My name is Sun


28 Giugno 2018

A military defector recounts his remarkable journey from the Assad regime’s army to a rebel brigade in Homs—via Palmyra prison—to exile in Idlib and, finally, menial labor in Turkey, where he still searches for the dignified life he hoped the revolution would bring him

My name is Shams. I’m fifteen years old, and I really hate my name. I don’t know why my parents decided to name me after my grandfather. It goes against convention, seeing as I’m the youngest son in the family, not the eldest.

Actually, my grandfather’s name isn’t just Shams, it’s Shams al-Din. That’s how my name is written on my ID and birth certificate, but most of the time I don’t go by anything but Shams. If I had to choose between Shams al-Din and Shams I’d choose the first, but I regard that name’s meaning as a responsibility I wouldn’t be able to live up to.

Therefore, I prefer people to simply call me Shams. That relieves me, at least, from the responsibility of the full name’s meaning [lit. “the Sun of Religion”], even if it doesn’t relieve me of anxiety.

I am beleaguered by both names: the full version burdens me with a responsibility, while the short version’s symbolism worries me. What’s more, most people consider Shams to be more appropriate as a girl’s name, not a boy’s. This was especially true in elementary school, which I entered seven or eight years ago. It caused me a lot of pain then, but not anymore; now anxiety alone bothers me with regards to my name. The sun, you see, emits light without deriving it from someplace else, whereas I emit no light but search for it. I move towards it whenever I see it on the horizon, but it always moves away. The closer I get, the further it moves away, until finally it vanishes.

di Wa’el Abd al-Hamid, traduzione di Vanessa Breeding

pubblicato su al-Jumhuriya