A piece of peace

“They couldn’t beat up his soul”. I keep repeating this to myself, because I need to find a part of this man which hasn’t been tortured. A piece of peace.
I was told his story a few days ago, and now that his wife is telling it again, I keep searching for an intact, pure part in this man.
I’m looking for a tiny fragment of peace, an untainted space, a fertile and uncontaminated soil.
At night, I cannot sleep because of the heavy rain tapping on the tent, and I keep thinking over him, and I keep searching for a silent and intact part in his story.
He was freed from prison after 6 years, and arrived in Lebanon a few weeks ago. But Lebanon doesn’t want him now, he could be arrested anytime and “deported to Syria in 4 hours”, as a recently approved Lebanese law states.
Six years ago, he was separated from his wife, pregnant with their first child, he was arrested, beaten up, isolated in a dark room, and he could only breathe violence, eat violence, experience violence for 6 years.

Another volunteer spoke to me about him, and also his wife, who is asking for help, because she doesn’t know how to support her husband now that he is free, she doesn’t know how to teach him to live in a country where he is not free to move, she doesn’t know how to “heal his heart, which cannot tell the difference between love and fear”, as a Syrian friend of ours would say.
I’ve seen the eyes of his six years old son, who cries when his father tries to hug him because he cannot recognize him.
Tonight I’m sitting across from him. He has round eyes and a thousand-yard stare on his face, his big hands are covered in cigarette burns, he is a stout man, but he looks like a child when he moves.
His body is ruined, there are furrows on his head too, because he has been beaten so many time in prison, he says.
I keep searching for that part of him which has not been touched by violence, a tooth is missing from his smile.
His smile is gone, too.
He hardly ever smiles.
He smiles only when we tell him that our favourite Syrian village is his own one, and we would like to go there, one day.
Violence has touched him everywhere, he was beaten everywhere, but nobody got to his soul.
Soul cannot be beaten.
He tells us that he kept repeating the names of his beloved ones in his cell, he still remembers them all. He repeats all their names. This is the intact piece within this man, the clean part, the soil to be cultivated.
They cannot beat the soul, only the body. There’s a place no torturer can reach. Our body preserves this precious place. The intact piece within this man has become very tiny to survive, but it exists, this violated body still preserves within itself a tiny intact piece where he can find the names of his beloved ones, of those who kept him alive.
I would like to see the intact piece of every person, the hidden soul in each violated body, I would like everyone to be free, so as not to have their intact piece become so tiny.
Beating and violence shrink our soul, but there will always be this piece of peace within us, and there will always be a way to preserve it and see it, no matter how tiny it becomes.
I can’t stop thinking about this, I’m trying to spot this piece of peace in each act of violence, in each tragedy and in each pain.
I can’t always spot it, but I’m still trying.
The Peace Proposal taught me how to do this: to create peace, I need to be that peace, in order to create a humanitarian safe zone, I need to be that safe zone. I’m looking for a safe zone within each person here, I’m looking for it in my huge efforts, my pain, my anger. I’m looking for it among the other volunteers with whom I’m sharing my life, I’m looking for it because I can’t stand these people’s mutilated surfaces, their tortured bodies, so I need to go deeper, moving between their broken bones and their pains in order to reach their real soul, their deepest humanity.
I’m looking for god within these people and within me, I’m looking for the safe zone in their tragedies and everyday troubles.
I have learned it on my skin, that if you stay only on the surface, you’ll only suffer, because you’ll only see death, pain and foolishness. I don’t want this. I want to live fully, so I prefer to dive deeper in these people’s tragedies, in my darkest me, because I know that over there I can find a fertile soil, over there there’s our piece of peace. Our safe zone.