Emblem transpoзиция by Rahaf Konbaz
1. And they lived “miserably” ever after

Standing in a class full of displaced students from various provinces in Syria didn’t help much on the journey to reach certainty.

I asked them to draw a nice place they had been to. What I had in my mind, what I thought they might draw, was a beach with a blue sky, a city with entertainment and ice cream, or maybe a smiling sun in a big park, but their answers came like a slap in the face:

“I am from Idlib. I will draw Idlib City.”
“I am from Derazzor. I will draw my house there.”
“I am from Daraa. I used to live on a farm. I will draw our farm there.”

Syria, The Dead

I had no idea how it slipped my mind that those kids, who had spent the past six years at the mercy of bullets and arms, might even think of drawing “a blue sky, a smiling sun, and ice cream”!!! How could they draw something they had never seen?! Their pleasant memories stopped the moment they left their homes. They were still stuck at the last time they crossed the cusp of their city. At the sounds of the keys locking the door. Their minds interpreted the meaning of nice places as “my home”…Their homes were the only nice places they had seen!

Seven years ago, it was 6:00 am in the morning. The city was still sleeping. We took to the street. My mind was filled with these naive ideas I read from books and heard from intellectuals: We were putting things on the right track. We were writing our own destiny, we could make it to the other side of the river like all those other people on the planet. The plan was simply this: Move to the streets, occupy all the main squares, stay patient – some might be killed – stay strong – some would be detained… Eventually we were going to live happily ever after. We carried out every part of this plan, but the final scene did not unfold as we planned.

Syria – The Dead

I ask myself over and over: What happened? Why couldn’t we make it to the other side of the river? I do not know and have decided to call myself “Ms. I-do-not-know.” If anyone asks me any question these days, I just reply: I do not know. Seriously, do you really buy this illusion that you know anything in this world? I know that you tidy your pillow every night and sleep on this fact. Sweet dreams. But you know nothing.

But even if I know nothing, there is one thing I am certain of: If we hadn’t taken a step outside our houses to protest, ISIS boots would have never reached the soil of Syria. Those kids would have still been living under the roofs of their houses. Regardless of what happened between the two “movements.”

Syria, The Dead

2. “No voice could drown out the voice of freedom and dignity.”

Tawakul Karman can say whatever she wishes. She can brag about her victory, the freedom she achieved, and the dignity she enjoyed after a long fight. She is wrong. This statement, “no voice could drown out the voice of freedom and dignity,” which pops up every time the respectful UN delegates wish to gather and feel satisfied about their achievements on planet Earth is %$@@#$

The voice of military boots, the voice of arms and tanks, the voice of shelling can drown out all other voices. The cry of a mother, the mere sound of the cry, has the capacity to make you swallow your dignity and the naive concepts of freedom and democracy.

In times of wars, when the sounds of military boots approach, youths retreat to the sea. Many throw themselves in the water so they won’t have to wear a military uniform. Many just drown. Some reach the cusp of Europe, stranded here and there, pledging to be “good citizens” – just please let us in. While many of those who have stayed must put on those military boots because they couldn’t make it to sea.

Syria, The Dead

I contributed to this. I did my share in pushing these youths into the sea. I was one of those who joined the protests. Who took photos. Who tweeted, who blogged about the long awaited freedom. We thought we were shaping our destiny. The power of the people could never be challenged. They were meant to rule. I took myself to the second level of this movement. It was appropriate to be detained, so in one protest I waited for the police to come and didn’t run away. I let them take me. I was certain that the path of this movement was going to lead us to paradise. We were going to have a real election. We were going to expose corruption. We were going to ensure justice for every individual, with resolve and steadfastness. We were the generation which was destined to change the face of Syria. Actually, we did change the face of Syria. We changed its face to such an extent that no one can recognize the country anymore.

