Invisible Solitude [EN]

8 Sep

That night I’ve got a call at 2:47am from an underground art initiative which was going to confirm the meeting. With a note of surprise the guy asked in Russian: “Are you already sleeping? We’ve been busy by now.”   I always pick up at night and pretend to be awake. Once in New York in the mid of the night I’d been explaining for 20 minutes to the Indian Consul in Ukraine why it’s difficult to broadcast Indian documentaries on the main channel used to work. This time I agreed to call back, though I was almost sure I’d lost my street-artists. There are moments when it’s hard to think about anything else but yourself. It was a middle of the route, even though the most intense part was over.

I am getting afraid that my notes become too personal, and have nothing to do with foreign reporting. So I dedicate this blog post to those who move from place to place, those who want to find something where they had never been before but would never succeed.

As well the journalism has change. A blog, a Facebook status, a Twit can’t be detached; otherwise they are just bad articles or formal notes.  I also stopped to believe in analytical articles, because one journalist is not able describe a country. If you want to know what’s going on better read the long reports of  the Chatham House, the Foreign Policy, HRW, Crisis Reporting Group, sometimes the Economist, and of course the New Yorker. All the rest is just an ideological opinion battle.  Today I believe just in pure reportage and investigation. That’s why I am struggling with doubts about what I am doing. The main rule is not to pretend to generalize, just write what you heard, what you seen – of course verifying the fact after. The main is to spend more time with people even if they are silent.

It’s also time to stop and limit the amount of people I meet. It’s better to make a second round and try to see the connections. It’s not important that Leila was a daughter of a former Minister of Education who was one of the founders of Tunisian Human Rights League and was the one who had removed archaic and weird sharia rules from the school books.  But that’s help to explain why an IT engineer is involved in politically engaged art. I can better understand Amira – an incredible girl whose NGO is monitoring the Constitutional Assembly – after I got to know that she is a cousin of Zouhair – the first cyber dissident in Tunis who died after he come out of jail. I can see in a different way Ramzi (who doesn’t like coffee without sugar and promised but failed to put me in touch with En Nahda, though I made it on my own). Now I know he is the same person who makes an incredible investigation about the snipers during the Revolution. A lot of Tunisian bloggers had to use pseudo and cover their identity during the Ben Ali times. That’s why it’s so hard to make the connections between the people I see and the articles I read.  I use the chance to add that the local bloggers from www.nawaat.org  are the only ones who help me not to be drawn in the fight  between the Islamists and the seculars. Instead they put some light on more important things as tstill not-opened archives and military trials.

Yet I am afraid to meet the people for the second time. It means telling ‘good buy’. Those who know know I  come back if had promised, and if promise come even to the places like Paraguay. This time I as well was asked when I am back and asked to stay in touch.

While I know that this time it’s a matter of politeness and hospitality. It’s just an illusion. All these people I interfere their everyday world for a couple of days or hours, these people who seem to be so close, so easy to understand will  continue to live as they used to do somewhere far away. I talked a lot about this with foreign diplomats, international organizations employees, students who went to study odd languages in weird countries.

But they at least have some years to obtain this feeling of belonging to the place. I have just a week, even though extremely intensive. And it doesn’t matter if things are connected and the adventures make sense…

I would leave and nothing will change, apart from myself. Nobody would ever know what  happened to me yesterday, a day before yesterday, a week ago, or a month ago. While a weak ago so many connected stories too place, and none of them was easy to handle, not easy to digest and live through. Nobody may guesses that I don’t count meetings by the minutes I spent.   Nobody knows and actually shouldn’t care why I really undertake this trip and how much I had done for it to happen.

WTF i am doing here.

bringing the cultures together? no

writing some literature pieces? for what?

is it important?

what is important?

What exits, is just my name which sounds the same with every new acquaintance. There is just my day taken out of context, the mood taken out of context, the state of mind taken out of context, which I am not supposed to explain, because who cares.

There is just the time and space I take away from the people I meet. The time and the space I grab, I occupy. I occupy as a usual foreign occupant. Yet I search for an excuse that my ‘occupation’ is a legitimate repatriation of the whole population of these holy lands, a price they pay for the dubious feeling I have here where it’s so easy to ruin things at once. And Ancient Carthege was just some meters away.  Even it had been destroyed.

Yesterday every vendor at the Bourguiba  avenue started to talk to me because of the naïve and happy smile I used to have. Today, it seems they also want to talk to me to ask what went wrong.  Usually while travelling I try to live ‘right here, right now’…But it’s hard to escape the place which is supposed to be my home, it’s hard to escape from the nasty emails about the project which wouldn’t happen, and from broken hopes. I also admit that I had lost my game while ago. I’ve become ‘an eternal guest’ there where I was supposed to live.  At the same way I interfere the distant places I today  interfere the life of once so close people just in order to say good buy again.

And the only thing remains with me are  the names of the streets and the squares: 11km long Vali-ye Asr, Azadi with the trash bins put on fire, the mountains of Velenjak, Tahrir still with some tents, pretentious Zemalek, dirty expat Ma’adi, Kurba in Heliopolist build by a baron called Baron, a Champs-Elysees wannabe avenue Bourguiba, blue and white Kasba and Ban Bnet, not discovered yet La Marsa… And also the lock on my bag  self-made out of a Palestinian pocket lighter and USD-stick presented at the Achensee in Tirol.

Already for 20 minutes I am walking along a hot avenue, following the traffic signs in French and Arabic. The working day in the state institutions here ends at 2pm so everybody wants to grab a cab.   So at this hour it’s as hard to get a taxu as in New York when it’s rain. That’s’ why I don’t see a problem in sharing the car with an angry man who argues all the time with a taxi driver with a broken hand. I should hurry up, because Ridha  Diki should bring a CD as a sign of forgiveness for my Jordanian friend. As well I still should bring some coffee – with sugar for Ramzi, it can be without for Emine, with milk – for Lilia, no sense for Malek who is an editor in chief though is too busy.

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