Writing 101: Day 20 challenge: My treasure

My treasure is something we all possess yet people usually overlook it. My treasure is a compass and not a regular one. My treasure doesn’t point north; instead it points to the right path. My compass was at first never faulty or misguiding for it is made of pureness and perfection, keeping me as an infant on the right track and I followed its wise commands. As I grew up and became hasty and impatient, I dropped it a few times cracking its glass and distorting its golden frame. I wasn’t listening to her guidance, ignorantly thinking I could do better on my own. And thus I found myself many times in a dead end, blaming everyone for my mistakes except yours truly. I did find my way in the end, when I put my humongous ego aside and listened. It’s alright, now, for my compass is magical: it has the power to heal all the scars I have inflicted and all the blows that I delivered.

My treasure wasn’t crafted by a mortal hand for it bends the laws of nature and as if by a magical incantation metamorphoses into the most honest judge of all. My treasure doesn’t only tell me where I go, it also tells where I went wrong. It inflicts upon me an unbearable punishment, torturing my soul until I finally admit to my faults and rectify my mistakes. At moments, the sentence may seem unfair but make no mistake, this judge doesn’t make mistakes. It knows the right from wrong without hesitance and if you do err from the commands of the compass, you will most definitely pay. I find it necessary to remind myself that the goal is not to simply make my days bitter; the goal is to make a better human out of me, conscious of his acts and master of his words… It’s a journey to human perfection.

That’s not all; my treasure can easily become a book, a record of my emotions and a diary for my feelings. When read, you will get to travel the depths of my soul. This book is my identity. It has everything there is to know about me. I am not talking about the shallow ramblings of my daily life that are so poisoned with lies, ignorance, prejudice… No, I am talking about the true nature of myself: the things that made who I am today, the values I stand for, my notions of right and wrong, my most secret beliefs and disbeliefs…  

My treasure is the most valuable gift I can offer for I can only offer it once. It doesn’t come wrapped in the fanciest paper yet it’s more precious than the most dazzling jewels and the most expensive perfumes. I can only choose one to receive my gift, that’s why I need to chose carefully. But one thing I have noticed is that I don’t actually have a choice! My gift chooses who shall receive it and when the choice is made, every reasonable argument I could come up with will not alter the choice. Once the treasure is given to the chosen, a bond that will unite us for as long we live shall be sealed.

My treasure is ….         

Source: allthingskelly


Tell me what you think my treasure is in the comments.

 

He Had nothing to lose

The silence that ruled this little vacant yard was suddenly lacerated by the dreadful roar of death echoing throughout the deserted barely standing building that bore the marks of a great fire. It wasn’t exactly death crying at that moment although that was what the little kid had pictured for he had long since linked the sirens of the military police with the raging vociferation of a monster that terrified him each day and each night- in his nightmares. He dreaded him since the day he was born for his presence announced misery and brought pain upon his mother and brothers. He never knew his father although he had a faint memory of a slim man forced to enter a green truck but then he had seen hundreds of men dragged to the same truck by what seemed to be the same men that spoke a language he never managed to understand. He never looked into their faces; he couldn’t summon the courage for he feared to see a hideous creature and he had seen many of those in his dreams, no need to add yet another. The little boy picked the battered punctured ball he had found in the ruins and ran away from the monsters in their matching green clothes…

A few –what used to be- blocks away, he stopped and looked at the beautiful orange sky that was rapidly becoming dark as the sun went down ending what seemed to be a peaceful day so far… He then went forward towards what was left of the city away from the ruins. He had strayed too far from home this time, his mother must be worried but still he slowed his pace for the terrifying sound was close and he could see the flickering red-blue light reflecting through the narrow streets. The monsters were close, he kept thinking and so he silently walked in the shadows taking a long route for he feared they would see him. But the monsters seem to have invaded the city; everywhere he went, he heard clamors. He realized he had no choice but to sneak behind them hoping they wouldn’t see him. He took a deep breath and ran…

