Indeed, in times like these, people need to grasp at whatever symbols of steadfastness they are given, no matter how fake and chimerical they know them to be. My Mom is no exception.
Meanwhile, my wife, Khawla, who is half Palestinian, has enough relatives, friends and acquaintances in Lebanon to worry about. Almost everyone she knows there, Sunnis, Shiites and Maronites, had had to leave their homes. Most preferred to relocate internally, but over twenty of her relatives ended up staying in a small house owned by Khawla’s family in the poor Damascene suburb of Dariyyah. One way or another, then, the tragedy is hitting home for her and, of course, for me, as I have come to know and love these people like my own family.
My daughter’s plan to go see her friends in Beirut as soon as our application for political asylum is approved and the necessary travel documents have finally been issued, which is simply dragging on forever, seems to require adjustments now. But going to Amman is simply not the same. Indeed, Beirut is so special to us that, at one point, we were planning to relocate there rather than come to DC. We should probably be happy that we did not make that decision, but happiness, somehow, does not have much of a place in our lives these days, and contentment for being alive and relatively safe will have to suffice for now.
The headquarters of our little NGO, the Tharwa Project, that I have been slaving for the past 5 years to build, and which had only been relocated to Beirut last year following my expulsion from Syria, have had to be shut down again, as our team leader has been forced to leave the country. Thankfully, none of the people affiliated with our activities have been hurt, and, despite all these difficulties, our team leader is planning to resume her activities with us as soon as she settles down in her current refuge elsewhere in the region. Indeed, despite all the difficulties that we have faced over the last years, few have ever left the team.
And here we are working our way through yet another transitional period into the everlasting unknown.
As for me, I am too numb to feel anything really. Sometimes I think that I don’t even have the luxury of feeling, and that my energies are better invested in my work, no matter how pointless it might often seem. After all, planting a tree in the wilderness, if someone can indeed manage to pull it off, might just be more useful than a mere cry.