Sunday, November 27, 2016


M, my Syrian friend and sister-of-choice, and I were on the Paris metro on the way to meet a group of her friends. Close to our stop there were greetings as other attendees got on and we walked to the hostess's flat together.

The friends meet monthly. They are all:
  • Syrian
  • Professional (doctors, pharmacists, engineers)
  • Represent three generations
The subject of this month's discussion was liberty: personal, economic, political.

I have only respect for the Syrians I have met over the last years. They are highly intelligent and highly educated. Equally my several trips to Damascus leaves me nothing but admiration for the Syrian history and culture.

As they talked, I thought that in many ways their lives were in a box where clothing and contact with the opposite sex were restricted. Fear of neighbor's opinions and family honor were important.

Growing up in the 50s in New England, I too lived in a box, a bigger box maybe the size of a moving crate, but modesty, decorum with the opposite sex and what the neighbors thought were all considerations, not for family honor but for my own reputation.

Some lived in cities, some in small towns.

The youngest, a pharmacist, still lived with her mother in Paris. However, she has the same restrictions in France as she would have had in Syria. She made the statement if she wants liberty she will have to marry.

That produced guffaws from every older, married woman.

Another woman said that when she was growing up even her studies were controlled. She added as a mother, she understands her parents more.

What all the women said, that they were Daddy Girls, and their father's encouraged them in their studies, even with the social restrictions. Was this the reason they were all professionals? That could be the subject of a Ph.D thesis.

The talk was mostly in Arabic and I was getting French and English summaries. I wish I could have understood it all.

At all times I am aware that all the countries I have lived in are not going thru a civil war with friends and family dying as part of a proxy war as well as the civil.

How did I feel as M and I headed back to the metro?


No comments: