Farewell Damascus by Ghada Samman

Farewell Damascus

Ghada Samman

Underneath layers of the struggle for political (and intellectual) freedom for women in the Middle East, it is also a story about love. Initially all I could feel was anger, because young Zain had to suffer under the mores of her culture. But then admiration kicked in for her having the guts to get out of a bad situation and fight for herself. 'Fire up that second engine!'

'The sight of the city stretched out before me this way makes me think of eternity. I’m just passing through Damascus the way others have done for thousands of years. I’m reminded of how minuscule and fragile I am. My life is nothing but a tiny speck in Damascus’s vast sky. Thinking this way makes my own troubles seem less scary. Sometimes I feel the weight of the world on my shoulders, but when I take in the sight of this huge city stretching as far as the eye can see, my problems seem like nothing but a grain of sand on a vast shore, and peace floods my heart.
As my literary circle includes more and more people, some good, some bad, some noble, some despicable, there are moments when I feel like a butterfly caught in the web of some huge deadly spider. But then I think about Damascus, and I see myself in the right perspective again. I’m not a boulder on Mt. Qasioun. I’m just a grain of sand on Damascus’s boundless shore.'
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