One hundred and one years ago, Italian thinker Gramsci wrote an article about why he hates New Year’s Eve. A friend of mine sent me the article yesterday as both of us remained home troubled with the hyped energy everywhere, though we don’t think that it is a bad thing to have fun with loved ones, or to have a surge of possibilities and a fragile hint of hope in a clattered world, or even just to be mad whenever possible. However, we get what Gramsci meant when he talks about the loss of spiritual resonance with our collective dates. Gramsci says that New Year’s “Force us to lose sense of the continuity of life and life’s spirit.”
All this makes me think of Syria. After all what happened in the past five years in Syria, we more than anyone else, should realize and analyze the certainties that were descended to us from our ‘foolish ancestors,’ as Gramsci put it. What we accepted without questions took us all to a state of complete mess, a state where all we want is just to not to die, to a mere existence in the void of ethics and politics. Even our dates of collective joy were all descended and fixed by history, religion and authority, not one we made by our own will in our present. We even couldn’t agree on celebrating a date for the start of the uprising in Syria. Our collective actions are always hindered by ignorance and ego which always nulls our present. It is not just our fault, our government and society made sure this state endures.
A saying I read and embraced a while ago goes like this: “Hard times require furious dancing.” I have no doubt in the necessity of leisure and joy for a sustainable change, as long as it is yours and ours, our movement, our rhythm, our language and interpretation. For all the innocent Syrians suffering in prisons, refugees freezing and melting through seasons in tents between borders, lost souls looking for jobs and wresting the odds for new homes and lives, for those who are forced to fight by the regime or because the regime, those remained in Syria in medieval life conditions, we love and celebrate their enduring brave spirits, and their creative will to always find a way back to a dignified life. In this present, it is their time and their dates.
I am ending this short article with another part of Gramsci’s article: “I want every morning to be a new year for me. I want to evaluate my life every day and renew my life every day. No days budgeted for rest. I choose when to take a break, when I feel drunk with the intensity of life and I want to dive into my animalistic self to discover new energy. No false spirituality. I want every hour of my life to be new, always reconnecting with what has already happened. No day of jubilation with mandatory collective song shared with uninteresting strangers. Just because our grandparents and the grandparents of our grandparents had all of this jubilation, doesn’t mean we have to. It is nauseating.”