Rana Bohsali – 12 January 2017

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“I had no expectations. Thankfully, I am glad I had no preconceptions of the author whilst reading “The Bees Road”. I knew nothing, I was ignorant of millions of facts, yet somehow I felt as though I walked down Rami’s road before. The book withheld events that shocked me, provoked me, angered me, insulted me, offended me in ways I am still trying to understand. Nevertheless, it also enlightened me, sympathized with me, eased away my pains, and accompanied my thoughts.

I hated the protagonist. I hated him because of his pride. I hated him with every inch of my existence, because of everything he first believed in and everything he first did. I grew up in my own little circle. I, a Muslim girl, in a Christian environment and a Christian school, grew up with mixed emotions and thoughts regarding religion. I grew up amongst racism, yet both religions were portrayed to me in a heavenly way. I never knew of extreme Islamism till I turned 19, and I never quite understood the Party’s ways. I hated “Rami” who used a knife on his sister in the name of Islam, who disobeyed his parents and saw his mother drown in tears. I hated him in a brutal way, to an extent I wanted to choke him, but instead I choked on my own memories. I too have hurt my parents. I too have abused my own mother, mentally, emotionally, physically. I have hit her before, out of insanity, and the guilt still eats me up. I hated Rami because he was honest about these things, about the pain he brought upon his family, because no one is ever that honest about such issues. No one owns up to the mistakes they’ve committed growing up. No one even speaks of the horrid ways they’ve let gown their parents. I hated him because of how he took every cent of his parents’ finances for his own education and ideas. I hated him, because I too happen to have done that. However, I do not speak of it. I never had the courage to tell anyone that my parents almost lost every dollar they had for my education, because nowadays people mock you instead of listen to you. I struggled with my education at AUB. I struggled to keep a high record so that I would be granted financial aid, and Rami just took my story and wrote it. I hated him for that.

I hated Rami, because I envied him for his openness and his ability to write it all on paper. Whereas I barely made it to the psychiatrist, outsmarted her, and made her believe I was at a happy place. I did that because I hated psychiatric visits, and the place depressed me even more. It was more comfortable addressing some of my troubles during our meeting, than when I had to speak up before a somewhat narrow-minded psychiatrist.

In Rami, I saw a lot of people whom I’ve encountered over the years. I saw my parents in him, my uncle who died in the war at the age of 14, the egoistic people who I hated, the people I’ve loved, the people that abandoned me, the people I’ve abandoned. I saw every heartache I’ve ever lived. I saw in him every guy I’ve ever wanted to murder, and every guy my sanity tried to keep me way from. I saw in him the very guy I wanted but lost, and the very guy I wanted to hold tight. In Rami, I saw myself, which confused me. I hated him, because he mirrored me. I did not expect to find any hint of similarities between me and him, hence the shock when I my eyes fell upon certain things. I was a bit angered with the outcome, which controlled my attitude after a day of solely reading the book. I refused to have a decent chat with anyone, and I was sitting as though waiting for someone to fight with me. I wanted to unleash the waves of surprise I had bestowed upon myself.

Rami freed himself from issues, refused to live anything that isn’t true to himself. He had a clear message, he knew what he wanted, he worked hard, and he never gave up. Rami portrayed a warrior, a crazy warrior with idealistic dreams. Though I hated his guts for all the wrongs he had done, along the way I grew fond of him. He earned my respect, but I dare not say that too often, for I do not wish to infuse his already inflated pride. Rami let go of the Party, but aren’t we all somehow living in our own “Parties”? Though each Party differs, some are mental Parties, emotional, intellectual, societal, personal, etc… Aren’t we all victims of ideas and influences that controlled our lives? Aren’t we all like Rami trying to flee our past and trying to change? If Rami succeeded, then I can as well. I am stuck in my own Party. I am a puppet to the puppeteers. I try to fly away, only to get my wings crushed, only to be pulled back by the strings, only to be broken. Given Rami’s story, trying to break from a flock, trying to stand out and be heard, no matter how hard, still counts for something.

However, his pride disgusted me the most. I hate people who are full of pride. But for him to take pride in dragging his own brother into the Party is just absurd. How could he take pride in such a thing that only broke his family further?!

What angered me the most was his ability to love. It shocked me. It really did. How can someone who grew up amidst cold hearted beings, who refused to see women other than sexual objects, fall in love?!!!!!! I was fed up with him and his pleasure marriages. Whenever a girl’s name popped up, my first thought would be “how long before I read that they agreed on a pleasure marriage”. He even got the whole concept wrong. I hated him. But I was also confused. He used to shy away from expressing his feelings, yet he was blunt when offering the “pleasure marriage” deal. He had emotions and he cried at times, yet he was so stone-cold when faced with the possibility of having feelings for a woman. He refused the idea of public display affection on campus, yet it was okay for him to go and have sex even if the girl is a virgin. Whenever I read parts that spoke of his feelings and love and all that, I wanted to wake him up. I did not want Rami to repeat my mistakes. He was fooling around, yearning for affection, trying to conceal his emotions towards Hanadi by meeting others. I wanted to wake him up, because he again reminded me of my ways. Not only did I envy Rami at times, but I envied those that caught his interest. For who would catch the eye of such an eccentric man? He’s the bad guy that every girl wishes he’d be good to her. He’s the heartbreaker, but in his own way. It made me smile, that under all that fuss about pleasure marriage and fleeing from commitment, he was a warrior of love. I am a hopeless romantic. An extremist of love. A passionate lunatic. Hence his casual short affair with Hanadi, softened my view of him. But I dare not mention my fondness of him too often, for once again his pride would be inflated.

I am still filled with emotions and thoughts regarding the entire journey. But with all the confusion, shock, hatred, love, admiration, envy, I do need to thank Rami.”

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