Archive for Damascus

Syria On My Mind

Posted in English, Middle East, Stories and Tales with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 2013-06-15 by candycactus

This blog is not about politics. Maybe it is. Listening to the news about Syria, I am thinking much about the experience there in 2007 and what is happening now, trying not to judge, just to observe. Here are some thoughts that cross my mind. When I lived some time in Damascus in 2007 many people said to me that they preferred dictatorship than what was happening in Iraque at the same time. There are many things that make one thoughtful about what is really happening. As I stated some time ago – history is a pile of stones. It depends which stones are on top, this is what you see, but there are always many underneath that you cannot see easily. There is no right history. We are presented now the facts by the media, that are writing history in the very moment, but in the future they will most probably turn out either to be fake completely (as it happened several times with wars in the region) or in context of other facts they will look differently. The “stones”, facts about Syrian reality on my mind are like a disordered pile.

  • Syria has a social landscape of extreme religious diversity – Shiites, Sunni, Druze, Allewi, etc. However, Sunni muslims are trying to get the over hand in the region. Dictatorship made sure that this diversity could flourish.
  • Turkey has a majority of Sunni muslims. Religious minorities, such as Alewi and others have been persecuted and emigrated, many of them to Europe. Turkey is a member of NATO and is ally of USA. Who has more dictatorship in this case? Whirling sufis you’ve seen in Turkey on your trip? Bullshit. There are no not underground Sufis in Turkey.
  • The number of weapons available to rebels now in Syria could not have appeared in a short time. A long time secret action was needed to make it possible, also regarding the fact that the Assad’s regime did perform a lot of control. When the revolution was happening in the Baltic states, the weapons where pencils and sticks. Weapons do not appear just out of nowhere.
  • Turkey was fighting the PKK near boarders of Syria. Weird coincidence – the war against PKK has stopped as soon as the war in Syria began.
  • Turkey is in control of water flow from Euphrates and Tigris rivers to Syria and Iraque. The Ataturk dam effected that Northern Syria suffered from lack of water with all its consequences. Same thing is happening with Tigris Ilisu dam, affecting Iraque. By the way, with huge investments from Germany and other well off countries not from the region. (There are many dams being built in the North of Turkey resulting in the loss of millenium old architecture from ancient Bagrationi ruled Georgian-Armenian Tao Klarjeti region, events happening quietly, since Turkey through clever policy made sure where turists go and where not )
  • Jonathan Cook in his bookIsrael and The Clash of Civilizations. Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East. Jonathan Cook 2008 explores the speeches of various Israeli politicians and notes that it has been since the 50’s that the goal of Israeli policy was to cause a chaos in the Arabic world. One example from the book:

“Michael Ledeen, a former Pentagon official and an ideologue of the American Enterprise Institute had given voice to this longer-term neocon ambition in 2002, before the invasion of Iraq:

“First and foremost, we must bring down the terror regimes, beginning with the Big Three: Iran, Iraq, and Syria. And then we have to come to grips with Saudi Arabia… Stability is an unworthy American mission, and misleading concept to boot. We do not want stability in Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and even Saudi Arabia; we want things to change. The real issue is not whether, but how to destabilize”. p.119  Link to my earlier post 

  • In one of the short films presented from Syria about the events now (a part of this project) it was interesting to hear a following story. There were guys fighting on the street in some town in Syria, people gathered around, more and more, and then the guys suddenly started shouting “Freedom” and the crowed joined in, not thinking any more that the fight was staged in order to attract attention.

If you need to start a revolution, I think from these facts you can write a manual how to do it. Not difficult. Make sure that you isolate the country politically and economically beforehand. And put it on the dangerous country list so that nobody goes and sees it from your own country. And takes the news of today as they take it.

Accepting the permanent impermanence of things I am terribly sad that Damascus, the city of the cities will never be the same. This is how Syria looked like in 2007, have a look at some pictures here. 

PaveikslėlisA man selling fuhl in Damascus – beans sprinkled with cumin and lemon.


Posted in Damascus, Downloads, Stories and Tales, Travel diary with tags on 2007-07-04 by candycactus

Grynai vat sitom dienom turi ant LT pasirodyti zurnalas “Gatve”. Ir ten yra mano rasliavele apie Damaska.  

