Friday, November 20, 2009

In Search of Walid Masoud by Jabra Ibrahim Jabra

  The poor people were filling the roads and markets with movement and noise, and sleeping on the ground in their old ramshackle houses.  Like demons, they'd laugh, cry, and argue with each other.  They used to pray dutifully, and on feast days they'd come out into the streets and markets with cheerful faces, forgetting their poverty, and the tattered clothes they wore, and the mothers who struggled, laughed, and cried.  It was because of them that I wanted to change something that lay deep in the very core of life itself.  Whenever I conceived of the earth changing, in motion and assuming new hues, I'd feel a pleasant shudder deep down inside me.  It wasn't the way politicians bring about change (as I was to realize when I grew older), but that of rebels not yet familiar with theories and revolutionary planning and the kind of change such rebels aspire to has no connection at all with mere change in governmental systems and class conflict.

  It was notions of rebellion like this that prompted me to live in the way I must if I was to achieve the thing I was envisioning, however unclearly - which meant rejecting laws and customs that were found to be incompatible with this absolute love and float like an unknown bird in unknown heavens; and, within the setting of my isolation from everything, I would actually, paradoxically, be in touch with my love of everything.

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