by Yousr El Sharawy

A silhouette it is.

 This is how we see each other now. Far. Very far, as I stand at the top of the citadel, armed with egoistic prejudices. & afraid to let go – to fall down – in love. I used to have a clearer picture before. Now, to each other: we are solely silhouettes.

 You are very far now. & the distance between us is a traveler’s journey that I read about in poetry books. Traveling all the way to you is worth it, 

but I am afraid. I currently dwell in my comfort zone. And reaching you could be so uncomfortable, O Syria. To dismantle all the typical measures of travel, and to walk all the way to you is indeed difficult.

To bare the rich nuances and the complex intersections that exist on the way to you may indeed lead to my arrival. But who wants to leave their comfort zones now, my dear Syria? What heart bears the heaviness of truths?

Deep down, I know you are worth the journey. I just cannot see that now. You are a silhouette. A silhouette described in the books of authors who may have never seen you before, nor have they seen your blood.

How can I believe that which I cannot see? & how can I see you in the dark? & how can I see that which is far: very far away! O Syria, you are very far away now. And the distance exacerbated with all the obstacles built between you and me.

Between you and I are refugees of love. Diaspora out of a war that spilled blood in between the rocks of the citadel, reaching to the far corners of the city.

Between you and I are strangers from ancients travels who want to colonize our hearts. And now they colonize our minds too, in the writers of Cairo, the readers of Iraq, the publishers of Lebanon, & the roads of Jerusalem. All of us know no resistance. 

All they preach is co-existence, and to get over the past. Because the past has passed. If only they knew, it only passed for them.

Between you and I, are these different countries inside of us. & the different sects that are fighting for our hearts. We are torn between different cultures, languages and traditions.  Even though they seem like one, we speak a different language now. And I don’t mean the vocabulary of the mother tongue – I mean the language of resistance, rights and freedom.

Where are we now from all of that? The composer of your music is everyone but you.

Despite being a silhouette, I can tell you are trying to see me in the crowd of seekers.

O Syria, if you can, just divorce all their proposals you get from the East and the West.

And solely seek refuge in me. If they change your geography, my heart can be your home & you can always live in my heart. & that, my dear, they cannot change. Ever.

I will remind you of the smell of mint leaves in your sidewalks and the fresh aroma of basil trees in the gardens of your family. The sprinkled thyme on the oven-cooked bread infused with the smell of white Jasmine flowers from my grandma’s balcony.

& bedtime stories will be about war and love – the stories that refugees brought to my expatiation.Stories that keeps us aware of the sufferings of this world, but also ones that I will turn into songs to put you into a warm goodnight sleep in my arms.

I will show you pictures of your mountains, your churches up the hills & the citadels built over the graves of your martyrs. I will show you the mosques in Damascus, the norias of Hama, the markets of Homs, & the protestors of Aleppo.

But there still remains that distance between you and me. And between all that which I would like to do. Between you and I, is a very long distance – O Syria. Even if they grant me a passport that brings close the proximity of geography, the greatest distance to travel will always the one from my heart to yours.

Yousr El Sharawy

Yousr El Sharawy

I am a graduate student of Political Science & International Development at the University of Guelph. My own identity took me to research pursuits revolving around social justice. I enjoy travelling, writing & the outdoors.