The great Syrian writer Zakaria Tamer posted the text below on his FaceBook site last week — I (umm nuwâs at Walls )translated it into English:
Who are you?
Who is the Syrian?
The Syrian is an unknown citizen, he did not become famous for having chosen death, prison, endurance to the point of martyrdom and self-abasement that lead to freedom. The Syrian is a citizen living outside Syria and a citizen living within its borders readying himself to leave as soon as he is able, and that which unites Syrians in and outside Syria is a loathing of dictators and their regimes from A to Z.
The little one is eaten and the big one is eaten
The great thief devoured many little thieves , and the people exchanged satisfied glances, and they whispered in hushed voices: Justice always comes late, and the big thief will be swallowed up by an even bigger thief, and the biggest thief will be swallowed up by the blood of the martyrs.
The blind men
Sheikh Mahmoud told his young pupils to go to the window and to look at the sky from there, so the pupils rushed to the window, and Sheikh Mahmoud asked them:
“What do you see in the sky?”
The pupils said “An airplane flying.”
Sheikh Mahmoud said “You see very well! What else do you see?”
The pupils said “We see some clouds, and a sun.”
Then Sheikh Mahmoud said, questioning them insistently: “What else do you see besides the sun, the clouds, and the airplane?”
So the pupils stared at the sky, and then they said, sure of themselves, “Nothing, besides the sun and the clouds, because the airplane has disappeared.”
Then Sheikh Mahmoud said to them, in an angry voice: “You are worthless! It is as if I were teaching blind men who notice nothing!”
And when the little pupils left the school, they walked along the street feeling as if they were blind beggars knocking on all the doors for alms, but no door opened for them, and they looked up at the sky, but they saw nothing but the clouds and the sun.
What is left
Each writer is what he writes, and that’s all, neither more nor less, and any other noise he makes has no more value than grains of sand piled onto other grains of sand. Today there are writers who fill the public forums of Syria sighing and moaning about their support for the revolutions, but all that they wrote before the revolution was no more than whispers and suggestions in locked bedrooms where women are preparing to undress, for they wrote nothing and demanded nothing.
Don’t be timid!
The writer: I’m going to write about the growing number of beggars, and I will give the reasons for that with an in-depth analysis.
The pen: Why don’t you write about those men whose timidity keeps them from joining forces with the beggars?