Thursday, September 5, 2013

back to school... in a few years

we've started the impossible search for a school for our son, and the discoveries we've made so far include the following:
  • the best schools in this city are French ones run by nuns
  • we can only afford a boys-only private school
  • our son was born on the WRONG month in school-admission terms
the complications turned out to be far more complicated than what we expected, and it's a work-in-progress with no good news to share yet

but all these "back to school" signs and invitation for stationary shopping and school supplies selections don't smell like September any more. i used to like school, actually i LOVED school, and i'm the only child i could think of who used to wait for the school year to start, the shopping part was an end in itself for my friends, but for me it was a means to an end, the final declaration that September is here and school is near... even though the weather wasn't always in logical harmony with the event because summer in Syria doesn't fear school, so it doesn't end when we find ourselves sweating in our classrooms in Damascus for yet another month or so, but i used to look for the smell of autumn in the smell of my new eraser and the not-yet-sharpened-by-me pencil 

i said good bye to my school in June 1996 but every single September that followed (including college years, and i had 9 of them, it's a long story) carried the same fragrant "back to school" goosebumps to me... except this year

the real reason why i see school supplies black n white and fragrance free this year is because the number of Syrian children who won't go back to school this year has dramatically increased during the summer of 2013, i'm sure there are children who love school now as much as i did when i was a child, for them the deprivation is definitely more harsh, i can even imagine kids who used to hate school but now love it because they miss it... but when your school (if not completely destroyed) turns into a prison, or a military base, or a shelter for displaced families (refugees) coming from other cities inside Syria, then there's no going back to school for you this year... and if you've become a displaced child yourself living else where in Syria (outside your hometown) or you're a refugee at a camp outside Syria then there might never be a back to school experience for you... ever...

yesterday the American Congress voted in favor of a military intervention in Syria, and a picture spread around facebook showing Obama with his index finger angrily saying: "Syria is killing Syrians in Syria, so we'll punish Syria by killing more Syrians in Syria" whoever put this "cartoon" together has a point...

so here's the REAL "back to school" photo this September for Syrians, young and old... all are students in the school of life... taking away their life from them means no "back to school" ever for them...

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