Monday Mining – The heart of the matter

On weekends, I usually try to catch up with the blogs and news sites that I follow but that I can’t seem able to keep up with during the week. That’s why on Mondays, I usually try to post links on CulturTwined. It keeps me accountable to actually read the news and find out what’s going on in our world of diversity.

So yesterday, was working my way through the 800+ articles and blogs queued up in my reader, trying to find out what was worth thinking about. I’d pretty much decided that I wanted to dedicate this week’s links to Syria, particularly after reading this article. Things there are tough, it is a country very dear to me, and we can’t forget to keep praying for that precious, precious land.

But my heart was too heavy to read news. I thought of what a friend wrote me in an email last week: “Thanks for being my ambassador to the other parts of the world… I still can’t bring myself to watch the news.” She’s right, you know… the news is heavy stuff.

Too often we don’t see how serious, intense, and emotional the stories relayed in the news are, because it’s written in a dry manner. But it’s talking about people, human lives. It puts into dry language a reality that touches the most sensitive part of people’s innermost beings. The news should probably lead us to tears every day – perhaps they’d be tears of joy, but at least we’d experience the emotion of what the news is telling us.

So today, instead of news, I’m posting a little bit of my unpublished novel, Dreams in the Medina, which follows the lives of young Syrian women through the process of university studies and self-discovery. This is the Syria I know and love, that inspires me while breaking my heart with the suffering I’ve seen there. Let’s pray for this land.

The girls ate eagerly, enjoying this specially-prepared breakfast. They felt the love and the energy that had flowed into each dish by Roxy’s hands. There was a sense that this wasn’t just any Thursday; it was a special day. They felt like first-years, experiencing the Medina again for the first time. The world was just waiting to be discovered.

“I hear Jabal al-Sheikh is beautiful this time of year. We should go one day.”

“Yes! I’ve only been there in winter. It must be beautiful in the summer. That nice dry cool breeze.”

“Huda, How far is your village from Nahr al-Bared, that Cold River that people go to just to sit in when the weather’s hot? I heard it’s near Latakia, is that near your house?”

“Actually, Nahr al-Bared is near Hama.”

“Oh. Do we know anyone in Hama?”

“There was a girl down the hall, she invited me to visit her village, but that was three years ago. I don’t think that would work anymore. I haven’t talked to her since.”

“Oh. Well, maybe Jabal al-Sheikh is just as nice.”

“It’s very nice. I’ve never heard of Nahr al-Bared. But people come from all over the world to go to Jabal al-Sheikh.”

“People go to Nahr al-Bared from the Gulf.”

“Oh, they do? Is it nice?”

“Well, I’ve never been there.”

“Neither have I.”

“Neither have I.”

“Anyway, girls, Jabal al-Sheikh is only an hour from here. There are buses that go there from Damascus. That’d be a great outing.”

“Yes, we could do a picnic!”

“We could make salads and buy fatayer, and my mom sent some sweets the last time we were in the village.”

“What a great idea! That’d be beautiful! We could invite the guys, they might want to come and play ball. Then we could hire a whole van just for ourselves.”

“Oh, how beautiful. I haven’t actually been there at all yet.”

“So when should we go? Tomorrow’s Friday. Is everyone around?”

“Oh, I need to study.”

“I’m going to my uncle’s house.”

“How about Saturday?”

“I don’t know. Let’s see.”

“Hey, I know! Let’s have a picnic here, in the Medina. This week. Jabal al-Sheikh will have to wait until after exams, perhaps.”

“Yes, after exams, before we all go home for the summer.”


“Oh, don’t remind me. Let’s plan a picnic, right here at the Medina.”

“We can take our gas burners downstairs, and I have an arguile, water pipe, that I hide in my closet. I know the director of the building, so no one says anything.”

“Yes, let’s! Tomorrow! I’ll make the tabouli.”

“I’ll bring some fatayer.”

“I’ll bring my gas burner, and make tea, and those sweets.”

“I’ll… I’ll… I’ll cook something special!”

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