In Search of Safe Haven, I Escaped It

Esra’ AlNaggar
Editor – In -Chief

I prepared my luggage and headed to the station with my family. This time there was no going back. I had a very blurred, somehow defected image of the land I was born in (and to), yet a weird sensation of loss showered me as I crossed its border for one last time. It was hard to leave the place I knew and the people I grew up with, but to give up the hope of a better future far away from that war-torn land was even harder.

The journey was quite long. I did not spend it reading or enjoying the landscape but, rather, recollecting my dreams from under the rubble. A lot they were and buried too deep, but I dug anyway. This was a new start and the effort was worth it: the idea of having finally escaped the land, where dreams rarely come true, filled me with hope.

I made it to the other land. I was happy to have been finally saved from a vicious fire. This was something new and beautiful…and safe; I was going to sleep tonight.

The lights burnt my eyes – these eyes that were so used to the dimness of the land I knew. The journey from the station to The New House was even longer. Everything was different; the people, the buildings, the air, and the sky. The mountains that surrounded me for as long as I remember were no longer there. I felt exposed and insecure and in its open air, I was suffocating.

The New House came to vision; it was one of those skyscrapers with such fine architecture and stones that smelled “rich”. Beautiful, no doubt, but something was not right. A dreadful sensation filled me, and what started as a whisper grew louder and louder until it became deafening. It screamed over and over again, ‘This is not home!’ I tried to escape the shrieks and turned my head towards the street, again, and through the car glass; it was all there, imprisoned in my reflection.

I saw the Old City of Sana’a with its fascinating shops and architecture. I walked on the shores of Aden and AlHodeidah and felt them carry away my pains and bring back new hopes. I stood before the ferocious mountains of Taiz, feeling so small yet huge with pride. I saw the waterfalls of AlMahweet and the countryside of Ibb that seemed like a European piece of Land on Yemeni soil. I smelled the coffee aroma of Haraz, carried with the taste of Sa’ada’s pomegranate. Mesmerized, I saw the first civilization in the Peninsula emerging from Ma’areb. I enjoyed the shade in Hadhramout as its palms kneeled to hand me the ripest of dates. And from a distance, I heard the bees of Shabwa actively manufacturing the best of honeys in the world. The breeze of Thamar then calmed me and put all my anxieties and fears to an eternal sleep. I, then, felt the motherly caress of Lahj corwning me with a necklace of flowers. And in Socotra, I was overwhelmed with all the plants and sea animals that were so exclusively hers.

I then saw the people, wrinkled with pain, fear, and anxiety, yet calm and peaceful as if nothing could possibly go wrong. I saw their simplicity and how the modern material world has failed to deform it. I saw how they believed in a hopeful tomorrow, full of sunshine, despite the darkness of the night. I saw their youth sweating as they rebirthed a new Yemen, one that embraces us all, simple and educated. I saw them watching my dreams resurrect in every form and shape. I saw children playing in the streets, holding tightly to their dreams–a grip stronger than mine ever was. I finally saw the women raising a new generation, solid and honest; dedicated only to loving and defending the land that was so perfectly flawed.

I saw her then. Emerging from the debris, her scars and blood-covered skin shone with a beauty that surpassed all its likes. Broken, she stood, kneeling on her children. And I was among them.

One thought

  1. This is a beautiful essay, mesmerizing and tantalizing which kept me on my toes
    It made feel as if l am on a beautiful cruise anxious and full f anticipation for the next port of call. And last but not least it offered

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