, amazed and quiet at first. The reality of the occasin slowly began to sink in and she started to understand the laughter that peeked from her cousins' faces. They hated him. They always made sure to steer far away from topics that easily led to jail sentences without trials. Yet the young of the family were quickly becoming ocercome with the emotions of the moment. Soon she even found herself shouting cheers from the car and desperatly looking for a flag to wave. The moment seemed like it would never end as the night held to her ferstive mind and the tears of despair from the eyes of the oppresed in the country were silneced by the please of youth for joy in a time of utter helplessness.

In solidarity,
Maryam Al-Zoubi


salma said...

ya habibti, dont you know that dictatorships that promise to root out corruption do exactly what they say and have elections at the promised time? just look at musharraf in pakistan!

oh wait...

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