By Robin Yassin-Kassab
It really is summer time 2001 and Sami Traifi is suffering. His PhD looks slipping ever farther from his grab, and a up to date journey domestic to Damascus has thrown up a few stressful relatives secrets and techniques. On best of all this, his spouse Muntaha has simply introduced that she is taking on the hijab, at a time whilst he could not suppose extra far away from religion, faith, and from having any solutions for any of the large questions.
Furious with Muntaha, he unearths himself embarking on a spontaneous quest for which means and success, yet all too quickly his seek spirals right into a hedonistic rampage and threatens to damage every thing that he has . . .
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Extra resources for The Road from Damascus
Let me ask you a question. ’ Fadya aimed at him the eyes of someone used to staring through storms. She staged a smile. They watched each other, stalled. And then a cousin stood up and faced Sami, with blue chin raised, slight moustache quivering. ‘I’ll tell you, cousin, which poetry is important to us. ’ ‘Tell me,’ said Sami. But why the defiance? Sami hadn’t had anything to do with these boys since playtime in the distant past. ‘The Qur’an,’ said the cousin. ‘The Noble Qur’an. The Perspicacious Book.
So when any sensible man would keep a sweet smile on his face and his mouth shut, this Faris decided to join the Brothers. He didn’t do anything, mind you. No plots or bombs. Just said yes when another student asked him if he wanted to join the organization. They said they’d fight corruption and the Communists who’d surrendered our land to Israel, and this donkey Faris agrees with them and lets them write down his name. ‘After three months of earnestly doing nothing but go to engineering lectures, Faris is informed on.
This was particularly important. Its eroticism, secularism and defiance all contributed to the sexiness of Sami’s Arabism. And Mahmoud Darwish, national poet of Palestine, was a further source. Sami would gloweringly recite Darwish in Arabic to the bar girls: Record! I am an Arab And my identity card is number fifty thousand… I have a name without a title Patient in a country Where people are enraged… Beware… Of my hunger And my anger! Poetry wove a web of wonderful origins: jasmine-scented, fruit-laden, tasting of dusk.