Blogging in the Middle East is a risk.
On the anniversary of the failed coup in Turkey, scrolling through my Twitter feed, I happened upon a tweet with a startling video embed.
Three children- siblings, addressing the 10 year prison sentence imposed on their father for the crime of blogging in Saudi Arabia.
I am a writer. And even though I manifest an apolitical narrative, I can't be so naïve as to believe that the messages that I convey on my blog may be misconstrued as the opposite.
I am Caribbean, Barbadian and within the Middle Eastern paradigm I don't have a dog in the fight. Furthermore, the perceived injustices in the Middle East that force, otherwise, introverted masters of verse to publicly voice their disgust are not limited to this one geographical space as well as the deadly consequences, real or imagined.
So, why write about this place?
I don't. I feel.
For the first time in my life I have become intimate with myself in ways that I never knew were possible. Separated from my homeland and my painful reality there, I am no longer consumed by the fears and hurt that informed so much of my life in Barbados.
As a result, life is brand new for me in the Middle East. I no longer have to sit in dread and pain in the same way that rice bathes in a gravy or stew.
Finally, there is a daily cycle of life experiences, feelings, understanding and clarity culminating in a sense of purpose that makes life worth it.
This cycle is always certainly expressed in my writing and it is the very act of, that makes the cycle cathartic.
And I need it.
The space to express my feelings and to grow in understanding.
...Is a fate which my family believes is inevitable if I continue blogging while living in the Middle East.
Is it a crime to search for clarity on the page?
My experiences in the Middle East are not supplemental. Rather, they, after much scrutiny, serve to clarify, contextualise and direct me unto a peace that goes beyond my own understanding.
And that effort is painfully paradoxical.
Will I ever understand:
- Why you left?
- Why you consciously and devoid of any, stripped me of my dignity?
- Why I was chosen?
Limiting but possible, only so, through the execution of writing.