I was still awake trying to write this article about love, excited and afraid at the same time. Excited, because LOVE is always my hot topic as I believe that all that human beings need is love, but it seems that we need more than this.

At midnight, in my bed and my mobile phone in my hand, checking up my social media. I was about to grab the glass of water on the bedside table a WhatsApp message popped on my mobile phone.


09 May 2016, 3 minutes after midnight:

x: I miss you. 

If you knew how much I loved you, you would never think of leaving me.

This message shocked me and took sleep away. I did not know how to reply, but after 40 minutes I did.


Me: I didn’t leave you; I left my home.

x: I was your home.



 sorry no it was a joke 😀



x: you know? Let’s play a game. Let’s talk like I am Syria, your home.

&  I will ask you a few questions, and you have to answer.

Me: I like the idea, but I have one condition.

x: Tell me.

Me: I ask you questions too, and you need to answer as Syria, my home.

You are still in Syria, Damascus, and I guess that you know the answers to the following questions.

x: Deal.

x: Why did you leave me?

Me: A big question, but I will answer.

I was not born to be a soldier 

x: Why not, you had to defend me.

Me: They did not want me to defend you; they wanted me to kill your sons and daughters, your children.


x: But they’re already dying every day. 

Me: But I am not the killer, or at least I don’t witness? the scenes of death.

x: You are so hard.

Me: I am afraid.

x: Do you miss me?

Me: So much.

x: What do you miss?

Me: I miss your mornings, the sun on my face when I am still in bed, the smell of Syrian coffee coming from all windows, balconies, and my mother’s kitchen of course.

x: What else?

Me: When I throw the basket down from the window to the vegetable seller, I  used to put a paper inside the basket, written on the paper was all that I needed for the day.


Tomatoes from Daraa, 

Melon from Reef Dimashq, 

Okra from Deer Ezzor 

and grapes from Sowaydaa.

x: You sound hungry, all you are talking about is coffee and food.

Me: No, I am not hungry, but I don’t feel satisfied.

x: Good to hear that you are not hungry, because my sons here are hungry, especially those who are under siege.


I miss you too.

Me: What do you miss about me?

x: The mornings, when you wake up and turn on the radio when Fairouz sings. and you go to work, and you start your morning show on the radio and say GOOD MORNING SYRIA.

Do you know? I stopped listening to the radio after you left.




It is not about you; the radio stopped being for music; it became a device to mourn people.

Only sad and bad news, the radio became a platform for politicians to lie.

Me: stop, stop, don’t tell me this, I know that.

x: I know, but I wanted you to read it.

Me: I don’t believe that you love me.

x: If I don’t, why am I texting you?

Me: because you are feeling alone?

x: And what about you?



Me: I am still in love with you.

x: I know.

Me: You look confident.

x: I am. I was your partner, and I know how you think.

Me: Sorry, you are breaking the rules of the game, the idea is that you are writing as my home, not as my ex.

x: I don’t break the rules. I am your ex-home; you are starting a new relationship with a different country, isn’t that the truth?



x: What are you telling your new partner about me?

Me: about your love. I know that nobody loved me like you.

x: Sorry, you are breaking the rules now.

Me: no.

x: excuse me, homelands cannot talk, how did you know how much I loved you? As a country 😉

Me: since I left you and I lack love.

x: 😦

me: Goodnight.

(last seen of my ex 09 May 02:45 am)

On the 14 May 19:17 pm.

me: Hey my homeland, could I publish our conversation?

x: You’ll never change, Journalist effffff

me: hahhahaha

x: An Article or programme?

Me: Article.

x: What will you name the article? I am curious to know.



Khaled Alesmael


Published in Artikel14 magazine in Spring 2016.

Published by Khaled Alesmael

KHALED ALESMAEL is a multi-awarded journalist, author and sometimes filmmakers. He worked in Syria and the Middle-East for more than fifteen years, was the correspondent for Radio France International/ Arabic from Damascus and the media officer for the risk reduction project/ UNDP Damascus. In 2012, he escaped the war and continued his career in the media in Egypt and Turkey. He apply for asylum in Sweden in 2014 and he got it and became a Swedish citizen in 2018. His works have appeared in the prestigious investigative programs Investigative Mission/ SVT and Conflict Program/ Swedish Radio, and he has been writing for several newspapers and magazines like Ottar in Stockholm and Newstatesman magazine in London. He has also worked for the daily German newspaper as a visiting journalist through the International Journalist Program. He became a Swedish citizen in 2018, and he lives in London now. Selamlik is his debut novel; it came out in August 2018. It has got considerable attention in the Swedish media and positively reviewed: "Selamlik is a prospective classic, a low-key melancholy, and grand book." - Dagens Nyheter “He reminds me of Jean Genet, as brutal as helplessly romantic”. The legendary Swedish gay writer Jonas Gardell for Expressen. “A magnificent account of the Syrian disaster" Sydsvenskan. "Selamlik glances at gates to other worlds" JP. "Khaled Asmael's debut novel about a man's escape from the Damascus gay scene to a refugee center in Europe glides imperceptibly between fantasy, nightmare, and reality" Göteborg Posten.

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