Existence

LIFE . PAPER BAGS . LULLABIES . FOOD

The Creative Adult

When we grow older, reality hits us. It hits us so bad that we start labeling children: “naïve”, “dreamers”, “hopers” and “just kids”. We think that adults know better because they know what’s “real”. We get lost in the spirals of realism that our only escape is the dreams that are rendered as fallacies as soon as we wake up, shutting down every piece of imagination left in us and muting the almost-silent songs in our heads. But some of us keep that fire of innovation we were born with alive. And unknowingly, the fire keeps us alive.

The rest of us, though, just merely exist.

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Freedom isn’t free, but …

I’ve tried to understand how people can be happy Assad’s forces reclaimed Aleppo from the rebels, claiming they’re “happy it’s over” and “the rebels were worse than the regime”. There’s 4 things that don’t make sense:

1) It’s not up for debate which side has inflicted more harm on innocent people. There isn’t an information gap or bias here. Even if you lumped all freedom fighters into their worst form, a bunch of looters and extremists, it’s impossible to equate that with civilian bombings, chemical attacks, and humanitarian chokeholds. At worst, the rebels are well-intentioned bad actors, but the government’s intentions and actions were orders of magnitude worse from Day 1 and continue to worsen. We sat at the table with this regime for years, but blame those who they pushed to extreme conditions? May God help us, because miscalculating a lesser-than-two-evils problem is clearly not just an American issue.

2) An ethical analogy (perhaps reality) for this situation is torture – would you give up your just cause because your oppressor is torturing your family? I think no, but no matter the decision you make, the criminal here is the torturer, the regime. Should freedom fighters give up their just ideal because it’s impractical? I still think no, because it depends on the type of person you want to be – someone who died for impact or someone who died for an ideal. We tend to assume that outcomes matter most, what’s practical is right. But in the eyes of God, it’s the ideals you stick to that matter most, and Aleppo never lost sight of that.

3) Nothing suggests that government control will improve the situation of the city’s inhabitants, rather, the data shows they will enforce collective punishment on everyone who dared to stay trapped in their killbox instead of flee. This emboldens an already ruthless regime, so I can’t be “happy it’s over”, I’m gutted that it will get worse.

4) You can tell me there was no path forward for the rebels, no win in sight, but you cannot tell me that was the case all these last 4 years where the world had multiple opportunities to do the right thing and deescalate the conflict. If the loss of Aleppo doesn’t grip you with pain, perhaps you’re suffering contextual amnesia – peaceful protests started here, forcibly turned into civil war by a violent government – that’s the context you can’t forget among the finger pointing.

Freedom isn’t free, but it shouldn’t cost an arm, a leg, or the lives of millions of innocent people. In your quest to be pragmatic in the face of emotional nightmare, never miscalculate the crimes and assume the best of those who don’t deserve it, so that you can validate supporting the easier side. Live with the knowledge that those who paid dearest weren’t the regime (this was in fact their best outcome)… it was the Syrian mother, brother, and child who stood firmly for an ideal. May God reward them for it.

aleppo-syria-1Pray for Humanity

Protected: I Woke Up Happy

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Here’s a sign

Here’s a sign. Here’s a sign for anyone who wants to get away. Here’s a sign for everyone in a relationship, a friendship, a job that is chaining them like wingless birds. Get away, loosen grip from conversations that lack substance, that are so self absorbed you forget your own worth, or worse, forget that you have a heart that beats to be felt, and a chest that roars to be heard, conversations that are like broken lamps in a dark park on a Monday evening, conversations you don’t take to your sleep, that don’t create colours in your dreams, that don’t intrigue you to a point where you are dazzled and lost for days analysing every word, and every pause. Leave a conversation that has not handed you a paintbrush to take part in the portrait, that pushes you off the canvas, that offers empty palettes. Learn to be more afraid of hollow conversations than loneliness.

Ammata Siri

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Detox

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A Letter to My Dying Best Friend

To the spark that lights my life, my best friend, my sister,

Soraya.

