Myth No. 1: We Belong

Welcome to the most recently formed country in the world: Syria!! All of a sudden, all over the news you hear people saying: We Syrians, The Syrians!! Karfan woke up one morning and asked him self: When the heck exactely did we become "Syrians"?

Karfan lived in cities called Tartous and Damascus, and he was told that these are just cities in a place called Watan Arabi (Arabic Homeland). Besides this fictitious homeland, he never knew what else actually joins these cities except the bumpy roads between them. He could see this Watan Arabi on all the maps around him, but never gone to any of the other places that consist this vast land. He was not allowed to go to cities in Jordan or Egypt because he was told they were traitors. He was not allowed to go to cities in Lebanon because he was told there was a war with the enemies. He was not allowed to go to cities in Iraq because his passport bears the seal (Valid to all countries except Iraq!!). Eventually, these "Arab" places became to him, and his generation, as Djibouti and Salvador, mere names.

He lived within people who were called Sunnis, Alawis, Druuz, Christians, Smaeelis, Kurds, Palestinians, Mad'umeen (the favored ones), Mas'uleen (high governmental people), Bathists, Shwam (Damascenes), Shawaya (bedouins), Numailatieh, Haddadeen, Khayateen (the last three are Alwai tribes), Umalaa (traitors), Sheu'ieen (communists) , Mukhabarat (secret agents), Manayek (dickheads), Kharawat (assholes), etc. That is how we call each other, but in school books, we were told that we are Arabs. Except this fictitious categorization, Karfan never knew what else actually joins these people, but they were there around him and he could easily tell who is who and what to call them.

Usually in Syria people ask you "where are you from?" just to figure out whether you are Sunni, Alawi, Durzi, Smaeeli, and whether you are Kurdi or Christian. Tartous, the city where Karfan comes from, has a population of both Sunnis and Alawis. You will be immediately asked in such situation: "where from in Tartous?" Karfan used to play around with people by saying a fictitious name of an area that does not exist and watch his asker straining themselves to find out whether it is in the Alawi or the Sunni side by inquiring where exactly is this area and whether it is in the City (Sunni) or the outskirt (Alawi). But the game of "where are you from?" was mastered by all Syrians; it is an essential skill for living here.

Once Karfan traveled outside to a far away place and there he was asked a shocking question: Were are you from, what is your country? He knew that these people were not interested in finding out that he is an Alawi or a Shawi. He was used to fill-in the Nationality Item on applications because he was told that this corresponds to the name on his passport: Syrian Arab Republic, None of the past three words ever made sence to him or anyone in his generation really. But he never encountered the question: What is your country?
Around him, people answered enthusiastically: I am from Canada, I am from Indonesia, I am from Cuba, I am from The States, from Japan, from Korea. So he figured out that he should answer: mm,well, I guess I am from... Syria.

This verbal "obligation" is beginning to be a virtual-reality in the minds of so many people outside and inside. They actualy started to think that they are "Syrians" and were since ever. Hei, when did that happen? What is a Syrian? What is Syria? The people around Karfan are still just Sunnis, Alawis,... Mas'uleen, ...and Kharawat, they still call them selves like that and nothing has changed despite this New Invented Identity! It is alright to want to be something, but it is another story when you lie to your self that you are already that something. Karfan also was jealous of all those people he met outside telling him proudly where are they from, and he, like many, wants to belong to somewhere as well: say, Syria. This might be what we want; we don't have it yet, we never did, yet many are talking about that as if we actually had a Syrian national identity that preceded even that of the French or Japanese!! Some are saying that we had it since the stone ages. Karfan is still asking: When exactely the heck in the past history did we become "Syrians"? I must have been sleeping then.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dude your pathetic and you suck cock, in addition, stop deleting comments you dont like.

ummak tintak

20/3/05 08:56  
Blogger Karfan & friend. said...

To Ano at 15:56...
Thanks a lot Mr.
That is how Syrians respond to other Syrians expressing their feelings!! We assure everybody that we will not, and care not, delete a single comment written to this site. We don't know what other insulting comment those people were accusing us of deleting; can you actually come up with a more vulgar one? I bet you can, we are bred to hate and insult each other, aren’t we. Next time, try to refresh your browser genius before you start accusing us of censorship.

21/3/05 05:32  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

please change your font, or make it clearer bigger to read!!!!

22/3/05 14:04  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

People in many, probably all, countries have multiple ethnic/cultural identities... At home, it's regional, microscopic; abroad, it's something bigger...

23/3/05 17:30  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

National identity can coalesce or subdivide, quickly or slowly.

Example 1: The inhabitants of the southern 13 colonies of British North America all (except for recently arrived immigrants)regarded themselves as British in 1764. Nearly all of them still did in 1774. By 1776, roughly one-third regarded themselves as American and they proved to be the most active and determined.

Example 2: Alsace and Lorraine were provinces of Germany that France conquered around 1650. In the 19th Century both French and German nationalism became intense. People who had traditionally spoken German in the two provinces continued to do so. They also continued to regard themselves as citizens of France. Germany conquered the provinces and incorporated them in 1870. They continued as part of Germany until 1918, but elected members of the German parliament who favored return to France. In 1918, France reconquered Alsace and Lorraine and they remain a content part of France.

Example 3: There are plenty of newspaper articles to the effect that persons from Arab Muslim backgrounds often are not being assimilated in France today.

