The Devil You Know!

There’s an old saying that goes, “The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know.”

Aren’t Iraq, Egypt and Syria examples enough?

Growing up in Lebanon, I studied Arabic literature in high school and later even took a course in university. Arabic was not my first language but I still loved the literature. I loved to read about the poetic gatherings in palaces in Baghdad. I loved how ancient and old their history and culture was.


We didn’t have that many Arabic books in the school library but I was lucky to have a teacher who was happy to lend me his books from his personal library. I couldn’t wait for his classes, for him to bring me a new book every week to read.

Later, when we were living in Dubai, I heard on the news and saw on TV the museum in Baghdad being destroyed and all the books in it burned. Books as old as 3000 years. All that history wiped out in a few moments. And I remember how saddened my husband and I were. For my late husband himself was a huge fan of Arabic literature, art and calligraphy. Perhaps to quote J.D. Salinger:

“Certain things, they should stay the way they are. You ought to be able to stick them in one of those big glass cases and just leave them alone.” 

Times have changed since then as is expected. But they haven’t changed for the better. What was once ancient and beautiful has turned crazy. The people who see things differently and call themselves the rebels are nothing but misfits and troublemakers. They don’t follow rules and, what’s worse, they have no respect for human life.

That’s the worst part of all of this so called revolution. The torture and killing of innocent people. And the outside world is divided in its opinion. Some find these acts glorifying because they believe it is for a better cause while others find them horrific.

But the one thing that we can’t do, that we shouldn’t do as human beings, is to ignore them. Mother Teresa said:

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” 


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3 Responses to The Devil You Know!

  1. Sue says:

    Who burned the library and why? I’m sad also at the loss of all that history, and also like you, sadder still at the loss of human life. One thing I am glad about is seeing you write again. 🙂

  2. Mirabella says:

    Wiping out a history is one of the ugliest acts…when people loose their identity they because easy to shape as the aggressor pleases and the victim will have no reference to go back to!

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