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An Ishmael of Syria An Ishmael of Syria by Asaad Almohammad
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“You are there and to their ears, being a Syrian sounds like you’re unclean, shameful, indecent; it’s like you owe the world an apology for your very existence.”
Asaad Almohammad, An Ishmael of Syria
“The blind faith in some half-assed conspiracy theories lines up with the logic of having to believe in something with no questions asked. It gives us peace and comfort. As simple as I was, I found that resorting to this absolute nonsense was the root of all our problems. It was a road of willingly-learned helplessness, for no action could make a difference, thereby no action was needed.”
Asaad Almohammad, An Ishmael of Syria
“I’ve been told that I cannot change shit, so I might as well stop torturing myself. My emotions are ridiculed and branded as childish. I have been told that the world has given up on my people. I have been told, and realise that on many occasions, I myself am viewed as an outcast by some of those suffering. I’ve been confronted and my answer is always the same: I care even in my most fucked-up moments. I care even when gates of shit pour open to drown me; I care because I am a citizen of the world.”
Asaad Almohammad, An Ishmael of Syria
“The old law of an eye for an eye didn’t make them blind to the fact that another man’s terrorist wasn’t their freedom fighter.”
Asaad Almohammad, An Ishmael of Syria
“I am not an atheist preacher. I am not an absolutist or chauvinist whose ways are immune to evolution. My core philosophy is that I might be wrong.”
Asaad Almohammad, An Ishmael of Syria
“For I’m neither a submitter nor a hating retaliator, I acknowledge the boundaries of my existence; yet, I still care. I care regardless of the way they choose to reduce me to the brand that is the birthmark of the accident of my conception. I care less about what that brand signifies in terms of my character, potential, and intentions. For the harmed I care. For the real victims. It’s the most basic of my mandatory civil duties. Only in caring, am I a citizen of the world.”
Asaad Almohammad, An Ishmael of Syria
“As a citizen of the world, it’s my instinct to keep the fallen and the suffering in my thoughts. The human brain fascinates me; its limitless bounds of empathy. You see, in my mind there is logic to it: do no harm, prevent harm, help, support, care for the harmed, face the harmer. My stupid idealist conscience considers sympathy, not pity, at its worst, the most basic and the least negotiable civil duty. Of course as a citizen of the world, I should strive to do more. That said, I am only a man and so I often do the least.”
Asaad Almohammad, An Ishmael of Syria
“For some reason, notwithstanding the alienation and utter rejection, I consider myself a global citizen. They say misery calls for company and I’ve always been a man of funerals. The companion of the misfortunate, until they are not!”
Asaad Almohammad, An Ishmael of Syria
“In light of my distanced telescopic exposure to the mayhem, I refused to plagiarise others’ personal tragedies as my own. There is an authorship in misery that costs more than empathy. Often I’d found myself dumbstruck in failed attempts to simulate that particular unfamiliar dolour. After all, no one takes pleasure in being possessed by a wailing father collecting the decapitated head of his innocent six year old. Even on the hinge of a willing attempt at full empathy with those cursed with such catastrophes, one had to have a superhuman emotional powers. I could not, in any way, claim the ability to relate to those who have been forced to swallow the never-ending bitter and poisonous pills of our inherited misfortune. Yet that excruciating pain in my chest seemed to elicit a state of agony in me, even from far behind the telescope. It could have been my tribal gene amplified by the ripple effect of the falling, moving in me what was left of my humanity.”
Asaad Almohammad, An Ishmael of Syria
“I am not an absolutist or chauvinist whose ways are immune to evolution. My core philosophy is that I might be wrong.”
Asaad Almohammad, An Ishmael of Syria
“As the voice of their priests chanting, 'In Racism we Trust' and their applause gets louder, I find myself in a limbo of conscience, out of my depth, just an exhausted heretic, in a purgatory, yet denying submission.”
Asaad Almohammad, An Ishmael of Syria
“In the mantra of shared hatred and placing the blame on Israel, our cowardice to face the barbarity of our heads of states was replaced with a divine purpose. Contemplating the manifestation of the eradication of hatred I often concluded, the entirety of the Middle East’s theocracies and dictatorships would be replaced by total anarchy. We would be left with nothing, as our brotherhood of hatred was the only bond known to us. Enculturated in the malarkey of that demagoguery, forces beyond our control and comprehension seem to deceive us into a less harmful and satisfactory logic as opposed to placing some blame on ourselves and thus, having to act to reverse that state of affairs.”
Asaad Almohammad, An Ishmael of Syria
“I have to stress that my duties towards victims of all sorts, be it helping, taking their side, or caring, ends the moment their status becomes a bargaining chip. The moment the victim becomes a righteous sufferer. For in my short time on this planet, history and on-going affairs are full of those competing in victimhood.”
Asaad Almohammad, An Ishmael of Syria
“For upon reaching his destination, a man with a past full of misfortunes can both taste the bitter drops of his sorrow and grin in triumph despite them. In reaching the desired end of his voyage there is an outbreak of joy. Even in a pyrrhic victory, a man of past and present tragedies experiences the sweetness of that unfamiliar emotion.”
Asaad Almohammad, An Ishmael of Syria
“Skepticism and cynicism, on the other hand, have been growing on me. For one thing, they serve me in repressing that hazardous state of hope. It’s the most destructive of all human emotions. It keeps us in the places we are frightened by the most.”

Almohammad, Asaad. An Ishmael of Syria (Kindle Locations 77-79). . Kindle Edition.”
Asaad Almohammad, An Ishmael of Syria