Reading between the Lines is a special art that needs the sixth sense to guess of what is untold, what is hidden deep behind the words, but the more important is to reconstruct (after deconstructing the elements into its basic particles) the full panoramic scene out of the snatches.
This is exactly what bewilders me when looking at the peaceful scene of the yellowish face of the beautiful Desert in a sunny morning. Looking at the charming beauty of the desert, you would notice that its face is contoured with consecutive Lines of the extensive horizon of dunes; brownish, yellowish, silver and even dark Lines of intermingling dunes. These Lines are tricky that the dunes are moving, creeping gradually to give the place to new born ones, and this is exactly why the Bedouins don’t trust the facial features, but follow the stars or the scars, that scars can tell the deep history of the face, the natural face or the face of nature !!
Photo by: Selmy Sawarkeh
Fascinated by the virgin natural beauty, I would stare into these Lines to forget the outer features and dive into the smaller and thinner Lines of a finger size as the soft wind blow the sand moving them restlessly and endlessly to form new creeping Lines in an everlasting march toward the sea. Looking more deeply in these tiny Lines you would see the flying particles of the golden sand, coming closer to see clearly, you would fall in the trap and the particles would get into your eyes, and instead of seeing clearly you would fall into the Hazy vision course of sand particles and tears. To look back into the narrow horizon of your eyes, you would see the mirage running clean, silver water inviting you to have an eternal dive into the lines, the colorful charming Lines of the whole yellowish scene of the tricky desert.
We have lots of Lines here in Palestine, the Green Line, the Red Line, the snaky line of the Apartheid Wall, the blue line, the borderline (though the Zionists never had fixed borderlines, as their final Lines to be drown by their army, as Ben-Gurion said once). So Lines can be shaped and reshaped, drawn and redrawn as the Zionist occupation has almost omitted the natural Lines of the Desert to draw the racist line of its unattainable “pure” Jewish state for the “chosen people”.
The tricky Lines of Dr. Ralph Salmi (which is the only name I would mention here) are far more complicated to track and re-weave them into a clear Persian carpet, that the start of this “brave” man was in Persia, the Islamic Republic of Iran now. I never met nor would ever like to meet this “great” American professor, but the bizarre stories I heard of him made me to try to collect these Lines and draw a full picture, that my mind cant really trust separate lines…. someone can
help me and google this name as I never did?
The first time I ever heard of this man was from my classmate as he said in a hushing voice as if he was revealing a secret and didn’t want anybody to hear: “Ralph Salmi is our professor back home, he escaped out of Iran when the Islamic revolution broke out.” That boy was talking of Mr. Salmi as if a little child admiring his brave father as he added: “Dr. Salmi is a great thinker, he’s the most prominent professor at our university, in California !!”
This boy amazed me with his vast geographical knowledge; if you asked him of any country in the world (specially in the Middle East), he would instantly tell you the details of the details, history, population, ethnicities’ percentage, agriculture. main industries..etc. It seemed to me that he had swallowed thousands of books before he came to amaze my primitive Bedouin mind. Later, after we graduated, he left back home to have his Master degree in Politics and came back to the Middle East to get married to a Christian Lebanese girl to work as a journalist with..with… the hell how could I know. But still I am surprised with the hectic pace he travels with like a swift bird that never land on any tree from Lebanon-Syria-Kuwait-Iraq as his “job” needed. The second time I heard of Salmi was one year later; a little shy girl asked me as I mentioned his name: “Ah, you know Dr. Salmi?” “I hear of that great professor through his delegates to our university.” I said explaining. “Oh, yah. Dr. Salmi is responsible for the whole program in the Middle East. He’s a fascinating mentality, He says that all the American wars against the Arab communist parties were waste of time, we should have fought Islam from the very beginning.” as he is recruiting muslim “scholars” to study Islam from within to be easy to fight it from within and without !!
This girl surprised me as she almost followed the very steps of Dr. Salmi; she fell in love with an Engineering student from Gaza, they got married, lived a few months in the States (to brainwash the Gazan guy) to come back to dwell in Gaza for two years. As Dr. Salmi ran away from Iran in the very last moment (and was considered brave for this) this girl fled at the very last moment from Gaza when Hamas took over the Strip. I knew of this by the very mere chance; in the Zionist jail, I met a guy from a refugee camp in Gaza and asked him of that engineering student who is married to an American “shy” girl. He was astonished and skeptical and asked in amazement: “how do you know these people?”. I told him of my university story then he told me the details of their story. “We knew of them from the very beginning, they were chasing our cadres and collecting logistic information… they fled at the last moment !!”… and I remembered Dr. Salmi who fled from Iran at the very last moment !!
Photo by: Selmy Sawarkeh
A drunkard old (but sweet) woman gave me the third line (sorry, the third story) of that great professor delegating “students” to the whole Middle East. “Professor Salmi came here to your university, last year, didn’t you see him?” she asked me, but was disappointed to my reply: “No, I didn’t know!”, “This great man is our family friend, he’s my husband old friend and always come to visit us at our villa.” This woman, as far as I know, is in Afghanistan now !! What is she doing there? I am trying to collect the lines, not the Desert Lines but the tricky Lines of the American delegates… probably she’s in a Christian “humanitarian” mission !! Christian? How come? But she is drunk all the time.
This old (but sweet) woman, once revealed a secret to me. She was buzzed and probably out of jealousy from her beautiful young mate who was attracting the whole guys to chat with her in the parties: “That girl is a zionist, all her fees are covered by the AIPAC!!” I didn’t reply but still respect and like that old but sweet woman that a year later she recommended a guy (who was coming at our side) to contact me as she told him: “I trust that bedouin for my daughter” !
Another story of a sweet girl that I loved in my last year at the University, but hated her later (and dont ask me why)…. Why should I remember? What Sudan and Dar-Fur has to do with this stunning girl? Why should I tell of her story, anyway.
The misty mishmash of the stories is intermingling in my exhausted mind, the same as I am dazing in the Hazy Lines of the Desert …. Shall I deconstruct this whole mishmash and rebuild a new story of “peace” and “forgiveness”? The peaceful Desert is no longer peaceful as its original Lines were omitted by the steps of these “peaceful” delegates of the great Mr. (professor, Dr. or just) Ralph Salmi who I would never like to meet nor to see his delegates in our desert.
What a lovely description of the desert and the sand dunes!! marvellous indeed Well, I guess after you had constructed the whole map of lines, you got a case here! I hope it is not another desert mirage or a pure subjective speculation Thank you indeed Very impressive