It is difficult for me to give a specific address for my house… about life in the slums

“Kalb Ibn Kalb, who puts garbage bags here / don’t pee under the window, oh beast, R+T = Love forever, Legal Purgatory Abu Jalal, Legal Midwife Um Muhammad, Walls, Notebooks of insane people, Jableh Kassar Ras Al Wahda , Al Waseeh Pipe Unblocking Workshop”. It is not a surrealist delirium, or a literal reference to the paintings of the painter Salvador Dali, or the superfluities of a prophet’s project at the beginning of his path with writing. This is what I see when I leave my house, which I change every year, when the lease ends, like a Bedouin carrying his tent on his back!

If God is just or exists, then I believe that Ridwan will open the door of Heaven for us without any doubt.

And if I wanted to be more attached to my inner feeling on this subject by expressing it, I feel that I am a “light” that neither the sky shadows it nor the earth carries it. Slums, those that have been hastily removed, and in the dark, if the day is considered “scandalous”.

Cardboard houses whose walls of blocks and cardboard barely block the view, but they cannot muffle a conversation between a married couple in their bedroom, or the hissing sound emanating from the TV of a single man enjoying his time with “porno” movies, or the crazy revenge songs that sound. About a phone lover going through a tough time. But if I’m a little lucky, I listen to fragments of “This is my night,” then if I’m more lucky and the electricity comes, I’ll have to enter a race against time to try to charge the lighting and mobile batteries , and pray to all the gods and demons, that the laptop battery charges enough to work for an hour Three quarters, well, half, and you have a fourth, bloody children.

Life between jasmine and cement. Photo: Tamam Barakat

Slums and alienation

Twenty years ago it was difficult for me to give a specific address for my home because I live in an area of ​​slums that surround Damascus as thorns surround a rose. Today this difficulty is still there, especially since I live in 86! How can someone who lives in a number have an address?!

The “86” is the famous name for the area in which I live, and it is one of the rugged mountainous areas, in which it was difficult for wild animals to follow its steep paths, which makes anyone who sees them question all the laws . of gravity, for some of those paths make the walker seem suspended in the void!

Twenty years ago it was difficult for me to give a specific address for my home because I live in an area of ​​slums that surround Damascus as thorns surround a rose.

Areas without a soul or identity began to spread in Damascus since the 1990s, and its ugliness grew and flourished until it became the “ugly dream” for most of those who come to the capital from the Syrian countryside in general , whether for work or study , having found there, a gracious alternative, to rent in other areas Regular housing, where the monthly rent for a room on a roof costs a full year’s wages for a house in one of the slums.

Paths cut off by coincidences and strange fortunes, for people who left the green plains and pure mountains to become townspeople, but they remained on its sides, and Damascus remained for them, a wild rose fenced with thorns, which them on local channels, or heard on the radio, or even from tourists!

Color houses

In those dead houses our children grow up, and their eyes are not preserved from colors, except for the gray shrouded in black, the only color that hangs over those regions along its length and breadth, for houses in which there is no advantage around a window or a balcony. What the viewer sees from the windows and balconies is a strange mixture of square walls, with their dull and contradictory colors. It is difficult for any plastic artist to innovate like him, even if he has worked on it for a long time!

In those dead houses our children grow up, and their eyes are not preserved from colors, except gray in black casing, the only color that hangs over those regions along its length and breadth, for houses in which it is no advantage to have a window not to have a balcony.

As for the balconies, they have turned into a repository for “crakes”, or small rooms attached to the house, so who wants to drink a cup of coffee while looking at the misery and bitterness, on the crazy laundry lines and the waste accumulated here or there? Who wants to look at the sky, or what appears from it, while listening to endless hysterical screams, suddenly appear, and suddenly disappear, as if from a horror movie?

We have forgotten that there is an existing horizon, and we have forgotten the color of the sky. Even the sun refrained from visiting us except with extreme shame, after its rays had broken millions of impenetrable walls. However, one thing saves us from the deadly routine that harms the residents of organized areas and “respectable” neighborhoods, which is that we sleep and wake up to see We have come to a completely different turn, literally!

One night is enough to change our existential character, after a five-story building appears out of nowhere, with the ability of a skilled contractor to build more houses of disappointment, and to block the rest of the air full of people and smells . the smells of their food. New walls to further muffle the noise of family and societal problems, one of which I find myself entangled in without realizing it, unintentionally or even intentionally, as I settle an epic clash that erupts a few inches from my bedroom window have, between my neighbor and his wife, or between two respectable neighbors over water. In doing so, I gained a new skill in communicating with people, which I did not learn and would not have learned anywhere else but in prison!

Talking about the regulation of these areas is no longer boring, but rather funny, but “Live, Kidish”, maybe at some point it was useful to talk about the issue of regulation. As for now, the case is impossible, or rather a kind of madness, because the place has become a cancerous tumor that does not stop multiplying and growing, like a giant octopus with deformed legs.

Talking about the organization of these areas is no longer boring, but rather funny, but “Live, Kadish.”

Water and electricity were distributed randomly in the slums by wires and hoses, twisted around each other, sparks flaring from them. One foot slip up those narrow paths is enough to make its owner one of the graves. A primary school was built that does not accommodate 10% of the students in those areas, and a health center that does not open its doors before ten in the morning, and if anyone happens to be found there, it is the ghost of the user. which disappears into the shadows, as if it were the ghost of the opera house!

The subjects living on that planet, there are no improvements they hope for, since the relationship of the specialized institutions with them is based on the collection of electricity and water bills, and thus the population has created a new social contract, and chaos has become the system that controls life in slums, in which sales prices rise, according to the will of the owners, And they raise the prices of those chicken coops, permanently, as if in “Abu Rummaneh” or “Al-Maliki”, the price of ‘ A small room in that hell reaches the equivalent of the salary of a first-class employee for 40 years!

“It’s as if we were created to respond.”

In spite of all those miseries, which I have described just a little, life, as usual, is not able to reach anywhere it wants, and it has reached those sharp mountain canyons, to our random existence. as establishing a very realistic life in slums, and here it developed after “a hundred years of isolation.” “. The roads were crowded with shops, and now we have a road that the service can penetrate with great difficulty, because of its narrowness and one-way direction. It is enough for two cars to cross roads, so that a hellish congestion is created that can only be tolerated is by those who are endowed with the greatest determination, and patience and forbearance that protects him from death. All that has happened and will happen to these strange regions, however, will not make them strange to their extraordinary inhabitants or so they want “exotic “don’t be.

Our souls were in despair, algae grew over our eyes and lips, and we became like wandering ghosts who turned to nothing. We no longer cared to see the sun or to see us.

Our souls were in despair, algae grew over our eyes and lips, and we became like wandering ghosts who did not care about anything. We no longer worried about seeing the sun or about seeing us. If God is just or exists, then I believe that Rizwan will open the door of Paradise for us without any doubt, it is enough just to see on our foreheads that scar that says: “They were dead while they were alive, they have a long part of their lives, strangers.” Nor do I think that Hell is crueler!

* The article expresses the author’s point of view and not necessarily Raseef22’s opinion

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