I stand here on the side of the road which leads to the city and I give my self the luxury of choosing the taxi car I’m going to take…I stare at the faces of the drivers and the passengers before I choose one of the cars, I stare out of boredom and when I feel I have no time to spare I choose the cab, ride silently, tilting my head simply, this is not Syria and I don’t have to say hello.
This greeting could expose me and put me in danger of embezzlement when this driver discovers that I’m Syrian. I simply give my self the freedom to speak at the time I find convenient, which is after paying the usual price for a ride. After that I will have avoided any chance for the driver to scam me, then I will end the trip with the implied phrase of victory “On the right, master!” or “As you wish, brother” and then I’ll look with a hunter’s gaze at the face of this man who has just missed and opportunity to take advantage of my daily struggles.
I havent slept well yesterday, I was thinking of all the possible scenarios that could happen in the process of receiving food aids from some of the charitable persons who have sent me a text message telling me I should be at a certain place at 9 O’Clock, bringing with me my phone to prove that I am the one who received the text, as well as my UN documents, my personal freedom relies on fulfilling expectations put on me, as the case is much larger than my getting ammunition.
The image of one volunteer young woman keeps flashing in my head. As she works at one of the humanitarian organizations, she asked of me and the rest to stand in organized lines to facilitate the process and not waste more time, I would answer ‘Yes’ cheerful and walked away holding the basket.
As I am walking in the neighborhood of Aby Samra in Tripoli, a stranger, I wonder where the address sent to me could be, in my memory the streets look so similar, all the monuments of places are lost in the field of my hidden thoughts, as if I am walking in one of the neighborhoods of the city of Homs, but I don’t know which one. I am a village boy and I don’t like crowded cities full of buildings, I stare at my watch and walk faster as to not miss my appointment.
what is all this traffic? why are all these people here? men and women and children and old people and the chaos of refuge, exhausted faces with wandering eyes, between the hissing I hear the voices of two women speaking frankly “why do we come at 7 if the Sheikh isn’t even here yet, and we leave our children in this freezing cold weather?!)..an old man leans on a wall holding with his hand an arabic cigarette he’s almost done with while the kids play the new version of police and criminals (Free Army and Ghost)
I gave my self the freedom once more to choose where I’ll stand, avoiding conversation with a lot of the people standing next to me who belong to all different types of Syrian society, as if it’s a miniature Council of the people, but theres no need for side talk…moments later a loud voice came calling, telling everyone of the importance of organizing ourselves into lines, separating the men and women. I choose a place not too close and not too far to give my self the advantage of assessing the situation.
I generally hate loud noises and yelling in these kinds of occasions, I like quiet and serenity in such processes, we all know what we need to do, and so lets end what we came to do with as little effort as possible. And yet, I had to gather some strength to bare the rush of people towards the window, and so I have to go back home armed with the aids, and to be ready to be blamed for not getting what is in truth, my right.
The sheik entered the cottage to distribute the aids, he started calling out the names based on alphabetic order, I started hearing rising noises, people around him began to help him distribute the aids to one another; as I stand watched by an audience of strangers around me, the process went by faster and it was my turn so I came closer, I leaned in to ask but the answer was brutal (I don’t have your name here) so I stayed quiet..but I have your text here and it has the time and place!..he said: all of you say and overtime you come here and crowd this place for no reason! I am a man of integrity and can only give things to those who deserve them!
The man standing before me could do nothing but leave the window after this cold exchange, I had to make a quick choice, I wouldn’t want to be in this man’s terrible possession and so I retreated immediately avoiding “getting into it” I will pretend to have gotten the wrong location as usual and that I have gotten there too late, I’ll give my self once again the choice of picking the right time to leave this was not the first time that I have let go of my needs to salvage my dignity, man does not only live on bread.