last May when my husband was still in the US, i went to the wedding of two dear friends. there i met a directer of a show that i like, it's called "Needle and Thread". it was the second time i meet Maggie and we had a quick chat before the wedding started. actually our chat was a bit longer than that since the bride was late for almost 2 hours! anyway, Maggie told me that she's thinking of talking about Syria during one of the talk show's episodes and i got really excited about the idea until she told me that she wants ME to be the guest on the show with two of the 3 presenters. i dismissed the idea and took it more like a joke than a real plan or a serious proposal.
then came the famous summer of 2013 in Egypt, which was anything BUT a real summer, in the "traditional" sense of the word. so much has changed including myself throughout different crises and encounters with people on several occasions add to it the facebook interaction which was a daily intake of a bittersweet medication essential for my survival. i had added a couple more items to my mental and emotional "first aid kit" that summer and each proved its strength and showed its lack of effectiveness according to how events developed and unfolded from June till September.
at the beginning of September Maggie called me and we talked over the phone about the episode she had in mind and she told me that the show will be back on air weekly in October for its second season. i have to say that Maggie is one of these smart and creative people you enjoy talking to, and i feel some kind of chemistry between us as if we've known each other forever. the call went smoothly until i realized that she was serious, she wanted me on the show for 30 minutes live on one of the most watched Christian Arabic satellite channels in the MENA region. it was a NO NO for me so i tried to think of other Syrian guests who can appear on the show but Maggie was clear that: "It's either you or the episode will get cancelled" meaning that the topic will be replaced. my first fear was an uncontrollable surprising reaction i might have on air. we're talking about Syria, my beloved country which is now being devastated and torn by war, so the wound is still bleeding and i might burst into tears on T.V, as simple as that. my second fear was receiving phone calls as the two presenters talk with the guest, viewers can call the show and have an input (regardless whether what they say is relevant to the episode's topic or the whole talk show or not). Maggie suggested we stop receiving phone calls during the guest's part (as an exception and upon my request) and she asked me to sleep on the idea and answer her in a week or two.
one thing was sure that i did NOT want this episode to be cancelled, i do want this show, and every single show on the planet to talk about Syria, not about politics, but to shed some light about the humanitarian conditions of Syrians both inside and outside the country, both who left before and after the crisis started back in 2011, both who are directly or indirectly affected by the conflict in Syria. so i started to ask myself What Would Esther Do?, the story of Esther in the Bible has always been my favorite one (Joseph's comes next on the list), but wait a minute maybe i should ask myself WDED? = What DID Esther Do?, because she already did what she did, i don't need to ask her or imagine, her choice was clear and her decision was risky but right. there isn't that great of a resemblance between Esther and myself because my life might not be on the line like hers if i step up and speak my mind in order to save my people, or in an attempt to save a few, maybe not save them from death but save them from the coming cold of this winter, save them from other people's ignorance about their situation, save them from poverty and hunger, save them from neglect and being looked down to.... just like Esther decided to walk into that royal hall, i can decide to walk into the SAT7 studio...
as i struggled with many thoughts and fears waiting to reach a decision i'm comfortable with, and working towards making up my mind with a clear yes or now answer, i continued reading Rene's book "Daring Greatly"... most probably anyone can now guess what the answer was... i decided to say YES, a scared and hesitant but a daring greatly YES... once i finalized my decision and informed Maggie of the yes and the date i started to panic even more... what will i say? would it make any difference? this is an insignificant show in the first place, well why am i so scared then? it's a major show and many will be watching it live then they'll watch the two reruns and the youtube video...what should i wear? what if the day arrives with one of these horrific news arriving from Syria about a chemical attack or a massive massacre and i didn't feel like getting out of bed on October 31st let alone travel to another city and appear LIVE on a talk show on TV to talk about the very same subject that nailed me to bed and depression that morning?!!!!
shaking off these what if's wasn't easy, but it was necessary, not only for Syrians who might, just might be understood more or helped more, but it was necessary for me too. i didn't know why at the moment, i just knew that i both HAD to do this and NEEDED to do this...
so October 31st, which was last Thursday, finally arrived and i'll talk more about the interview later. i'm also currently working on adding English subtitles to the 38-minute-video you can watch here, in Arabic so far.
but for now, what i'd like to say about this experience, is that first i DO NOT regret having done it, and i'm glad i did it at a time when i still had a glimpse of hope, this hope is fading away, who knows, maybe a month from now i'll decide to reach a stage of total desperation that anyone anywhere will move to the rescue of a beautiful country called Syria and a beautiful people called Syrians... i have no guarantees, as i've already said on the show: "war changes us, war has changed me" so maybe war keeps changing us and will continue to change me! so i do have hope that my voice, one of many Syrian voices, upon finding a new platform might reach a wider area of the world, but even if it doesn't reach the ends of the earth and no one's life changes after this episode i still have hope that my voice will reach the small circle of people around me so they would know me a bit more (actually a lot more), no matter what the reasons are for me to prohibit myself from speaking so honestly often, this half an hour on air allowed me to open up a bit more and dare a bit greater than i usually do (or allowed to do).
Rene, you're right, fear is written all over this action of daring greatly, before, during, and after... i was scared and i still am, but i'm proud that i did this, and i'm also proud about the way i did it too... thumbs up from Esther too if she's looking down at me from heaven saying: "who knows? maybe you were made queen (married an Egyptian...asked on this show) for just such a time as this." (Esther 4 : 14 The Message)