When They Ask You About Syria

They ask, what is life like inside Syria?

It’s many things, but mostly, right now, it’s exhausting.

It’s exhausting to those who, like me, do not reside in areas of conflict. It’s exhausting because we’re not really there and yet everyday life reminds us, snidely, whispering in our ears, that we are.

It’s exhausting because we don’t really know what’s happening.

It’s exhausting because you feel betrayed. But who did it? Who pushed the button? Who was the first to fire back? Who was the first to declare war?

When was the fruit plucked, and who tempted them to pluck it?

There surely is a culprit, but with so many parties roaming around it’s frankly hard to pinpoint the blame on one party when everyone seems and sounds guilty. Even you, in your little apartment, away from the chaos, are guilty.

Of what? I have no fucking idea. But you are, and you feel it all the time. You feel it when you eat, you feel it when you go down for a walk, you feel it when you have money in your pocket, you feel it when you wash the dishes, and the deliciousness of warm water on your skin is riveting.

Sometimes this guilt makes you feel like standing in a crowded street. There’s no place for your feet. People are walking around you, numb, drained, their eyes glassy, indiscernible. You sense that only you still possess enough conscious to avoid bumping into others. The rest of your fellow country people become terrifying; you don’t know them anymore. Everyone are distant, unapproachable.

But, perhaps, you’re the one who’s distant and approachable.
*
They say, I don’t read the news anymore.

Good. Good for you. How much is the yogurt?

A lot. A lot of money.

You buy nail polish instead. You’re not hungry anyway, you just wanted the yogurt because the yogurt is an essential part of the Syrian experience and you want the Syrian experience. You still want to feel that this is Syria and you are Syrian and you are eating that special Syrian yogurt that is unlike any other.

You cannot eat the nail polish. Now you’re hungry. And extra guilty. You bought an unnecessary item when many of your fellow country people have nothing to eat.

You apply the nail polish. There are no instructions to apply the nail polish so you have to figure it out by yourself. I’m sorry this is so but it’s just how things are. Stop whining. No, no don’t cry. Now now, there’s no point in lamenting the unbought yogurt.

The first layer of this nail polish is basically transparent. This angers you. You apply another layer. The first layer hasn’t dried yet, so they kinda mingle and collect instead of spread.

This nail polish is made somewhere outside Syria. It is laden with conspiracy. Even applying it is being conspiratorial! You are helping the enemy by endorsing in their products. Bad citizen. Horrible citizen. Absolutely unpatriotic!

No more nail polish, your mom says.

Your mom secretly paints her toes and covers them with socks.

You don’t like your fellow country people anymore, but you like your country, at least you think you do. They taught you to like your country, so you probably do like it. But you don’t like your fellow country people anymore, you’re certain of this, and you have a sneaking suspicion that the feelings are mutual. They don’t like you either, you’ve become a burden. One more mouth to feed. But you’re not hungry! I mean you just bought nail polish instead of yogurt, why do they have to treat you like this?

Why does everyone act as if this country is theirs and theirs alone? I have an idea! Let’s all create our own countries. Me, you, that man rummaging in the garbage. We could all make a country.

Right, you want a flag? I will help you create one, after all, this is a national movement, or maybe a goodbye party, either way, I will help you in designing your flag.

Oh you want the two stars in the original flag? But I wanted them first, so you can’t have them.

Seriously? Do you even know what the fucking two stars represent?

Me neither.

They probably represent something but it doesn’t matter, because I called for them first.

What the fuck, you can’t use my nail polish to paint your stupid flag. I call this whole plan off! Back to Syria, no country for everyone, return to your parents, play time is over.

You don’t want to go back to Syria you say? But you were just fighting for the two stars. Ah, right, you don’t know their meaning. Obviously you can’t use something you don’t know the meaning of. What will you say when diplomats and ambassadors ask you what they mean? It would be embarrassing to not have an answer.

Silly, you just created your own fucking country! Who cares what foreign ambassadors have to say?

Now that you have created your own country, we, as the international community, implore you to take Syrian refugees in. Open your arms. Haven’t you seen what is happening to their country?

Oh, you’re not watching the news anymore?

Good. Good for you. News lie anyway.

to be continued… sometime in the future… maybe

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