A young man in the making in times of war

To see a young boy, no more than seven or eight, crying because of the war, is something we will never get accustomed to.
Qasim Ali Al-Shawea – in the picture – of Your Abilities Yemeni NGOمنظمة قدراتك للتنمية your.abilities.org ) writes:

”Every day I meet a child, family, displaced people during my work with my team and I have a close look at people’s unbearable conditions, how they try to stay safe, alive in such a humanitarian disaster. 
I see children sleeping at night with empty stomachs, after having fought hunger for several days.
I meet many families who have fled their homes to live hopeless, homeless in displacement camps; I am seeing a daily nightmare, a tragedy I have never seen…ever, in my life.
How not to mention the Cholera outbreak which is decimating lives while hospitals are full with patients. 
What is happening in Yemen is really inhuman, illegal and unfair. We are human beings and have human hearts, the world shouldn’t keep ignoring the children and women’s suffering. Every child deserves to live a better life.”

I asked Qasim why was the young boy shedding so helplessly and he replied:
He told me that he and his family used to have a better life.  That was before bombs fell on their home. He was crying because his brother was killed there, at home, under a missile. Now they are living in a tent in a displacement camp. They have nothing to eat, monsoon rains enter the only abode they have. He wants clothes… he really asked me a lot: new clothes, toys, a chance to study. He is a clever child. I felt so sad for him and their life, the hard conditions they must cope with. Heartbreaking, really.”

The picture of a child, dressed like a man in the making, with a jacket which most likely will be worn until it fades to a shadow of a garment, crying helplessly cannot be the emblem of childhood. Not in 2017.
Yemen has been under air strikes, blocked by a siege, crippled by cholera and famine for over eight hundred and sixty days. A number so heavy it seems too long even to write. Impossibly long for a child whose home and past have been buried under a missile.

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There is no ‘I Want’

I want to go back in time.
I want to change karma.
I want to touch Simon’s crest sticking up because he put sugar and water (we were all broke and being punk started and pretty much ended in the kitchen).
I want to look in the mirror and see hope, without having to close my eyes.
I want to play with Ali, Samah and Mohamed and the dogs in Sanaá and drive to Big Sur just like that day with Kris.
I want to read The God of Small Things without knowing I would read it again, three times.
I want to land in New York and see the Twin Towers and know I could not be anywhere else.
I want to see Sausalito with the same light and go back to school with totally different teachers.
I want to be in Damascus at night, with Yahia, and take that same walk just at the beginning of the revolution, with that dim hope that things would not degenerate.
That hope is gone.
I want to re-meet people and have that sparkle light my eyes, just like then.
I want to listen to Claudio telling me again the long story of his trip Milan-Kabul on a Fiat 127.
Countries are closed, wars have vomited onto us, people have moved on, perhaps to other planets.
I want that red telephone/address guide I had in my twenties and now is molding in a box I will never get back.
I want to cancel choices, deaths, accidents, wars.
I want to enter City Lights Bookstore in S. Francisco and talk about Bakunin and buy tons of books like we did that Sunday morning.
I want to remember the things I happened to forget and be with Anna prior to her cancer because I did not say goodbye to her.
I want to apologise less and smile more but I need to apologise with Fausto because I treated him harshly.
I want to listen to Joe Jackson with the same intensity of the time.
I want to believe less the words I am told because I never learn to accept the discrepancy between words and deeds.
I want to open my eyes.


I want to change karma, for a day, and see how it feels.
Fact is there is no ‘I want` most of the times.