Tuesday, March 19, 2013

birds and church bells

"we can hear birds singing in the morning more clearly now" said my aunt. it's a sentence that if taken out of context gives you the impression that this person lives in a town or even a village and has peaceful mornings every day where she listens to birds sing and now she noticed that the sound is more clear.

unfortunately this is not the case. i was talking to my aunt via skype a couple of weeks ago when she said that to me, and what she meant was that the sound of shelling and bombs is quite in the early hours of the morning after a long night of horror. people can't leave their home, even to go to work or school, very early anymore for safety reasons, so the streets are more quite than usual in the morning, hens the clear sound of bird songs.

my aunt still lives in my city, the oldest continuously inhabited capital in the world, i'll leave it to you to guess or google the name if you're interested in politics, but this beautiful city is under attack, i don't care anymore about labels and names, about who is with and who is against, about the regime and the opposition. war in my country has become too complicated and bloody that no explanation can suffice.

i live in another country, it was struck by the Arab Spring a bit earlier and is relatively more stable, but has its own major problems which are only a tip of the huge iceberg. there is a clear tension between the two major religions and bloody clashes take place every now and then in this country. feel free to guess where i live, no prize for the winner though.

my aunt's words made me more alert to sounds around me, our new apartment (we moved almost 5 months ago) we live on the 11th floor yet can still hear a variety of sounds including some street noise. a few days ago i noticed that i can hear the church bells twice a day, at 7 am (when i'm awake at that very moment to feed my toddler or agree to my preschooler's pleads to come to our bed) and at 5:30 pm unless my two kids take their nape at the same time so i too can have some rest. there is also the 10:30 am on Sunday mornings even though the weekend here is on Fridays and Saturdays, churches still hold morning mass and services.

so the sound of church bells now make me realize how thankful i am to still be able to hear them. some churches were attacked in this country including bombing one church here in this city on New Year's Eve killing tens of innocent people among the crowds of Christians praying there. this guessing game is getting easier for you to join.

the fact that church bells are still allowed  to ring and sing is in itself a blessing. people around the church, regardless of their religious background, can hear this call for prayer and a few more people who live in the buildings nearby can too enjoy the sound (or maybe not, i can only speak for myself).

bells only remind us to pray, but it's up to us to actually do that, and when we do, most probably our prayer goes first to our wounded countries, even though suffering comes in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors, the pain is one and it directs our prayers towards peace, harmony, stability, and prosperity. who doesn't want that for their country, their loved ones, and eventually all human kind.

those of you who guessed the name of the two countries correctly, might have as well expected me to end my post with Miss Congeniality's famous phrase: "World Peace"

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