Thursday, June 20, 2024

We were bidding farewell to Khalid Khalifa in Damascus


There are three hundred of them or a little less, most of them over thirty years old, waiting at the door of a hospital in Damascus for their friend Khaled Khalifa. We first waited in front of the outer door and when the ambulance said Khaled will see you at the door, we ran as if he was already waiting for us, we were a bit late for our appointment. The women are dressed in black and their eyes are very sad, many of us are from other cities, we are from Damascus. All agreed that he was still in a state of shock or humor, and perhaps Khaled would soon appear; Khaled is not a frowning fan and they always wait with him for his comments, stories, jokes and happiness.

The shock is severe. The assembled people exchanged a few words. After greetings and condolences, silence prevailed. This is an unexpected departure, very heavy, because Khaled has a lot of work, friends at home and abroad are waiting for his novels, which are translated and widely translated and become international. Therefore, the pain is doubled because his gentle presence and his novels will take Syria to the international level, because he is one of the most important contributors to the entry of Syrian literature into the world.

Some friends were clear that the funeral would be quiet. Not to use the funeral as a demonstration or to call out a few words of condemnation of the regime, especially since its media apparatus remained silent on his painful death. His early departure was a source of real pain to all his friends and acquaintances; He had not yet reached sixty, and he deserved to have some voice raised for him, but he did not, so al-Wadeh’s words continued to be cold despite their heat. God is with you, Khalid, the beginning, Khalid, very soon, the Khalid crowd began to clap, signifying protest, a method used by the Syrians. It also happened at the funeral of Syrian director Hadem Ali.

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Khalid Khalifa left a deep hole in the hearts of the people as Damascus was filled with Latakia, Masyaf and Suwaida in the past and the cities he visited or traveled to. This is unaffordable, just as the displacement of millions of Syrians abroad is unaffordable. Everything that happened in Syria resembles Khalid’s exit.

Khalid Khalifa left a deep hole in the hearts of the people. Damascus was full of him as were Latakia, Masyaf and Suwayta and the cities he visited or traveled to in the past.

We stopped some young men and asked about the deceased, and they saw this crowd, and it looked like a crowd of this number! The question is: Why do all these people come together? Farewells for the dead in Syria are limited to a few people, as families are separated, like Khaled’s brothers and sisters. Yea, not all kinds of departures deserve these small numbers, or low voices at departure, but the time is miserable in Damascus, and weariness is the only trait that casts a shadow upon the individual; That question is so poignant that the late Syrian novelist and screenwriter Khaled Khalifa answered.

Damascus sleeps soundlessly these days. Maybe it’s just us, but in his last years he wrote a lot about loneliness on social media. The truth is, quite simply, the conditions of all Syrians. Unless a country has millions of citizens, loneliness becomes a reality of people’s lives. Now that happy man, the man who can’t bear trouble in the presence of friends, has disappeared from our lives, the loneliness becomes even more severe. One who believes in living life happily and happily; It is not fair to take it too seriously; The wisdom of the majority who have delved into this fleeting existence.

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Raheel Khalid says death is really hard work. Syria has lost a writer whose novels explore the tragedies of its present, “death is hard work” and its past, “no one prays for them” and the legacy of tyranny and its impact on society, “there are no knives in the kitchens of this city,” and “the fame of hatred.”

Syriac literature has lost so much that it is difficult to overcome that loss, and its works have become a special school in the Syriac novel. Simplicity and compression, precise aesthetic form and content are defined as central issues for Syrians, moving away from politics and approaching it through the positions of the characters in his novels.

Goodbye Khaled Khalifa; All of Syria was affected by your departure, both at home and in exile.

Pandora Bacchus
Pandora Bacchus
"Coffee evangelist. Alcohol fanatic. Hardcore creator. Infuriatingly humble zombie ninja. Writer. Introvert. Music fanatic."

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