The loud cries covered the sound of his footsteps and he managed to go across; In fact, one soldier did see him but he was too busy to go after him. The little kid stopped for he had heard a familiar sound; it was the voice of one of his playmates, so he took a few steps back and glanced. There it was: the big green truck that had taken so many men on a journey they never got back from. It was loading new passengers. Strange, they didn’t seem to want to go on board for they were screaming and kicking the men in green who were weirdly smiling as they brutalized them and threw them inside the truck. There was a flag painted on the truck but it wasn’t the same flag they kept hidden at their house, not the same flag his brothers drew nor was it the one his father kissed every morning… He finally managed to see his friend whose face was now covered in tears; he was standing close to a door that was obviously smashed by the feet of the men in green. His mother, a nice lady that always gave him a snack and invited him home, was begging the men to release her husband. Her once sweet voice was now high pitched as she insisted that her husband was an honest hard working man that had done nothing wrong. The man that saw him previously had gotten into the driver’s seat and as he drove past the perplexed boy, he grinned maliciously…

The boy took off haunted by that horrible smile and those demonical blue eyes. As he went on looking for his home, he noticed more broken doors hanging sadly on their hinges, more grieving wives and more crying kids. The city was sinking in pain and misery and no street seemed to have been spared. He feared the men in green had ravaged the house and so he fastened his pace. His heart was beating faster as he approached his street. The houses seemed to be strangely empty and as he drew closer to his home, he saw that everyone was surrounding his house… When they saw him, they cleared a way for him to go inside his house… His mother was sleeping on her bed and everyone seemed to be present except the oldest of his brothers. The little kid went to the couch and slept for hours dreaming of the man with the blue eyes… He eventually woke up and he felt extremely hungry as he didn’t have dinner last night. His mother was still sleeping so he went to the kitchen looking for something to eat. There, he found an old lady, a neighbor, making breakfast to his brothers who sat around the table and so he gratefully joined them for a delicious meal…

When they were done, he took a plate of biscuits and a glass of milk to his mother thinking she’d be awake now but as he went closer, he found that she was still asleep. He put the glass and the plate down and tapped her gently to wake her up. The mattress was tainted in a red color and his mother was strangely pale. An old woman approached him and with a pitiful smile took him away from his mother while another one covered his mom with a white cloth. The lady that took him was now talking to him, telling him his mother was gone and won’t return. His mother had been shot.

-“But the men in green didn’t take her, she’s right there”, he insisted.

-“The men in green have many ways to take people’s lives; fortunately, they used the quickest least painful one on your mother. She was gone instantly.”

The little boy went outside where the men were sitting and talking about his mother’s death. He knew now why the man with the blue eye’s grinned… He was the man that shot his mother after she tried to stop from taking his brother. The man in green must have recognized him for he looked exactly like his mother. The driver took away his mother and brother… The little kid wasn’t afraid of the man in green anymore: What was he going to do to me besides making me join my mother or my brother? he asked himself. The man in green had lost his power that night; simultaneously he had created a fearless orphan that had nothing to lose…

 Source: ALLSSC


I didn’t name the characters nor did I say which country they came from. You can place this story in any place and any time from 1914 till this present day. Children suffer in the same way all around the world. The sufferance they endure at a young age will mark them forever and the men that caused this sufferance should be held responsible for any future acts done by those poor children.

 

A dazzling jewel she was

A dazzling jewel she was but it was hidden under a layer of dirt that sometimes let the light threw but it was feeble and hardly perceptible, reminiscent of old days of glory… Oh, Alice was once a jewel that captured every heart and mesmerized every mind for she was brilliantly talented and intelligent: a diamond of the finest cut, a woman that had the whole world in her hands but she let go and once you fail the world, you’ll have to fight for a second chance or lay at the bottom to be stamped and kicked as others who have not been as gifted climb their way up…

It dawned on her that she was an arrogant brat spoilt and raised with the uttermost care… The world that was so cruel and merciless on others was so pleasant to her, favoring her with the most exquisite opportunities to thrive and excel but she disdainfully turned them down. Fooled into thinking she would rule the world forever, she let her talents rust and didn’t aspire to reach greater heights. And so the world grew tired of her laziness and rightfully crowned another.

Alice felt betrayed and angry at the world she thought was unfair to her. She looked distrustfully at the new queen as jealousy crept through her veins like toxic venom. Furiously, she dared to ask her to a duel of which Alice got out vanquished and destroyed. Then, she waited for the queen to make a fault to bash her but she only succeeded in making a fool out of herself. As the years went by and she sank deeper and deeper, the mist of anger had gradually faded away and she could see the error of her ways.