Syria, The Dead

I was certain. Then arms and bullets entered the scene, turning it into displaced people, children living outside in the snow. Historic city centers, another scene, were bombed to ruins. And all these new scenes pushed me toward the path of certainty. Was it worth it to displace all these people, to destroy one of the oldest cities in the world? Numbers, estimates and statistics began to envelope every cell of my brain:

Syria, The Dead

I am Syrian number 21109402. I have been living under an armed conflict for the past 2,160 days. During which I spent 11 days in detention. It is estimated that this conflict has claimed around 510,000 lives, with 6.1 million people internally displaced and 4.8 million seeking refuge abroad. Every day an average of 5 people are killed in Damascus City alone because of random shelling. Every day I head to work with the possibility of being killed by an average of 18 rockets or shells that explode in Damascus. Among all these numbers, there is this 133. We see it around every corner. It passes in front of our eyes every 5 minutes. It is the number of the Red Crescent vans which rush to collect the bodies.

Syria, The Dead

It may be that I know nothing, but of one thing I am certain – we should never have left our houses that morning.

Rahaf Konbaz


Photo 1: Aleppo, Syria – The Great Mosque – Michael Dinos

Photo 2: Syria, The Dead – Provided by Rahaf Konbaz

Photo 3: Syria, The Dead – Provided by Rahaf Konbaz

Photo 4: Syria, The Dead – Provided by Rahaf Konbaz

Photo 5: Syria, The Dead – Provided by Rahaf Konbaz

Photo 6: Syria, The Dead – Provided by Rahaf Konbaz

Photo 7: Syria, The Dead – Provided by Rahaf Konbaz

Photo 8: Syria, The Dead – Provided by Rahaf Konbaz


Real: Postcard emblems in The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed and The Anthology of Global Instability Transposed on display at 1080

Virtual: www.perypatetik.net

Social: Cinemblem (cine emblem) at www.facebook.com/Perypatetik

The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed

Castañeda, Martha Corzo. Worried Workers – Peru. February 2018.

Cordido, Veronica. The Crib of Uncertainty – Venezuela. January 2018.

Dastan, S.A. Uncertain Waters – Turkey. March 2019.

Electra P. Aβεβαιότητα: The Enemy of Romantic Relationships – Greece. February 2018

Goumiri, Abdennour. Uncertainty Is All There Is – France. February 2018.

Guerrero, Marilin. Crossing the Uncertain Path of Life – Cuba. February 2018.

Lozano, Gabriela. El cuchillo de la incertidumbre : Piercing Uncertainty – México. January 2018.

Samir, Ahmed. Uncertainty in Personal Life. January 2018.

Quintero, Jonay. The Fear of Not Knowing – España. January 2018.


Translators and writers in Uruguay, Italy, Czech Republic, Russia, Paraguay, Argentina, Germany, Romania, Spain, America, Britain, and more…

The Anthology of Global Instability Transposed

Table of contents for The Archive of Global Instability Transposed and complete collection can be found at www.perypatetik.net.

Alvisi, Andrea. Political and Social Instability: The Brexit Mess. May 2017.

Bahras. Unstable Air Pollution – Unstable Solutions: Mongolia. June 2017.

Bichen, Svetlana Novoselova. Mental and Cultural Instability: Russia and Turkey. February 2017.

Bondarenko, Evgeny. Hybrid War: Ukraine. December 2018.

Borghi, Silvana Renée. Living in Inestabilidad. September 2017.

Caetano, Raphael. Instabilidade emocional: Brazil. February 2017.

Çakır, Peren. On the Road in Search of Stability: Argentina and Turkey. June 2017.

Casas, Marilin Guerrero. Emotional Estabilidad: The Key To a Happy Life – Cuba. December 2017.

Charles-Dee. Social Onstabiliteit – South Africa. December 2017.

Cordido, Verónica. Instability, a Stable Reality: Venezuela and America. April 2017.

Dastan, S.A. The Stability of Instability: Turkey and Syria. March 2017.

D’Adam, Anton. Psychosocial Instability in Argentina and America: El granero del mundo and The Manifest Destiny. January 2017.

Delibasheva, Emilia. Political Instability: Electoral Coups in America and Bulgaria. December 2016.

Ellie. Angry Folk: Korea. June 2017.

Farid, Isis Kamal. Stability Is Not An Option – Egypt. August 2017.

Friedrich, Angelika. Introduction: The Emblem of Instability. September 2016.

Fondevik, Vigdis. Unstable Nature: Norway and Denmark. October 2016.

