Monday, March 07, 2005

The End of A Ponytail!

“Three thousands people demonstrated in support of their President on March 5.” So went one news report. Actually they were army recruits in civilian attire doing their commanders bidding, following orders.

Tomorrow, and on the eve of the “glorious” event that brought the Baath Party to power in 1963, more such recruits will gather in al-Jalaa Stadium to perform another sycophant song and dance about national honor and pride (a similar demonstration organized by Hizbollah will take place in Beirut). But the truth is, and the people know it, Baath rule brought nothing but shame and humiliation. It destroyed the very moral and civil fabric of our fledgling republic.

And the people know it. And the people know it. That’s exactly the problem. The people know it. This is not the time of ignorance anymore. We know. We are informed. We may not the whole truth about what is happening all around in us, but we really don’t need to. We just know enough not to be fooled by empty promises and gestures. We know enough to distinguish between victory and defeat, between a show of principles and a freak show.

The air of Damascus is getting more polluted with every passing day, but we can handle the smell of kerosene, and we can handle the smell of sweat and urine. But for the life of me how can we ever handle the smell of all these putrid souls around us?

As for me, I will stuff my nose with my own perfumed hair if I have to. And I have plenty of hair to do it. For today, I had my eight year old ponytail cut off. I don’t have to look different anymore. I am different, and that suffices for me. Still, the people know it. The people always know.