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Reih

 

Reih (which means wind in Arabic) is a character that moves around, transforms across time. Nothing stands in the way of this character, neither walls nor boundaries. Reih does not differentiate between now, yesterday or tomorrow, or between here and there. Nor does Reih worry about being a child, an old man, or a woman, or even of turning into a stone, a rabbit or a tree. This is how Reih resembles everyone.


Reih’s Transformations

A severe draught hit the earth and it was emptied of its inhabitants. Our friend Reih was suffering from great hunger after devouring everything at home, after eating his home. So he left in search of food because Reih loved life and refused to die of starvation.
"There’s nothing to eat", was the result of a three-day search.
Two days later, Reih was still hungry. Three days later Reih got hungrier. He felt something nibbling at his body. He got so hungry that he transformed himself into a hungry cat wandering the city's alleys looking for a small piece of meat or a lost baby mouse. But in vain.
The next day, Reih the cat got much hungrier, so he changed into a small mouse to save on food because he discovered what greedy eaters cats can be. Reih the small mouse searched for a piece of cheese, a grain of wheat. But all in vain.
Two days later, Reih the mouse was so hungry that he decided to turn into a cockroach. But he quickly changed his mind and became an ant instead because he knew how lazy the cockroach society became when it searched for food.
Reih the ant entered the ant colonies where his new ant friends lived. He wandered the corridors only to find them all empty, abandoned, as if the ants left in search of a new location.
Many days and nights passed in futile search for a grain of wheat or barley, or remnants of animal dung. Then our friend Reih decided to transform himself into an idea, because he refused to die hungry and because he wanted to be immortal.


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Reih's Dreams

After a long absence, he returned to his hometown carrying an empty suitcase, and a head full of dreams and ideas that he wanted to make come true as soon as he arrived.
It took him many months to settle down and become familiar once again with the city he no longer knew and in which he wondered how he would spend the rest of his life.
He slept and he awoke. He sat and he stood. He thought of creating a life for himself. Questions took him to and fro, but he never arrived at any answers; and time passed.
Finally Reih decided to work as a journalist; it's a very courageous profession. But he immediately changed his mind after learning that newspapers end up in the hands of cleaners or as table cloths at meal times.
Then he decided to work as an artist; it's a very creative profession. But he soon changed his mind after learning that he would end up eating his finished artworks.
He liked the idea of writing, so he decided to become a man of letters. Moments later he retracted his decision because he saw how many people end up soaking their writings and drinking the water.
Days passed and dreams diminished. Our friend was seen in the alleys of the old city, pushing a cart full of oranges, crying his wares and announcing that grape season will be upon us soon.

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Reih the Prisoner, Reih the Warden

Yes, I'll devour all you have. Put the food here and leave. Don't forget to lock the door behind you. And of course, as usual, you'll do everything I ask you to do.
You're here to serve me, by force. My life is precious to you. You feed me at my command. You serve me at my command. I'll eat plenty and I'll eat all the time, and you'll serve me plenty all the time.
You enjoy torturing me, pulling off my fingernails, burning my skin. It doesn’t matter. I'll even eat stones and I'll live so that you can either serve me or set me free.
That was what came to old man Reih’s mind as he sat in his small room and looked at the dove in its cage. How was he the prisoner and how has he now become the warden? He remembered how he was able to cleverly obtain his freedom.
"How can this bird repeat what I myself did ten years ago?" Reih asked himself.
This bird is permanently hungry, permanently thirsty. And Reih no longer enjoyed seeing him like this in the cage. Has he become his servant?
A few days later Reih set the bird free and unburdened himself of its troubles. It was at that moment that he learned that history always repeats itself.

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Reih, the Last One Left

When the earth overflowed with living creatures, and it was packed with visitors of all races, creeds and religions. When they all drowned it with their ideas and their secretions, and when the earth’s population exceeded six billion and one, the Association of Collective Suicide opened its doors in an effort to reduce the pain and suffering of this earth’s inhabitants.
The statistics officer at the association told us that the number of affiliates reached exactly six billion; they need only one more to reach one hundred per cent affiliation. The search is still on for this single person who is not affiliated to the association.

Translation by: Fadwa Al Qasem


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