Syria. Touching Faces And Moving Hearts


Some years ago I was in Bejiing and, as people do whose life and mind are largely unguided by a sense of direction, I found myself on my own and  in some back street and away from all tourist routes and sights.

The Great Wall, the Forbidden City and other places are amazing and engrossing, of course, but as always and everywhere it is people I love and who fascinate me: eyes across cultures and languages which meet mine and seek for reasons and understanding. After a time, as I wandered around looking at the street markets I walked into some arcade for no reason at all.

Suddenly a group of younger adults surrounded me and started prodding gently at my cheeks and pulling on my luckily short moustache.  There was no aggression in it but merely curiosity and wonder at a being, I presume, in their midst and so alien in appearance and experience:  I was surprised but did not feel threatened.

I am aware that our time on this earth is finite, and during my time here I am apparently divided by matters of sex, culture, race, age, income and many other factors from most people around me, but I don’t care so much about that. What I care about is emotional state and welfare ,regardless of your sex age or circumstances, and those who experience fear and joy, feel in the  same state as anyone else who shares those feelings. It is emotions which connect us as powerfully as any common circumstance, and when I hear of people in distress, or see silencing and spirit crushing  crowds of men and women on some street in Syria hoping for food, or the sheer bewilderment of those caught up in some tragedy, they are as I would be in their place.

The gods above must laugh at how we separate ourselves from each other, given how much we share in this life and on this earth, but still we do,: seek to separate ourselves. I am a man of no position at all, and as ordinary as they come, and that is a matter of some satisfaction to me. Those people in Syria are just ordinary people as well, but the situation they find themselves, by some accident of geography and political instability, is not ordinary. How they endure it, I cannot begin to understand, but it is a lasting testament to the bewildering contradictions of our species, that a man or government can look with wonder at the stars, but remain indifferent to the plight of others caused by his arrogance.

About Peter Wells aka Countingducks

Trying to remember what my future is
This entry was posted in character, community, creative writing, Environment, faith, Life, Syria, Uncategorized, writing and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Syria. Touching Faces And Moving Hearts

  1. leagpage says:

    Well-said, no: well-felt.

  2. Al says:

    This is a stark departure from your regular wordsmithing, where we are at ease to interpret any philosophical innuendo. This is direct and to the point and I like it also…..and agree.

  3. And, someday, we must learn. Or we shall lose it all. I see this side of you in conversations totally unrelated. I am glad you chose to let it out, even if only now and then.

  4. Caroline says:

    For all our developments in the world of technology and science we are still very primitive. I wonder when we will learn, as a species, that to count on each other, respect and honour our differences is more important than the things we create in the mistaken belief they are important and they will protect us. Probably not until it is too late

    A great post xxx

  5. renxkyoko says:

    This is a great post, Peter Wells ! ! I can’t add anything better that what;s in your post. Direct and heartfelt.

  6. A wonderful post Peter, its contents mirroring, Im sure, how so many of us feel about situations of this kind. So very well expressed.

  7. Jane says:

    I too often am in awe of the strength of spirit of others who truly have an unbelievable task of just surviving.And I wonder how I ended up where I am and they where they are. It amazes me and it humbles me. So many do not see this as the lesson it is meant to be. Well said.

  8. Dylan Hearn says:

    Very well said. While the internet may have brought many of us closer together, in other ways we are as apart as we ever were; often, in part, to meet the needs of short-term political expedience. Blame is so much easier than compassion, with fewer commitments.

  9. babs50nfab says:

    You are so right, Peter. This is very well written. I find myself seeing the images and trying not to put myself in their place, but you can’t hide from it. It’s real, it’s spreading now into the Ukraine, and commoners like us need to speak to it.
    Bravo!
    b

  10. I traveled in the Soviet Union (before it became Russia et al) and realized first hand that cultures are different which doesn’t mean good or bad or frightening or threatening. Those wonderful people didn’t have that ‘space’ that Americans have around us–that if you get too close, we feel intimidated/frightened. In the Russian culture, people jostled, pushed, bumped and all good-naturedly. I learned a big lesson on that trip.

  11. Civilisation has for 10,000 years in many ways done little but cause increasingly more division.

  12. innocence is always lovely, welcome. :)

  13. Ina says:

    A very good posting, we can not ignore what goes on on the world and we can’t do anything about it as well, but we are all humans and our pain is the same everywhere so we can at least feel for those in hopelesness. And complain less about our own problems :)

  14. Jen says:

    In a similar vein to a previous commenter, the Internet has brought us closer in many ways, as print news did 100 years ago, but there are still distances to overcome – geographical, cultural, religious, political. I’ve learned, even in living in a country that is not so different from where I grew up (but different enough) that our assumptions on what it is to be human are so rooted in our own experiences. This is not to say what’s happening in Syria is not horrific. It’s simply to say, as more connected as we’ve become, we are still in so many ways, worlds apart. Including how we experience joy…

  15. restlessjo says:

    Thanks for expressing so well what many of us feel, Peter. The nightmare of thousands of lives is paraded before us daily. What I mostly feel is helpless.

  16. ****I cannot begin to understand, but it is a lasting testament to the bewildering contradictions of our species, that a man or government can look with wonder at the stars, but remain indifferent to the plight of others caused by his arrogance.***

    I absolutely LOVE your heart & soul, Peter. XXxxxx

  17. nelle says:

    On a cold Monday morning, a post exuding warmth. I stand with you all the way, for these are things that drive me in life.

  18. jmmcdowell says:

    I think you’ve expressed beautifully what so many of us feel. Travel is so eye-opening, especially when we take time to go beyond “the beaten path” and see people as they really live, away from the tourist zones.

  19. Excellent thoughts, Peter. It is awareness of our emotional and spiritual commonality, our human need to live free and unthreatened and to our happiest and most productive potential that will help heal the world of the divisiveness that thwarts peaceful co-existence.

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