Sunday, June 04, 2006

Final Thoughts for Today

These comments from former Syrian prisoner Hassan Bahri speak for themselves. Courtesy of a terrific post from Norm Geras:

In that black abyss many lives withered away unconsoled, and thousands of vigorous dreams vanished, shattered against those yellow walls as they tried to reach loved ones far away, in cities and villages of broken dreams. But in there, more than two years after we arrived, we finally had access to some books from the prison 'library'.

Prison, the master of annihilation, can kill even books. It gave these books its muted yellow colour. Mites feasted on their pages, and moisture eroded them. Nevertheless, the great thoughts captured in written words refused to die away, resisting many years of oblivion, waiting for us, as we waited for them.

If the importance of books can be measured by their impact on the reader, those books were the best. Three books, three breaks in the walls, gave meaning to our empty days, and a new horizon to our shared existence, already losing its pulse. The first book was from the Andalucian philosopher Ibn Rashid (Averroes), the second was The Bridge over the Drina by the Bosnian writer Ivo Andric. And the third, Adrift in Soho by the English writer, Colin Wilson.


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