I think that immigration is quite different from remaining in one place while state boundaries are created or move. A community that has not moved and has retained some kind of indentity for centuries or millenia may feel little cause to re-orient its feelings just because some new-fangled thing like a nation-state has appeared on the scene. Immigrants usually give up their identity in the context that they leave and accept that they will have to modify that identity, or adopt a new one.

Michael in Framingham

23/4/05 01:07  
Blogger Louise said...

Hanna, if you are using Internet Explorer, pull down the View menu and choose "Text Size". The problem is with your settings, not with the blog.

22/5/05 20:32  
Blogger Yazan said...

I might agree on everything on this blog... even this one, except for the History part, we've always been Syrians, long before arabism and egyptians and Romans, we've always been Syrians, not one ethnicity, not one religion, not even one language, but all of them, they all belonged to a Syria, and They called themselves Syrians... That's the Syria we had, a Global belonging where everyone can share their culture under one identity... Now... well... I think u've covered that part!

I LOVE UR BLOG!! good luck body.

23/11/05 22:31  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

People ask this to a person whom they meet for the first time this is done "Out of fear". Many people paid the price for not taking precautions,and thought they were safe in expressing their opinions critisizing the regime.
Previously one could tell from the accent of the individual where he or she came from.Now this is no longer possible because accents have changed and by just listening to the person, you can no longer tell his or her origin.
When people like you KARFAN dropped the "QAF" so instead of QARFAN you became KARFAN one has to be careful in what he says or writes to you !!!

5/6/06 06:34  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are right Karfan, you fellow citizen from Tartous.

When did we became syrian? I don't know. It doesn't seem we did. There's always much difference between a Tartousi and a fellow from Raqqa than between a Tartousi and a fellow from Tripoli, Lebanon.

When did we became Syria? And Why? Because a French and an English guyz agreed that the map should be like this...

We have a problem of self-consciousness. We really have to find ourselves...

26/8/06 22:36  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I never had a problem with Arabs, but since I’ve learned more about your society as it’s all over the news every day I have come to detest the word Arab. I couldn’t give a fuck about what type of Arab you are; you’re all the fucking same dirty bastards to me. I imagine you all kicking your wives and fucking your own children, then going out and blowing yourself up when your sick of the slum you all live in because your lazy twats who don’t improve your environment or hate each other so much collaboration between your peoples is impossible and therefore you will remain living in filth and the vicious cycle continues. I just hope the yanks go into Iran and fucking wipe out that sticking bunch of fuckin towel heads, and do it quickly. I feel shame for feeling so strongly about this and the hostility I feel about Arabs in general. Whatever you say about the Americans going into Iraq and their motivation to do so, right or wrong, it doesn’t negate the fact that you Arabs have had an opportunity to create a new country and you’ve fucking blown it, you silly cunts. The real sad thing is over 3000 yanks have died to give you that opportunity and just one of those guys are worth a 1000 of you smelly women beating rock throwing cunts all day long. If there was ever a need to nuke anywhere, it’s got to be the Arab pissholes you call countries. Nuke the fucking lot of you suicide bombing wankers. to the guy who said syria was decided upon by french and british, yes your correct because at the time you were all fucking peasants who couldnt read so someone had to make decisions for you, not much has changed has it.

30/1/07 02:17  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

great and true.

27/2/08 12:31  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

British Bulldog, you fucking bitch. when the Arabs ruled the world, you were literally eating our shit in order to eat. Your stinking royal family could not even work in a whore house they were so smelly. just like dogs, you would fuck your own mothers since there was no rule of law. The tables have turned for now, but be sure, they will turn again, and then you will be at the other end of civilisation (in your case, you already are).

4/4/08 22:50  
Blogger Unknown said...

This was the end of civilized Syria:

"Syria, was partly an Arab land, especially in its eastern and southern parts. The Arabs had been there since pre-Roman times; and had embraced Christianity since Constantine I legalized it in fourth century. Arabs of Syria were people of no consequence until the migration of the powerful Ghassan tribe from the Yemen to Syria, who thereafter ruled a semi-autonomous state with their own king under the Romans. The Ghassan Dynasty became one of the honoured princely dynasties of the Empire, with the Ghassan king ruling over the Arabs in Jordan and Southern Syria from his capital at Bosra. The last of the Ghassan kings, who ruled at the time of Muslim's invasion, was Jabla bin Al Aiham. Emperor Heraclius, after re-capturing Syria from the Sassanids set up new defense lines from Ghazzah to the south end of dead sea, these lines were only designed to protect communications from bandits and bulk of Byzantine defences were concentrated in northern Syria facing the traditional foes, the Sassanid Persians. This defence line had a draw back that enabled the Muslims, that emerged from the desert in the south, to reach as north as Ghazzah before meeting regular Byzantine troops. 7th century A.D, was a time of quickening military changes in Byzantine empire. The empire was certainly not in state of collapse when it faced the new challenge from Arabia after being exhausted by recent Roman-Persian Wars, but failed completely to tackle the challenge effectively."

Obviously it hasn't rested in peace

21/7/08 02:09  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

British bulldog is American...you can tell by his poor Use of vocabulary..even trashy Brits don't speak that way
Too bad he's too ashamed of his own nationality

I think this was a great blog with great insight to another's point of view to Syria

7/8/12 01:34  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree, I wish you would countinue writing it. Especially during the current events your insight is needed perhaps more than ever.

5/3/14 13:53  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We need you to explain to us what's going on oh wise Karfan...

26/5/15 02:33  
Blogger Herry Johnson said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8/2/16 09:33  
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8/2/16 09:33  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

such a great blog, we wish to keep write new posts

2/1/24 07:45  

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