The Mark of #Daraa via aljumhuriya_net

At the department of – but it is better not to mention the department.” – Nikolai Gogol

The process by which all men and women between the ages of anything and anything are snatched from the market while sniffing fresh parsley and examining inferior bread, tossed into the backs of unmarked trucks between rows of plain-clothed officers from some Syrian department or another of the kind fully staffed by Joseph Mengele-certified specialists in Humanities, and driven to unknown locations on hard terrain, is generally known to begin – for the snatched – with a sense of disbelief.

That monstrous combination of hope and anxiety which leads you to think that it’s a matter of grave misunderstanding that you, of all people, have ended up in this specific situation: lying on top of someone else’s disbelief between pairs of unrelenting boots while a sea of casual sadism and familiar profanities sails on the prenatal trance of filth pressing into your soul. A serious misunderstanding, you say out loud, but softly. Surely, at the department you’re hurtling toward, there are reliable men who can be trusted: grey-haired men at senior positions who listen and smile; who apologize on behalf of the department.

You’re not going to cry, you say, until you’ve safely walked out of the Department. You won’t feel sorry for yourself, you say, until you no longer have reason to. The process – it is known – by which all men and women between the ages of anything and anything with souls already predisposed to departure depart, begins with a gentle hand on your shoulder; with someone whispering beautiful Syrian words into your ear.

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