Hammam ir Haram

Posted in Damascus, Lietuviškai, Middle East, Stories and Tales, Travel diary, World Bike Trip with tags , , on 2007-04-10 by candycactus

Moteru diena. Siandien pirma syki gyvenime nuejau i hamama. Turkiska pirti. Kazkaip nebuvo kompanijos. Bet jau siandien einu, nes paskutine proga. Praveriu duris. Uzuolaida. Muzika arabisku sokiu, bet dar nieko nematau. Atidarau uzuolaida. Sakes.
Vaiku gimtadienis. Mergaites ir moterys soka, pastatas senobinis kaip baznycios ir saliono kombinacija. Pasirodo ne gimtadienis. Mergvakaris. Nuotaka juodais plaukais, raudonas gele plaukuose, permatoma suknele, krutines apvalios. Jai 15 metu. Nuryju akmeny. Atrodo, laimingos jos. Bet pasirinkimo didelio gyvenime neturi. Kaip ten bebutu, dabar balius. Sokiai aplink fontana, salotos, tada visos eina i vidu pirties, viena kita sveicia, vandeniu pilsto. Senobe. Per stiklus skliautuose sviesos spinduoliai inyra. As irgi plikutis smaginuosi ir pradedu vel tiketi laiko keliavimu.
Po nusisveitimu vel sokiai, jos rengiasi, dazosi lupas, tada kruva mane kamantineja. Sako, kiek turi pinigu. Nu, sakau, falafeli galiu nusipirkt. Tada jos atnesa man zaisliniu monetu nuo kazkokios sunkeles ir sako, nusipirkt uz sitas bapkes nama Damaske. Gerai, sakau. Aciu labai. Bet tai jus ateisit pas mane arbatos, ne?

Sokam visos. As cia dristu tik nakti prie mecetes sokti, kai visi jau miega, ar ant stogo. O dabar pagaliau turiu moteru kompanija.

Haram reiskia draudziama. Ta namo dalis, kur gyvena moterys ir draudziama kitiems ieiti. Haram reiskia ir nuodeme. Cia vyksta slaptas gyvenimas. Fotkinti lygiai taip pat siukstu. Kaip gerai buti moterim. Vyrai niekad nepamatys, kas vyksta HARAMe.


Posted in Damascus, Middle East, Poetry, Travel diary, World Bike Trip with tags , on 2007-04-04 by candycactus

There is a saying, that if you catch yourself thinking more than once a day that you are not in a right place, it means it is time to change – the work, the person you are with, the place, otherwise you can start counting your days until you have a diagnosis with cancer.

I was wondering what one’s body develops, if one thinks from the morning to the evening, that everything is better than you could expect from your life? Sometimes I think that I eventually have so much energy, that if everything would work in esoteric or alchemic ways, it would be enough to solve any Middle East conflict.

Or as Milena sings – it is not the Middle East, it is my Middle Ear.


Posted in Damascus, English, Middle East, Travel diary, World Bike Trip with tags , on 2007-04-04 by candycactus

It is possible to tame cities. Like wild cats. In the beginning it seems to be absolutely impossible. But then the cat comes down from it’s wilderness and calms down. And starts eating from your hand. You jump inside of joy, but at the same time try to keep it secret and your hand not trembling. Until it strucks you – the cat has tamed you just as you tamed it.

Numbers or being a real SHAMI

Posted in Damascus, English, Middle East, World Bike Trip with tags on 2007-04-04 by candycactus

He says, the number of his family is 8. It shows in your passport, how long your family is already in Damascus, indicator about how really you are Shami, the real one from here. There are maybe 500 numbers. The more close to zero, the more Shami you are. So his family is like 400 years here.

He says, we are real racists. We don’t like intruders. So who do you like, I ask. Foreigners. But only the ones who leave, ugh? And we burst laughing.


Posted in Lietuviškai, Middle East, Stories and Tales, Travel diary, World Bike Trip with tags , on 2007-04-04 by candycactus

Yra toks pasakymas, jei galvoji, kad esi ne vietoj kelis syk per diena, reiskia turi jau keisti, darba, zmogu, vieta, arba issivystys vezys. Kas issivysto, jei istisai, kiekviena diena nuo ryto iki vakaro galvoji, kaip yra gerai?

Kartais galvoju, kad turiu tiek geros energijos cia, kad jei viskas vyktu ezoteriskai ar alchemiskai, jos uztektu suspresti bilekoki Middle East conflict.

Ar kaip Milena dainuoja, it is not Middle East, it is my Middle Ear.


Posted in Damascus, Lietuviškai, Stories and Tales, Travel diary, World Bike Trip with tags , on 2007-04-04 by candycactus

Eina diedukas siaura gatvele. Vaikai zaidzia rutuliukais. Senukas paznaibo vienodai vaikui uz zando. Ir nueina. Nieko neivyko kaip ir.

Chebryte stumdosi is ryto prie pardes. Prasideda darbas, jie metosi pistacijom ir duksta.

