Reality outstrips imagination

A strange phenomenon has emerged from my inability to write subjective literature. Before the revolution, I used to resort to my imagination in order to survive a reality that was bitter, frustrating and miserable. Through imagination I sought my own private world as a haven where I could breathe. After the revolution, that imagination became reality.

In other words, the world that I created through writing and in which I enjoyed living became the reality; so what kind of imagination and what dreams could I seek now? Everything was confused; compared with the horror that was taking place in front of our eyes, imagination became an inactive area with a trace of pretension. Reality outdid imagination and disrupted the usual scale by which the human mind measures plausibility. Our minds and our memories were confused, so what could we write, what could we write about, and who should we write for?

These questions did not arise before the revolution, at least as far as I was concerned, because we had stability, however negative, oppressive and deceptive that stability might have been. It was, nonetheless, stability and it turned writing into a pleasant form of rebellion, a departure from the familiar and an attempt to stand apart from one′s surroundings and from the routine of daily life, from rituals, conventions and taboos.

How can writing now be all of those things together? Against what reality can writing rebel when dozens of Syrians are being killed every day in bombings, in prison cells and in refugee camps from cold, hunger and the psychological and physical damage that has been inflicted on millions of people?

Are the feelings of a Syrian writer today equal to the feelings of the unfortunate Syrians for whom death is a constant presence? Is the suffering and the pain equivalent? Even if we assume that writers are committed to the idea of a moral duty imposed by their profession, a duty to write about people′s suffering and convey their pain and their concerns, what happens in fact is completely the opposite.

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