Rage Against the Machine Day 2 by Levantine

Pistol Shots at the Past

By Levantine aka Batool Zalkha of Levant Woman


The life you have lived doesn’t matter, what really matters is the story you tell about your life…

I convinced myself that I could invent my past, and go on as if nothing happened – as if I didn’t live in a country where brothers killed each other in a civil war, as if I didn’t lose my beloved one with a bullet to the neck… I moved to another country where my new friends know nothing about him or about the tragic stories I could tell. I go out for a drink with them in the evenings and when they talk about their breakups I listen and don’t think of what happened one day in September.

I wrote a script about my life that I recite every time someone asks a private question; I deleted some events of my real life, and added others. I believe that you really can invent your past and this is not like lying to people, it is a conspiracy against memories and the way they try and haunt us in images of the past.

However, I wasn’t like this at the beginning of the war. At first, I wanted to write every small feeling I had and keep them until the war ended, so I could go back to my old memories and think of how strong I was.  Unfortunately, the war doesn’t end in places like my country.

I think that my biggest mistake was that I framed my feelings of pitying myself, feeling sorry for everything, and my rage! Rage on life, on God, on this world, on weapons, on the bullet that found its way to him, and on every explosion in the city. I framed those feelings sometimes in a word, a sentence, or a photo with a caption and I added them on facebook. I still don’t know why I shared them! Did I want to collect people’s pities in the shape of likes? Or was it a way of saying out loud that I was hurt and I needed help? I still don’t know the purpose.

Now, Facebook reminds me every day of what I wrote in a day like this in October five years ago in 2012. It reminds me of my suicidal thoughts that I had signs for in my FB statuses. In a day like this, five years ago, I shared a Spanish poem for Jorge Luis Borges called “Ausencia,” or absence in English, and I felt every line of it and every word of pain it expressed. It also reminded me that last year in the same day I went hiking with my friends and I was very happy… trying to say that life goes on… Did I really need to see or remember this? Rasul Gamzatuv said: “If you fire at the past from a pistol, The future will shoot back from a cannon.” So make peace with your past don’t just bury it, otherwise Facebook will push it back to your sight every time you try to look away…

Now, I am a new person, or I’d like to believe so. I work in humanitarian assistance and try to lead a relatively balanced life, but in my job, I face people who sometimes leave me speechless, people who leave me standing face to face with my past, with God, and with my rage.

Yesterday, a woman came to us and said she didn’t want to ask for anything, she just wanted to share her pain. Her voice was deep and the wrinkles on her face looked like the terrains of a deserted land. I felt like hugging her before even hearing what she had to say. I wanted to say that I can feel her pain before she said anything, but then I could’t say anything, I couldn’t lie and say that I felt her pain. She showed us a YouTube video of an airstrike where you can see body parts everywhere. I was shocked. What was she trying to say?

“Those body parts belong to my daughter and my husband” said the woman…



Once up on a time in a kingdom fa.. Oh sorry not in a kingdom , in some kind of republic or an ex-republic there lived a princes.. oh sorry just a normal girl like any one you may ever knew .. she is not a writer but she likes to write sometimes.




Written for Rage Against the Machine Month.  If you’d like to be a part of the challenge, find more information Here.   But first, leave a comment and let Levantine know what you think about her words, and be sure to visit her over at Levant Woman when you’re done.


About the author

Once up on a time in a kingdom fa.. Oh sorry not in a kingdom , in some kind of republic or an ex-republic there lived a princes.. oh sorry just a normal girl like any one you may ever knew ..
she is not a writer but she likes to write sometimes.


  1. Thank you for contributing this powerful piece to this series, Levantine. I read many of your earlier posts, and I always wished that I could do something to make you feel better. I knew, of course, that there was nothing I could say, except that it was good to hear from you (that told me that you were still alive) and that I keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

    I haven’t gotten notices of any recent posts, so I’m going to visit your place and make sure we are connected going forward.

    1. whatever you said or commented is more than enough dear 🙂 the heart warming thoughts i have received here helped me and gave much of the positive energy I needed <3

  2. Your writing gives me the same feeling that the old woman gave to you. I want to be able to give you a hug and say I understand, but I know that I can’t and so I’m always left speechless…

  3. I agree with Dan and Sreejit. I am always moved when you share the things that have happened to you and to those you love. It is important that we “hear” what you have to say. You say you aren’t a writer. I disagree with that. I think you are a gifted writer with an important story to share.

    1. I was like, where does she say she’s not a writer, and had to search the document and saw that it was in the bio. But that bio is years old, I think she’d agree that she’s a writer now! Or even if she doesn’t, we can all agree that she definitely is a great writer and storyteller.

    2. Dear Karuna.. when i first started to write i didn’t have any experience, and I was not confident that people will want to read 🙂 those nice thoughts of yours and other friends makes me more confident about sharing more <3 love and peace

  4. This is so moving.. I agree with “If you fire at the past from a pistol, The future will shoot back from a cannon.” Such a wise and thoughtful image. The shades of pain and woe are heart-wrenching here.. sometimes we write down our feelings as we can no longer bear their burden… and are reminded of the pain .. fresh as it was back then.. when we read what we had written. And though it hurts to be reminded of those memories .. I feel that we can draw positivity from the fact that we have survived those moments and become stronger with the passage of time.

    Thank you so much for sharing, Batool. Wishing you health and happiness.

  5. Yes, your post left me speechless, too. The old woman…..the bullet that took your beloved. Bravo that you work in humanitarian relief, the best possible tribute to the one you lost, turning your pain into empathy and support for others who are hurting. Life is amazingly hard and I cannot imagine the strength and courage it took to get you from five years ago to today but I applaud you for it.

  6. I’m speechless! Your writing is superb, by the way…you write from the heart; you are real and what you share is raw and so foreign to someone like me who has led such a sheltered life. I wish I could hug you to…we are great huggers here in Montreal. Blessings.

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