I’ve been dancing around it ever since you were diagnosed as stage four. Not the kind of happy dance you do letting go of the steering wheel when your favourite song plays on the radio. Instead this awful verbal two-stepping I’ve done around what you’ve never been afraid to face. Like you always tell me, I’ve been ‘emotionally constipated’. And the last few weeks were the hardest, I think that’s why I decided to adopt a puppy to distract myself from thinking about you. Still searching for one.

As lame as this sounds, I don’t know what i would do without you. I know, asking you to fight this because I’ll miss you would be very selfish of me. I would never want you to do that, nor would I want you to fight it for the people you love and care for, not even for Mohab. No, I want you to fight this because the world needs a beautiful soul like you. A beautiful selfless soul that could light up anyone’s day with something as simple as a smile. I know how exhausting fighting this battle could be, you’ve seen me and you stood by me through it all. Remember when i had my surgery you wouldn’t let me use the bathroom alone because you thought that something bad would happen and I would die. 😛 I know, sometimes the pain is just unbearable and all you want to do is pray to God to take you away. It’s okay. I would, all of us would understand if you choose to stop treatment regardless of the fact that it will be very hard to deal for the rest of us. It’s not selfish, no matter what people say or make you believe, it’s not. What matters right now is you, and it’s your decision alone. But, I don’t want you to give up just yet. You’re a fighter and that’s what you’ve been doing your entire life, and I know there’s enough strength in you to kick cancer in its ass.

I don’t know what to say. You of all people know how hard it is for me to put my thoughts into words. Painting would have been a lot easier, but you insist I write this and post this. I figured out why you’re making me write this, it’s not that you want to know what my feelings or thoughts are, you already know that. It’s because you think that writing all this down would help me to deal with it better. You’ve always looked out for me. Still doing it when it should be the other way around. Remember the time when we were on our way back home on a tuk, you started screaming at the driver and then managed to stop the vehicle and give him a good thundering slap, while I just stood there wondering what on earth was going on. I was completely unaware of the fact that he was making racist comments at me because i was so engrossed in my phone. Hahaha

I look like a little boy in this one

I look like a little boy in this one

We’ve been best friends for 22 years. It’s not enough. I want more. It’s not fair. We made a deal, I was supposed to go first, not you. Moron. I’ll always be mad at you for this. But I’m still hoping and praying that I’ll be the first to go. Death is uncertain. Call me a coward. That’s okay.

I got myself a puppy today and I’ll be seeing you in a few days. Can’t wait to see you. Shame on me noh? I started to write this letter a month ago, and I’m still writing it. It’s hard. Dumbass -.-

I will miss you. I don’t want you to go. I’ll be a wreck. I can’t deal with another death. That rhymed. I’ll crack. They’ll probably go lock me up in Angoda. Why can’t you just gather all the strength and hope in the world and fight this? walk your talk man. You can’t give up. Why can’t you have the same determination you had when you first started treatment? It’s exhausting. EVERYTHING IS EXHAUSTING! BLOODY FIGHT IT YOU ASS!!! Coming to think of this whole situation, I don’t think I’m dealing with it very well. I don’t even have any emotions stirred up inside me. Still emotionally constipated. I’ll always be emotionally constipated. Or I am in denial. I’m not sure which one it is. More towards the emotionally constipated side. I don’t care about my grammar or punctuation. Stop complaining about it now.

You’re the only person that I jabber all my problems to. Only you. And you know that. There’ll be no one to give me a good slap when I can’t get my shit together. I’ll be all alone now. Thanks. I know it’s not your fault. But, it wasn’t supposed to be this way. I’m pretty sure I’ll need psychiatric help. Or I’ll run away, into the wild. Get eaten up by a leopard. And die. I’ve lost my appetite already. There’s cheese kottu, and I don’t want to eat it. Every other year someone has to bloody die. And it’s just not fair. And you sit and wonder after making it through the deaths of all these people, it will be easier to deal with the next one. No. The bloody heart just keeps getting weaker, not stronger. If I end up being an inconsiderate, selfish, coldhearted moron, it will all be because of you guys! You’ll had to go and die. What if I become a drunkard again? Do drugs again just to numb the pain? All because you’ll had to go die. All of you’ll are cows. Plain cows.