She realized that: once you reach the highest rank, keep pushing forward, set the bar higher and reach for the unknown or else someone will eventually reach you and venture into the ground you lazily left undiscovered. Isn’t it stupid to go through the hardest phase and crush the competition and when the ground is finally clear for you to ascend freely, you lazily give up? It was a fatal mistake that no one would forgive…

Now that she finally understood her past, she was ready to focus on her present. It was a rough journey to the top; the diamond must be washed of all its sins. Many sleepless nights of hard work awaited her for that was the only currency that the world might accept. It is a long journey to reach the top now that she was at the bottom and it requires a will of steel but she will make it … hopefully…

When You Reach The Top, Keep Climbing

source: sjamalullail15iskl

Lost until we find the answer

The sea was losing its darkness as the dawn’s first rays exposed its nudity and unveiled its secluded mysteries. Playing with the delicate sand, he sat eyes drawn to the sky yet not noticing the luminous stars above him for his mind had wandered away in a maze of puzzling thoughts. He had been there for hours thinking the fresh salty breeze would enlighten him. But the answer was still beyond his reach; he was still lost and troubled…

He felt happy and satisfied up until last night… Something must’ve happened inside his brain, triggered a chain-reaction that started with a strange feeling of emptiness and ended with a suffocating feeling of despair that enveloped him ever since. He felt deluded and deceived like his futile life was unworthy of all the hard work he had put into it, apparently his heart was drawn to a much higher cause, a greater reason to exist but his perplexed mind was still unable to find it. The sea was an old friend; he had spent on its shores many days for it was his refuge, his hiding place from the infinite cluster that was life. The sea was the mother he lost, the one that could suppress every noise and every voice but the sound of his thoughts; no one could disturb him when he was with his mother, no one could touch him for mother would send upon the incautious a raging wind and colossal waves.

On impulse, he ran to the sea like a scared infant runs towards his mother and he jumped inside… There he emptied his lungs and sank gently to the bottom. He had remembered… Pushing on the ground, he rose to the surface and floated on his back. A terrifying memory he thought was long forgotten resurfaced, the same emotions were preserved for 20 years and now a grown men was crying like once a ten year old Sudanese hugging his dead brother’s bloody body did. He woke up in a dark crowded room; a U.N officer had found him and put him on a boat that was leaving the country. Alone, terrified and grieving, he arrived to this new country and decided to forget the atrocities and the cruelty he had seen. He thought he had erased his past but that is easier said than done…

His life was indeed in vain for he had forgotten his origins and the victims of the war he had left behind. He felt ashamed of himself, he should have helped his country get back on its feet instead he left it to drown in a sea of disease, civil war and poverty… Aiming for the shore, he swam vigorously and purposefully. The sun had finally rose illuminating the darkness of the night, a new day had started… He had been living a lie all these years but he finally knew the truth, his true purpose of his existence. Isn’t that the toughest question of our lives?

Rage or Kindness : The last battle

He went outside, looked at the mysterious blue moon and smiled. He took a deep breath and that fresh dose of oxygen seemed to have revived the painful memory. The smile faded away for he was only trying to fool himself. He let the knife down and held his head between his hands shutting his eyes with all his might until it became painful, still the tragic memory wouldn’t disappear, wouldn’t quit distorting his tormented soul. He wasn’t going to sleep because he knew insomnia awaited him like a sadistic monster that tortured him every night for the last week. And so he sat down and looked at the knife then held it in front of his eyes. Oh the idea of suicide had crossed his mind many times but he would never do it, he never took the easy way out. He won’t give them the satisfaction of seeing his frail body buried in the ground. He was the last man standing against it and he won’t let go. A gigantic responsibility for he was mankind’s last hope. He was now the incarnation of HOPE and every other value that used to rein every human soul but his baggy eyes, broken nose, lacerated cheeks showed that he has taken a few blows. His once pure gentle angel’s soul has been infected. New feelings surged; he felt angry at the world he once adored, angry at them for leaving him lonely. Oh how lonely he felt! For nights, he cried his eyes out seeking a helping hand, a whispered advice that would never come. Alone, haunted by the memory of his dear wife, he sat there for hours thinking of that miserable day: the day her poor soul couldn’t handle all this misery that fell upon earth and her eyes were shut forever. She was his last companion and her presence always brightened his spirit and gave him hope that one day they’d win their battle against evil in all its forms. But she’s gone now and he thought of joining her and letting this sick world destroy itself. He remembered her last words clearly, she said: “There’s no pure evil, my dear, and no pure goodness. Every soul is a mixture of both. Man kind has strayed when it favoured the darkness but deep down lays a faint light of virtue and kindness. Awaken that side, unleash it from its cage and let it strive but first cleanse your soul from every sinful feeling this fight has brought upon it”. He must pull himself together and give it one last shot. He stood up and threw the knife. He’s been wandering around with that knife for the last three or four days. Strange, he never knew he possessed a knife. And suddenly he realised it was made out of anger and frustration! The blade was getting bigger everyday as the feelings of rage and betrayal infested his spirit. He felt better now, free from the feelings that made the past days of his existence a nightmare. He dragged himself to the bed and slept like a baby smiling as he dreamed of his wife laughing and dancing with joy and whispering encouragements… He woke up revived and energized not knowing how much time he slept. He knew what he had to do now and he wasn’t afraid. He’s going to do whatever it takes, the path to reconvert the world was long and hard but he will fight for what he believed in, until every form of malice has been abolished. He knew though that he had to watch out for he could stray from the right path any moment but he hoped the memory of his dear wife would guide him. The fight has now begun…

