Don’t talk about us – Syrian chronicles
Written by Abdulrahman Khallouf
Published by: Ici & là
Year of publication: 2017
According to source:
Take a step back and look at Syria, with Abdulrahman Khallouf.
“Sometimes, the least we need is a war, to allow ourselves to remember”
This is how Abdulrahman Khallouf ends his book, “Do not talk about us – Syrian Chronicles”.
When you get there, to these words of memory and war, you will surely put the book on a bedside table or in the corner of a shelf, and you will go back to your normal life course. But you will still have the taste of the streets of Damascus, the warmth of the nights on the rooftops, the smell of tobacco leaves slipping into the threads between fingers and the rebellious tenderness of childhood.
The author, grown in his exiles, has agreed to take the step to which the collection invites*. For a crossing, as painful as much as it is luminous, intensely dense and light, smiling and bitter.
It was thus necessary here to summon one’s memory in order to revisit a city, Damascus, and a country that is being devoured by an obscene war, and to take words to another level, in a language which he gradually makes his own, to inscribe, beyond forgetting, these paths borrowed by the child he was and all that his eyes have gathered from landscapes, faces and scenes.
In this narrative filled with nuances, do not look for answers about conflicts, communities and reasons for the disastrous present of the jasmine country; you will not find any. But you may, with the narrator, make this essential step back and look at Syria and its people with the eyes of a poor child of the Alawite community. What do we do to survive, as a child, when we are from the same community as the dictator’s clan that we are fighting? Do we act like his brothers, or his parents? How do we know what is just what is unjust? How can we learn about freedom when, quite often, everything around us is miserable and falling apart? How to keep the idea of beauty in all things in a hollow, softly disobedient melody? And how to move forward with the certainty that there are a thousand lives to live and a thousand scenes to invest in and words to bring to life and boundaries to burst?
Perhaps then, caught in the fine nets of a lively and clear writing, you will say that there is only one answer to give and to share, one that would make sense , this thread that you hold that makes humans human again.