I can’t continue writing this anymore. You wanted a letter, and this is the best I can do. I wanted to make this beautiful. The letter I mean. But I’m stubborn and child like and I failed at it miserably. I’m sorry. I love you. But, you already know that.

Harmony of Liberty?

It baffles me that the world is so concerned about the imagery of crisis that they’ve learned to overlook the problem itself, and it is suddenly all about what hashtag is more humane than the other.

I have been dramatically moved by the attacks in Paris, and I would not like to compare my grief to how I felt for other ordeals. And it’s not because they’re white. And it’s not because I’m muslim and the backlash should concern me. And it’s not because I’m afraid of a third world war. But because Friday night’s victims were everyday people who were going to bars with friends, or to restaurants hoping to have an end-of-week dinner with family, or were at a concert, or were buying a gift to their children, or were rushing home to feed their cats, or were on the phone but hadn’t enough time to tell the person on the other end of the phone how much they loved them. These people were just walking on free lands and expressing freedom in the most beautiful ways and that was their only crime. In today’s world, freedom can get you killed in the name of a God created by men who have not yet understood the harmony of liberty. These men have only understood fear all their lives, and they want you to be afraid too. Don’t let them win.

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There are days you wake up thinking you can juggle the world between your fingers, and other days you wake up feeling the air around you intoxicates you to a point where you can no longer leave the premises of your bed. The nights in between, you shuffle between being a warrior and a slave; wondering whether you want to lose yourself to win the world, or lose the world to win yourself.

Follow The Mind

Sometimes I sit with people and I hear them converse about the good ones they’ve met in their lifetime and it makes me pleased to listen to the endless stories of how strangers have done them good. However, there would always be a but. “But he drinks” “but he doesn’t believe in God” “but he’s Muslim” “but he’s Christian” “but he’s on drugs” “but he’s tattooed” “but she’s a stripper” “but he’s a policeman” “but he’s black” “but he’s white” and it would feel like someone who had just given me a new iPhone 6S took it back and smashed it on the floor till the damaged screen shows the world how broken we are. I think the problem here is that we believe morality is irrelative and that it is more of a golden wire than an elastic band. That you can’t meddle with morals. That being good is white and being bad is black and that grey only exists to the lost. In a way or another, we are governed by religion, culture, politics and education but we must also be dominated by our minds. Go astray and let your mind guide you the way, if you are a good person, whether black, white, muslim, a drunk, a druggie, you will do good to people period. There is no ‘buts’ in a grey world. Everyone would say “follow your heart” but in a movie, that has somehow changed my life, I heard a rebuttal to that “have you seen a human heart? It looks like a fist wrapped in blood.” The human heart does not have the capacity the human mind does. It does not have a synapse and it does not have the capability of digesting and interpreting and recreating the information that flow in. So follow your mind. Your mind that has been storing all the books you’ve read, all the conversations you’ve had, all the scenery you’ve seen and all the thoughts that keep you up at night. Follow the mind that can be a paradox of good and bad, of hell and heaven and of sin and deeds.

Follow the mind.

“We Walk Together”

In due time, when history books document the struggle of the Syrian people and the traitorous journeys they embarked upon to live decent, respectful lives, the world will remember two distinct stories: countries that sheltered innocent human beings from the war, and those who abandoned the call for humanity.

As for the Gulf – and in particular the Saudi Arabian/Qatari coalition – Countries with enough wealth to shelter the Syrian people 15 times over; the world will not forget how you shunned the very people whose war you fuelled. And to the Pro-Gulf sympathisers: allowing Syrians who were previously residing in the Gulf to work without their Iqamas (residence permit), isn’t a form of refuge. Get a grip.

A beautiful 15 minute documentary following a Syrian family’s perilous journey from Hungary, to safety in Germany.
Make sure you keep a box of tissues nearby.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2015/sep/10/we-walk-together-a-syrian-familys-journey-to-the-heart-of-europe-video?CMP=share_btn_fb