Download / By Tirza van Dijk
Source: Unsplash by By Tirza van Dijk

Corruption of the human soul

Turn on the TV and listen. Listen to the misdeeds of Man. Let the tears flow. Burst in rage and shout in this rainy summer night: Oh Human race, what have you done? Dead men, raped women, amputated children… Everywhere you’ve been, you shattered hopes and dreams, brought misery to every creature you’ve encountered and turned this beautiful planet into HELL.

 

Credit Photo: Press TV

I wonder how? How did a little baby with an angel’s soul become a dangerous dictator, a psychopathic serial killer, a greedy destroyer of nature? How did an angel turn into a hateful demon? Where did you go wrong? I’m baffled. How did we stray so far from sanctity? Can you look at the rosy innocent face of a new born and imagine he could be murdering people with cold blood, raping women without a second thought, inventing weapons of destruction and torture? I can’t!

Is it poor education that made you a monster? You didn’t have anyone to tell you what’s right and what’s wrong so you acted upon instinct. But still intuitively, Death brings feelings of sadness and despair so why would you decide to bring it upon others?

Is it Religion? That’s the most frequent claim. But being a religious man myself, I don’t believe religion encourages us to spread violence in this time. War should be the last resort and in no way does war include rape and torture. But in our times, I think war is no longer an option not with weapons that could literally blow earth apart. We’re not talking about swords and stones anymore, these weapons can cause the extinction of the human race! Give me a verse in the Quran, the Bible and the Old Testament that asks man to destroy himself.

Is it jealousy or maybe a feeling of betrayal? Such feelings could drive man mad and we’ve all experience it in some degree. Yes, I think that’s how we became monstrous and cruel… by letting these feelings take over. Jealous of another man’s success, we go to the extremes dominate him. If that fails, we try to destroy him for we can’t bear the fact that he’s better than us. That’s what made Hitler: he couldn’t deal with the defeat of Germany and the superiority of the Allies so he went mad. It could be sadness that broke the last straw. Tired of seeing men, women and children butchered in the most appalling way, a Palestinian will become violent to counter the violence he received.

Or it could be completely the opposite: a feeling of power! That feeling is intoxicating; it makes you feel on top of the world, you’re the most powerful man on the planet and you’re free to do whatever you want. Who could stop you now that you’ve become a demigod? That explains the Arab dictators, asphyxiated with the feeling of power, they stopped at nothing. This applies to some first world governments, they’ve got the technological advancement and so they do whatever they please: colonizing other countries, exploiting their natural resources and murdering the majority in favor of a minority ( that country that came into existence in the 40’s and took over the land of Palestine).

Wherever you are, whatever reason you have to be angry, just say NO to violence. I’m sure the Palestinians can coexist in the same land as the Jews. I’m sure terrorists would go extinct if people said no to violence and if they had no reason to be angry. We must unify and coexist in peace or we would eventually disappear. Please say NO to violence.

 

 

Bomber – Len Deighton

Len Deighton is most definitely the greatest war novelist of the century and this book is believed to be his master piece. Bomber isn’t:

  • Your typical shallow Second World War story where the British noble gentleman fights the evil satanic emotionless Nazis and wins after a brave fight to return to his wife and live happily ever after.
  • Bias, it doesn’t portray the superiority of the British and their sanctity nor does it defend the Nazis and their beliefs. It’s fair and just to both sides uncovering their misdeeds making it a real historical master piece.

