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25 May 2016

(Alnnasik) الناسك

The hermit

Photo by Marta Santos
Once upon a time there was a hermit sitting at a crossroads.

He was not a very old man, just old enough to have whitened hair and beard... but still young enough to be able to carry on his back a big rock which accompanied him day and night.

The hermit was looking at the path on the right, western side, and sighed. To the eastern side, he was looking at the path on his right and sighed again.

An owl and a snail living in the place had been gazing at him for several weeks, till they finally decided to speak to him.

In a dark night when the moon had fled from the skyline, the owl started a conversation with that man, choosing the moment he seemed to be completely lost among the stars he wistfully watched.

"You have been dwelling in these settings for thirty nights. What is it that makes you stand for the bitterly cold nights in this place, that makes you bear the suffocating heat and the rain without putting you out from here? Is there anything you are looking for?"

The man, sitting on the grass, slightly moved away his body sized wrapping hood from the mouth and uncovered it.

"Time ago, I was looking for something. But I am afraid I have forgotten what it was."

The hermit, still lying, turned back to conclude his answer. However the owl, buffled, continued the conversation.

"How can a man forget what he is looking for?"

The man remained silent for a while, doubtful. Then he decided to pronounce his thoughts.

"It is difficult to explain. It was something very important to me. In fact I have gone through fields and desserts to be able to find it. But one day, for no reason, this stone appeared on my back." The hermit pointed at the rock standing beside him. "Since then, walking became a harder task for me. Days became a hard, restless struggle to move on, and little by little my steps slowed down. Till I reached this crossroads and did not know which one I should take to continue my search. The weight of the rock was unbearable and I had to sit and take some rest. I have been thinking over which one I should follow since then."

The owl bended its feathery head.

"And you have not decided yet?"

The man sighed.

"Every morning I will lay the heavy rock on my back. Then I look into the path on my right and I consider it to be a bad idea following that direction. After that I look into the path on my left and I judge it madness following that way. The rock becomes heavier and heavier and I just keep waiting for the dark night to return, to be able to discharge it from my back and lay it on the ground by my side while I sleep."

"And why don't you get rid of that rock? Leave it in this place and go ahead with your search. Whatever path you choose, to the right or to the left, will take you somewhere. But if you do not make a decision, you will stay here forever, absorbed, full of doubts."

The hermit sit up. Lying sit there on the ground, he started to caress the stony block.

"I have been carrying it for a long time. It has become my partner in the road. I don’t know what it is like to live without it anymore. I think I will not be able to reach any place if I don’t carry it."

"You will never reach any place if you continue carrying it with you." The owl muttered more for itself than for the hermit, who remained abstracted watching his heavy rocky companion.

The owl left flying away and the day came, after a few hours. With daylight, the small snail emerged from the grass. It had been silent listening to the nighttime conversation between the bird and the man.

"Maybe I could help you." The tiny gastropod whispered. The hermit, already carrying the rock on his back, had to make an effort to guess from where the voice came.

"Why do you say that?" He asked.

"I have been listening to your conversation with the owl. I am also carrying my house on my back." The mollusc continued to say. "But my case is different. I have chosen a light house, which is useful for shelter when the weather is not good. It also protects me and helps me in the way. But you are carrying a stone which doesn't help you at all. It is destroying your back with uprising cruelty every day, it doesn't let you walk and doesn't stop the rain, the snow or the heat from exhausting your insides. Tell me, which goals did you acquire since you are carrying that heavy load over your shoulders?"

The hermit watched the horizon with empty eyes. He knew he had obtained no achievement since the rock was accompanying him. Only looking to the right, at dawn, and to the left at sunset… and sighing.

"Nothing would change even if I layed it on the ground and left it there abandoned. I don't know which one of these two paths I should follow."



"You have to try." The snail insisted. "Leave the rock on the ground and try to choose your path then."

The man hesitated. He looked at the stone, he felt so close to it that he could not leave it. He looked at the snail and the curiosity to know the result of following its words was stronger than his own will.

Then he laid it on the ground.

The freeing and releasing of pain he felt at that moment were colosal. He watched both paths, and both looked wonderful to him. He chose the one on the left and started walking. If finally one day he discovered it was going nowhere, heen he would return to the crossroads and would choose the path on the right.

If the blame we carry is light, it may help us continue our way in times of turmoil.

But the blame, when it is heavy, becomes a stone which conceals the understanding and stops us from moving ahead.

10 May 2016

Taşkınlık yapan suçlu illa

Always the rebel is the guilty one

Illustration by Marta Santos
Once upon a time there was a country where everybody had wounds in their necks.

It was the same tiny wound, made by two small punctures, a few centimetres beside the right carotid artery.

The tradition established that all the children at three years of age should inflict the injury on themselves by pinning a tiny two-needled device in that body zone. They were expected to continue doing it every day before going to bed. For the rest of their lives.

Respectable citizens would speak openly about the way they had self-harmed themselves even before the established age, boasting about the fact that they had not missed the puncture ritual ever, not one single day. What is more, enduring faints and pains in following the tradition was a wholly great honour for people in this country. Most exemplary citizens praised the tradition with vigour and determination. They knew the precise dates of its origin and they broadcasted the stories of those illustrious, distinguished citizens who had contributed to its perpetuation.

In the begining, punctures had been executed manually, with two sewing needles, sticking them one after another. The lack of hygienic conditions resulted in many frequent wound infections, and having to continue to pin themselves repeatedly, caused gangrene in the body zone. Deaths were not rare.

