"To the impartial eye, the world not only seems an unlikely one-off phenomenon, but a constant strain on reason. If reason exists, that is, if a neutral reason exists. So speaks the voice from within. So speaks Joker's voice." - Jostein Gaarder

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

A Haiku for Dams

Ever since I finished reading Dogs & Demons: The Fall of Modern Japan by Alex Kerr about a month back, the way I see life in Japan has changed a lot. It’s a devastating book that lists up a massive amount of incomprehensible facts about how Japan works, and why it has become the way it is. It covers Japanese society, culture, economy and foreign relations widely enough to include disturbing facts that anyone who is interested in Japan, obviously including non-native Japanese people who live in Japan as well, should have it in their book shelves. The only problem is that it turns the illusion of Japan (supposedly of being a super-modern country parading at the very front in terms of infrastructure, technology, health care and whatnot), into what it really is; a country that faced sever problems after opening its ports to the world a mere 150 years back, booming after the Second World War and halting somewhere between 1970 and 1990, with a government abusing its people, its nature and its hopeful long-term visitors. If you can handle it, buy it, read it, and see Japan in a completely different way. You’re in for some big ass bumps on your way there. Or maybe that should be big ass tetrapods.

I could not have said it better myself.

After the first chapter, this book, with the cruel reality of it, turned from this pain killer to my endless suffering in japan that year, it turned into this scary fact about a country heading to a "concrete" wall of its own making, in the speed of Shinkansen.

Many people want to live the Japan Fantasy, it's hard to tell them that it's never really existed.

I feel empty.
I feel absolutely hollow and empty.

What is this country, and what are these people.

توفيت رشا ( 14 ) عاماً في منطقة الشيخ مقصود بحلب , إثر تعرضها لعملية تعذيب على يد أبيها , أدت إلى نزوف متعددة في كل أنحاء جسمها , ثم إلى وفاتها .

وكان الأب قد قيد ابنته من قدميها , ثم علقها في " أرض الديار" , وبدأ بضربها بكبل معدني على كل أنحاء جسمها , لمدة تزيد على الساعة , وعندما اشتد نزيف الفتاة , قام بإنزالها وإسعافها إلى المستشفى لتفارق الحياة فور وصولها إليه .

وقبل أن تصل رشا إلى قبرها , كان والدها قد وصل إلى السجن , فقد سلم نفسه لقسم الشرطة مباشرة بعد وفاتها , مدعياً أنه قتلها " بدافع الشرف" .

This is our country. These are our people.
وحول العقوبة المترتبة على هذا الجرم , قال المحامي السيد " إذا أثبت الأب أن هناك علاقة مشبوهة بين الأخ وأخته , فإن الجناية تتحول إلى جنحة , عقوبتها من سنة إلى ثلاث سنوات , أما إذا لم يستطع إثبات ذلك , فالجريمة توصف ب ( إيذاء مفضي إلى الموت ) عقوبته بالحد الأقصى خمس سنوات , تخفف إلى سنتين ونصف

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Another Story

This story, like every other pointless one, starts, sometime in the first month of 2006, when the freezing wind was blowing the trees off the eastern Mediterranean, the fuse burned and the house that was sheltering the 4 lost souls was sacked into the darkness. Darkness? it's more like darkness, with the sound of your blood freezing in your veins.

Ofcourse, the most natural thing, any 19year old group of syrians would think about at 3am, would be, let's go wander on the Corniche [Sea side].

The absurdity of the idea must've made it a fact, who in their right mind would dare go to the corniche in this unearthly freezing weather, nevermind the wind that was probably shaking the earth right and left.

We set off at my place, after rapping ourselves with every jacket/blouse we can find in the house. Armed with our lonely Cybershot back then.

We walked, we walked, and we walked, it's a real distance from my place to the southern seaside... and If we're gonna kill ourselves, we might as well do it with passion.

Tayyeb, enno we got there.

Bas that's it, we got there, we found an empty "7awieh", and just as, we decided that it is worth the feeling, how does it feel inside a 7awieh, I would say pretty damn normal.

One of us found himself a popcorn stand...

Me, I tried to jiggle myself out of..., well, this...

And then, just like any other story would end, we found a place to empty our bladders [Dont worry we were careful where to pee], and walked back home.

It is obviously of no real point to anyone who might read this, but it is, just like a great part of 2005 and early 2006, one of my fondest memories of those people.

It's amazing how this thing friendship works, how funny every stupid, obscene, absurd thing we do looks like. The amount of memories that you can hold to, the amount of firsts. I mean seriously, how the hell am I gonna get to take care of a guy who's balls were literally about to explode, simply because of too much making out without sex. We had to drive him to the hospital to take an emergency shot.

It's amazing how, everytime I happen to talk to one of them on the phone, it feels exactly as if am lying on my bed in that room and just chit-chatting off the boring afternoons...

Monday, June 18, 2007

The Good Times

I haven't written a word for a long time, June almost passed, and for the second year i don't have the drive to congratulate this blog for its anniversary.

I've been thinking a lot, I've been feasting on what everyone else has been writing, I've been listening to music excessively, and again thinking a lot.

Abu Fares asked me to write about the good times, and I promised myself to do that, or at least to stop writing about the bad times, for a while...

Amongst all the violence surrounding us, all the violence we inflict on others, we inflict on ourselves... Amongst all the beating we serve ourselves for every slip up in life, for every word that might've got out wrong, all the self-consciousness, and my own.
Amongst a lot, a lot of depressions, middle aged men handing you flyers to half naked women that says 70 minutes for ¥25000, the loud voices coming out of everywhere telling you to buy this and buy that, even your teachers yelling that a period always comes after a sentence, never before.

There are these random moments of serenity, or honesty, you can call it happiness.

They never last enough for me to write about them, only enough for me to savor them.

Sitting on a random bench, in a random park, watching random people walk by.

Being able to deliver a thought, without repeating what you say in every possible syntax.

Drowning yourself completely in the world of a book, when you become that Kafka on The Shore.

Dancing the night away, dancing with every part of you, with every drop of sweat.

And, enjoying a cigarette and a cold bear after a long friday, listening to the few voices of people sitting on that one red couch, and watching the bar tender having his usual Jack Daniel's, with Tom Waits' vinyl playing in the background...

There are many things one can think about in these moments, many feelings that will escape you any other day...

And those were the days of roses, poetry and prose
And Martha all I had was you and all you had was me.
There was no tomorrows, we'd packed away our sorrows
And we saved them for a rainy day.

And I remember quiet evenings trembling close to you...
Tom Waits - Martha