Ghadir, Younes. Political Instability – Lebanon. September 2017.

Gómez, Javier. The Way of No Way – Argentina and the UK. December 2017.

Gotera, Jay R. In Flux Amid Rising Local and Regional Tensions – Philippines. November 2017.

Guillot, Iulianna. Starting and Staying in Instability – Moldova. October 2017.

Gjuzelov, Zoran. The Нестабилност of Transition – Macedonia. November 2017.

Halimi, Sophia. Modern Instabilité: Youth and Employment in France and China. March 2017.

Hernandez, Jonay Quintero. Embracing Instability – Spain. February 2017.

Kelvin, Sera. The Stability in Expecting Emotional Instability: Brazil. April 2017.

Konbaz, Rahaf. The Castaways: On the Verge of Life – Syria. August 2017.

Korneeva, Ekaterina. Instability… or Flexibility? July 2017.

Kreutzer, Karina. Hidden Instabilität – Ecuador and Switzerland. December 2017.

Krnceska, Sofija. Decades of Economic Instability – Macedonia. September 2017.

Kutscher, Karin. Inestabilidad in Interpersonal Relationships – Chile. October 2017.

Larousse, Annabelle. Legal and Emotional Instability in a Transgender Life – Ireland. August 2017.

Larrosa, Mariela. The Very Stable Spanish Instability. April 2017.

Lobos, José. Political Instability: Guatemala. May 2017.

Lozano, Gabriela. Estructuras Inestables: Vignettes of a Contemporary, Not Quite Collapsing Country – Mexico. November 2017.

MacSweeny, Michael. A House on a Hill – America. October 2017.

Mankevich, Tatiana. The Absence of Linguistic Cтабiльнасць: Does the Belarusian Language Have a Future? December 2016.

McGuiness, Matthew. Loving Lady Instability. November 2017.

Meschi, Isabelle. Linguistic Instabilité and Instabilità: France and Italy. November 2016.

Mitra, Ashutosh. The Instability of Change: India. January 2016.

Moussly, Sahar. The Instability of Tyranny: Syria and the Syrian Diaspora. December 2016.

Nastou, Eliza. Psychological Αστάθεια and Inestabilidad during the Economic Crisis: Greece and Spain. December 2016.

Nevosadova, Jirina. Whatever Happens, It Is Experience. May 2017.

Olisthoughts. Stable Instability – Moldova. October 2017.

Partykowska, Natalia. Niestabilność and адсутнасць стабільнасці in the Arts: Polish and Belarusian Theater. January 2017.

Payan, Rodrigo Arenas. Impotence – Venezuela and Columbia. September 2017.

Persio, P.L.F. Social Instabilità and Instabiliteit: Italy and the Netherlands. November 2016.

Pranevich, Liubou. Cultural Instability: Belarus and Poland. March 2017.

Protić, Aleksandar. Demographic Instability: Serbia. July 2017.

Romano, Mavi. Unstable Identities: Ecuador and Europe. October 2016.

Sekulić, Jelena. Нестабилност/Nestabilnost in Language – Serbia. August 2017.

Sepa, Andreea. Instabilitate vs. Stabilität: How Important Are Cultural Differences? – Romania and Germany. September 2017.

Shunit. Economic Instability: Guinea and Gambia. April 2017.

Shalunova, Marina. Language Instability: Russia. June 2017

Sitorus, Rina. Instabilitas Toleransi: Indonesia. May 2017.

Skrypka, Vladyslav. National нестійкість: Ukraine. July 2017.

Staniulis, Justas. Nestabilumas of Gediminas Hill and the Threat to the Symbol of the State: Lithuania. July 2017.

Sousa, Antonia. Social and Economic Instabilidade: Portugal. January 2017.

Vuka. My Intimate Imbalanced Inclination. March 2017.

Walton, Éva. Historical and Psychological Bizonytalanság within Hungarian Culture. January 2017.

Yücel, Sabahattin. The Instability of Turkish Education and its Effect on Culture and Language: Turkey. July 2017.

Zadrożna-Nowak, Amelia. Economic Instability: Poles at Home and the Polish Diaspora. November 2016.

Zakharova, Anastasiya. Instability in Relationships: Russia. April 2017.

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