Monday, January 08, 2007

The long trip of 2006

I'm back. It's been a long trip since July of 2006. Five and a half months of mental self inflicted misery at the state of the world, then two weeks of total carefree wanderings around Paris with the family for the festive season; a perfect panache to retune the mind and boost the batteries for the next round of whatever will come in 2007 in our beloved homeland deep in the heart of Arabia.

But above all, it was about family … not shopping, boozing or binging on this delicacy or that …but bonding with loved ones. We walked the streets and took in the sights, arm in arm with offspring. We sang in restaurants with kafeeyas wrapped around our necks and had a merry time as we threw caution to the howling wind and toasted the odd raised eye brow and quizzical look. But we also marveled at the sad image of people sleeping in the open on the air vents of the Paris metro – in zero degrees temperature, and felt unnervingly detached. Perhaps it was because I remembered the streets of Sweifieh and Mohammad, a young underprivileged 10 year old with learning difficulties who tried to earn some money hawking on the streets while looking after his 14 year old brother with even worse learning difficulties and fear in his eyes. Life is not fair my mind getting saying, as I wrapped my coat closer around me and held on to my husband's arm even tighter as we took in the beauty and the cold of night of the Champs Elysee.

2006 was over and I was very glad to see the end of that most violent of years; but what would 2007 usher in? More of the same, I couldn’t help thinking as our flight passed Cyprus and flew over Israel. And then, thunderstorm alert … and as we were looking out of the window a thunderbolt hit the wing of the plane and dense fog descended. A sudden jolt as if the Gods were saying 'we may be angry but you need to awake from your slumber' ! I blocked out that thought with images of our approaching home and the book I am about to write; determined as I was to rise above what my husband believes is man doing what he has always done since time immemorial: waged wars, delved into dirty politics, invaded and murdered all in the name of power and self-interest. No heed is paid to the ancient wisdom of the prophets … will we ever, I pondered as I contemplated my new year's resolution: to finish my book, if only to keep me sane and rational in this most unnerving of times. J

Photos along the Champs Elysee at night:

fake snow!


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