May 2010 archive

“So, Berlin, huh?”

Right now, I am in my tiny but yet very space efficient room in a Hotel in Alexanderplatz, Berlin.

Right now, I should be showering and getting ready for the day ahead. Our organizers said 9 am sharp and I do hate to be late.

But honestly, right now, all I want to do is write. I haven’t done it in so long, and the words seem stuck in my mind. Unable to communicate. Unable to let the words bleed and flow  I used to be able to vomit entire paragraphs and pages, and now I have to beg those words out. Where the creative juices used to flow, now a lubricant is necessary, and it’s out of stock at every local pharmacy in the vicinity.

It sucks because I feel out of practice.. Because I feel bland .because I feel tapped out, and no matter how much time off I take I can’t seem to recharge.

Uninspired is not the right word, but it’s the first one that comes to mind .

The thing about writing is this, it’s just like working out. When you are young and filled with energy, it’s easy. What you lack in experience you overcompensate with Stamina..until you know you can write..Until writing becomes like that 45 minutes run you never thought you would be able to finish.

But then you stop and you whine about feeling uninspired, and you end up only writing for your own amusement and you let posers and imposters take your place..and you sit silently unable to express all the ways in which everything you ever cared about gets twisted and corrupted and manipulated into something unrecognizable and perverse. And you let it go, because the people seem to buy it. The same people you started this for in the first place. Now, you just kind of hate them, because more than anyone else in the world, they are the ones that truly proved to you that you are nothing more than a Don Quixote. Hey, wanna fight windmills? Stand in line and take a pill!

So, you give up you become complacent you start making fun of people that you know are Wankers and Liars on Twitter, but you don’t do much else. There is black smoke where your heart used to be, and you fear that if you let it beat again, you will unleash clouds of tar on everyone in your vicinity. Good or bad all will be punished.

And you know that’s not right.

It’s not depression because I am pretty happy.

It’s not being disheartened or bitter because whenever I do see a new idea that needs to be supported, or someone who still has that glint in their eyes and that belief that they can change the world..I want to do nothing more than protect them and give them whatever “wisdom” I managed to acquire over the years.

It’s  “jadedness” .too much cynicism and general exhaustion. “Exhaustion from what? you don’t do much of anything anymore.”, you may ask. And you would be right to wonder. The answer is simple: From caring..

From Believing

From knowing too much about the nature of the political scene in Egypt, of the civil society scene in DC, of every Hero I have ever had or championed

But I ignored all that, buried it deep down..because no one wants to hear it. Can’t be showing weakness, not with the vultures are lining up all around you, wanting to get rid of you once and for all. And they have good reason to worry, for you know too much and been silent for too long but more on that later.

I ignored all that, until I met her yesterday, and I was confronted with everything I wanted to ignore for so long.

She comes from Azerbaijan, which, from what she told me of it, might as well be called Egypt. And she suffers from the same ailment that I suffer from. Too many years fighting, too much time in the trenches, and nothing really changing.

She, as well, tried being an activist, and found it nothing short of masturbation.

She, as well, tried walking away and focus on making money and a career, but even that felt empty

She, as well, didn’t feel peace of mind for the longest time, until she came here to Berlin.

Why Berlin?

Because it’s a city that is on a constant journey of self-healing

Because it’s a place that has seen lots of heartbreak, oppression and death, and made it through..

Because it has the energy of a soldier who spent too many years on the frontline, and actually won his peace, without firing a single bullet.

You walk in Kreuzberg, you watch the tourists pretending to be running away to the American sector in Checkpoint Charlie and buying GDR memorabilia, you see the wall and how it became a living breathing testament to art and freedom of expression, you pass by every monument, statue and museum detailing the bloody and violent history of a city that despite all of its battlescars is standing proud, smiling..and, you, for the first time in ever, feel ok about yourself and the world.

We create mental walls for ourselves psychological walls that keep us from finishing our Journeys .emotional walls of cynicism to protect whatever little idealism you have left in your jaded heart, and we try to ignore those walls daily to go about your life, and party, and love and be happy. Just pretend they are not there, and they won’t remind you of their existence.

And the Lesson the people of Berlin taught me is this: DON’T IGNORE THE WALL, BECAUSE IT WILL ALWAYS BE THERE IF YOU DO.

Just see it every day, remember what it means, and know in your heart of hearts that it won’t last forever. One day, you will get to turn the wall into a canvass, and the no-man’s land, into high-rise modernistic apartments, and the symbols of oppression? Shit, you will sell them to tourists, who know nothing of your struggle, and if they do, they consider it a little more than a cute story.

It will all come to an end one day. The law of Entropy affects everything, even oppression. It just takes slightly more time.

So, Berlin, I love you for not looking away for not walking away and for proudly wearing those scars, that remind everyone, and especially you, that your past is real.