Muhammad Kamil al-Khatib

just like a river

Without hope, we live on in desire -- Dante, the Divine Comedy

He remembered all the advice Yusef had given him, how much he had comforted him, and that it did not change anything. No one can teach anyone anything in this life. (35)

The summer full of battles, killings, and political declarations passed. Yusef reflected, "This is the fate of my generation. I am from this country and I live in this era. It is how I must live—through wars and lies, among murderers and secret agents. I will be prohibited from experiencing solace, love, and how to live a happy life." (85)

Lamis lived in Kuwait for five years; it was there that she came to know the dryness of the desert. She lived with a dryness of the heart and even knew dryness of the soul. It was in Kuwait that she came to understand the taste of longing for home, longing for her mother, as well as the bitter taste of passionate longing for a betraying lover, for a lover who did not come. (98)

"But political involvement is not an escape. It cannot be used as a psychological compensation." (103)