However times had evolved and people did not stick on themselves used sewing needles any more. Now everybody kept at home a small device with two retractable needles, used only at the time of punctures. Those needles were sterilized before and after their mission with a very cheap and effective solution available at all pharmacies. Deaths were now rare.

What had not changed from the beginning of times was the code of honor.

Never, ever, under no circumstances should the wound be seen by any other person. Not even by members of the same family.

For that purpose they came up with most different strategies. Women used handkerchieves and scarves. Men used wide neckties and high shirt collars. Men and women wore also wooden scarves in winter, neck warmers to practice sports, sumptuous jewelry, high necked jumpers and sweaters…They had also invented one thin cotton clothing stripe to be worn around their necks when they were in pijamas or when it was very hot.
They could never show that body zone naked, not even during sexual relations.
That would be shameful.

The wound was considered to be sinful, monstruous, disgusting, unsightly, horrible. Showing it to another person would have been considered to be an aggression.

But they all carried on doing it everyday before going to sleep.

One day there was a child who went to school showing his naked neck. His teachers reacted to this behaviour and applied the required punishments.

Nevertheless, the incident did not stop there.
One year, in May, when temperatures were warm and the breeze was singing songs together with the trees leaves… a boy came to the main plaza in the country capital and appeared in the very centre of it, his neck completely nacked and… no wound in it.

Short after he stopped in the middle of that plaza, his parents jumped on him. They were carrying the tiny puncture device and tried to stick it into their son’s neck without success. He was a stocky, hefty boy and they were not able to do it. Moving frantically, he was able to get rid of them.

But the police arrived just a few minutes later and four officers finally reduced him, they pushed him into an armoured van.

Don’t take our son! He will follow the tradition, I promise! —the mother was shouting, desperate. Shaking her arms into the air she was trying to get out of her husband’s embrace, who was stopping her from grabbing the officers—. I have the pinner here with me! If you leave us alone for a few minutes we will convince him!

Her son, already wearing handcuffs and sat inside the van, let one tear fall down his left cheek.

You will never convince me mum —he muttered—. Never ever.

2 May 2016

Au moment du printemps

During spring

Photo by Marta Santos
They want to prostitute arts.
They want to buy words, sell emotions, auction the conscience.
They offer to pardon your life as an opportunity in return.
Because they are nets and you are the fish.
They play with fish and they play with those to whom they sell it.
The sea belongs to them, they say. Just because they found it first and they have written it in paper. And whales, corals and dolphins are still. And those who remain silent are giving their consent.’

That message reached her hands locked inside a bottle. She was walking alongside the beach, her feet naked, her white dress spotted with a few rain drops. She picked it up and took it to her house.
Who had written it? From which strange world came that agonic, desperate message?
And most important, who were those whom the message refered to?
She got into her small wooden hut. She washed away the sand from her feet, she changed her clothes and shaked away the water drops from her short, blonde hair.
Once she had her shoes on and was sheltered in her green blanket, protected from the waking cold, she turn on the lamp and scrutinized the note. The persistent rain was tapping harder and harder against the window.

They offer to pardon your life as an opportunity in return.’
The sea belongs to them, they say.’

Who? Who could be so wicked to do something like that?
For as much as she tried to work it out in her mind, she could not understand it.

She was late in those worryings. The moon had already started to decorate the sky and the stars were doing some company. The girl decided to sleep. Tomorrow would be another day.

When she woke up, a wet sweating was showering her forehead. She had a horrible nightmare. She didn’t even want to remember it. Then she went out to walk again alongside the beach, trying to forget the terrifying vision which had woken her up.

Then, a bird came to settle on her shoulder. She decided to caress it, softly and with love, and after that the bird turned into an old man.

She stepped backwards, frightened.

Don’t be scared. —The old man with long beard and long white hair smiled. Blue lakes in his eyes—. I am coming to bring you the reply you were looking for. It was already in your heart, but now I will make it visible before your eyes.

Then, the wise man bowed down and started to write on the sand.

This was the earth you have seen. It was a planet that existed millions of years ago. Today not even the name is the same. The beaches in this planet and the sand were clean and clean was also the whole Universe. The creatures were beautiful. But someone decided to sink it in the darkness and they all forgot about who they had once been. The prostitution of arts refers to greed, to the selfishness that was misting up their hearts and would not let them look with the eyes which really see. There was a time, yes there was a time when they manipulated each other, giving always the excuse of being under the command of someone they deemed more important —the old man paused and said —yes, they had also forgotten they were all equally important.

But that is terrible. Did really happen ever this you are telling me? How could they not see that the Source is love and was connecting them all?

They did not even believe in the Source. —That old man’s smile was bitter—. I already told you that the mists were blinding in them the eyes which really see.

They were blind. —The girl concluded. The old man nodded—. And what happened next?

That planet does not exist in that way any more today. Only the beings with purest hearts, those who really wanted to abandon the mists, were assisted by the Source to go through evolution and leave that darkness. Then the planet became a beautiful place. Today that planet is called Eoden, which means ‘the invincible’.

And what about those who didn’t want to leave the darkness? What happened to them?

They were stuck in the darkness. But they didn’t bother too much... they already were in the darkness before. They have been leaving the galactic storms one by one, according to their evolution and understanding. Some of them live here today. They are your neighbours, even when you had not realised before. The one who wrote that message, is your cousin, a shipwreck survivor from the past. His pain was so deep at the time that he was able to materialize that bottle so far as millions of light years in space, and millions of years in future time.

The girl was surprised but she didn’t say anything. The reflection of the sun was dancing on top of the sea waves.

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