 

  • “We are fooling only ourselves if we pretend we are bombing anything other than city centres”

These are the words of a British pilot named Cohen who dies at the end of the book after a air-raid on a German city. The pilots know that they aren’t bombing any factories instead they’re killing innocent civilians, destroying their houses, burning their crops. These aren’t soldiers who were trying to harm the British Empire. They are children, women and elderly who have done but minding their own business. Then why are they bombed? Aren’t they humans or did the British adopt Hitler’s main ideas: do they believe in the superiority of the British race? Lambert, one the main characters, believes that the pilots have been corrupted; they’re now mere pawns who are used to achieve Churchill’s goals. But isn’t that loyalty? No, loyalty doesn’t mean using another man’s morality instead of your own: this is anarchy.  And that leads to the next point.

 

  • “Dictators gain power by offering pattern, ranks, common purpose, and men in formations. Men want order, they strive for it.”

People think the British aren’t easy to regiment but haven’t they already when men line up to dig up their own graves? I think Deighton has voiced his thoughts throughout Mr Cohen when he accused the British of gaining a “sense of national identity and purpose… History is being quoted and patriotic songs revived”. What separates them from the Nazis? They both have been fed lies about national pride, both mislead into doing the dirty work of their leaders. All they need is a Fuehrer and a racial minority to attack.

 

  • “Eventually everyone in the world would become an expert at the modest words, kind smiles and bland assurance that gloved the iron hand of ambition.” Here, Deighton refers to the effect of war on men. Throughout the book, he treats the issue of man and machine. The war has pushed men on both sides to develop magnificent and brilliant new technologies; the fear of loosing the war extended the limits of the brain and unleashed a main stream of inventions and machinery. But what are the consequences? The machines are now used to kill humans in the most ferocious and appalling way: phosphorus bombs, magnesium bombs, stalling bombs… It has made life harder for the “Huns”, but hasn’t it also taken the lives of so many British soldiers as well. Besides, it has made life troublesome for the latter for their conscience is rarely at peace. And how can it be when they became sadists who savoured torturing humans such as themselves before killing them. The machines have deprived them from humanity, brainwashed them into thinking they were the saviours of mankind. Of course, the Nazis have had their fair share of disgraceful acts, but what Deighton uncovered in this book is that nobody is innocent. Both sides are criminals and both should take responsibility for the death of millions. The writer thinks that men shouldn’t have settled for this, they should’ve quit the war just like Sam Lambert: He couldn’t handle another flight and so he quit even though he was one of the most skilled pilots in the squadron.  This has created a new Man “frightened that machines might dominate him and overawed by mechanical performance, was becoming mechanical in his emotions and reactions. We can notice this aspect during the bombing of a German city called Altgarten, a fire-fighter called Ilfa Johannes “was finding it easier to reject the pleas of those too far gone to be saved. It was right to do so and logical too”. He’s right if humans were computers, then that should be the proper way of acting but we are not machines -not yet.

 

  • “You and I might be able to see the virtue of chaos… muddle and inefficiency are man’s only hope of freedom”

Is this the only solution? Will man only be liberated if he abandons every aspect of modernity: technology, societal organisation… and adopt chaos as a way of life? Well that is the question of the century and Deighton foresaw this issue in 1972. Personally, I don’t think the answer resides in chaos, there is another solution probably but I have no idea what it is.

P.S:

The book is a work of fiction, it starts on the 31st of June 1943 which makes absolutely no sense. The writer made a huge effort to collect the historical data and the book is filled with it. But still, he created all the characters and even the city of Altgarten. That’s why Deighton earned his reputation both as a war novelist and a historian.

528 pages: the timeline of the story is 24 hours which makes this book unique for we would expect the writer filled the book with boring details that in no way affects the plot in Honoré De Balzac’s way. But, unsurprisingly it wasn’t the case, the book is thrilling and breath taking as it climbs towards the climax.

The Nazi system didn’t turn out to be as expected, in fact it somehow resembles the British system. Its society is organized: hospitals, nurses, fully equipped Fire-fighting department, City hall…

Deighton argues that the war could have been avoided easily: what would Hitler or Churchill have done if they didn’t have the blind support of the public? Governments shouldn’t decide the fate of men, people should be conscious of its acts. If they have, 50 million lives could have been spared.