Gelezu gatvej, kur daro visokius metalinius dalykus viskas birska barska, rankos dirba, elektromagnetiniu lauku nera, jie man moja, as jiem ir.

Ir mano naujas kambarys (kadangi is seno turejau issikraustyt, nes grizo zmones) yra matraco dydzio nemeluojant, jis turi langeli. Ir jis man dovanotas. Kaip mamos gimdoj anksta ir miela.

Ir jie visi sako man, kai einu uz Ommayd mecetes, kur tu buvai, mes taves pasiiiiiiilgom. As jiem sakau, as jusu irgi.

Miestai yra prisijaukinami, kaip kokie siautejantys katinai. Atrodo, pradzioj beveik neimanoma. Bet tada po truputi katinas aprimsta. Ir ima esti is tavo rankos. Ir dziugauji sau viduj, bandydamas neissiduot, kol galiausiai pastebi, ko iki siol nepastebejai – kad katinas tave irgi prisijaukino. Damaskas mane turi.

SKAICIUS arba kas yra tikras SHAMI

Posted in Damascus, Lietuviškai, Travel diary with tags , on 2007-04-04 by candycactus

Jis sako, ju seimos numeris yra 8. Pase jis rodo kiek laiko jau esi tikras damaskietis. Sako, yra iki 500 skaiciu. Tai jo seima yra tie tikrieji Shami, tipo jau kokius tris ar keturis simtus metu jie cia. Su jais skaitosi. Sako, mes esam ziaurus rasistai. We don’t like intruders. Klausiu, o tai ka megstat? Uzsieniecius. Bet tai tuos, kurie isvyksta vel, klausiu, ir abu pratrukstam juoktis.


Posted in Lietuviškai, Middle East, Stories and Tales, Travel diary, World Bike Trip with tags , on 2007-04-04 by candycactus

Susitinkam tarpdury. Pasitaiso akinius. Jis panasus I kazkoki nedrasu zvereli. Sako, einu kazko valgyt nuspirkt. Einam? Einam. Sako, briuselis ikyrejo. Tai vaziavo medziu sodint I Siaures Airija. A, del tu medziu gal nesijaucia jokio prancuzisko akcento. Ar arabisko. Nu, sako, kai taksi vaziuoju, tai iskart sumeta is tarties, kad as irakietis, ir tada jau nutaiso rustu veida.

Nemegsta cia irakieciu. Nu, kaip ir normalu, galvojam, strukturinis dalykas, mat per 6 menesius ju cia 2 mln atvaziavo. Jie sneka panasiu dialektu, bet taria kitaip, tarkim sirijoj namas yra beit, o irakieciams biet. Nu tai kaip aukstaiciai nuo zemaiciu skiriasi.

O jis Irake nebuves. Sako, kai pastininkas atvaziuodavo, tai iskart reikdavo pasta paimt, nes kitaip irako saugumas iskraustydavo. Ir kai paveluodavo, tai paimdavo su viskuo, su visom reklamom ir visu kitu trash mail. Jo seima is mamos puses skaitosi pranaso palikuonys. Shiitai. Khomenei pas jo proseneli kuri laika glaudes, kai buvo egzily. O dabar jie patys jau dvidesimt penkis metus belgijoj. Bet vis nori ir planuoja grizt. Vaikus siusdavo I paryziu egzaminu laikyt, mat beligijoj arabiskos mokyklos nebuvo. Tai reikdavo viza kelis menesius is anksto gaut. Ir tai per vargus ir su irakiska saugumo palyda. Kadangi gyveno su irakisku pasu, tai kai vaikai vaziuodavo su klase I yzgi svetur, amar negaledavo. Bet sako, buvo vienas krutas mokytojas, tai paslepe ji po traukinio sedyne ir taip ir jis pabuvojo sveicarijoj.

Dabar jis oficialiai belgas ir sako, cia damaske jis jaucias zymiai daugiau europietis, negu kas kitas. Nors arabiskai laisvai kalba, bet jo cia uz sava tai visai nelaiko.

Ir bandau isivaizduoti ji Shia kontekste nu ir niekaip galvoj netelpa. Buvau cia Shiitu mecetej. Dar nezinau ka apie tai galvoti, vaitojancios juodos moterys, asaros zliaugia, tada kruva apsikabine karsta Fatimos. As irgi juodu apsiaustu ir bandau neissiziot per smarkiai. Grustis neimanomiausia, nors diena bilenkokia. Vaikai knibzda, ant kilimu, tada kitos skaito korana ir linguoja. Nu zo. Bandau ziureti i viska neteisianciom akim. Bet sunku.