Opinion: ‘Forgotten as you never were,’ a story of a forsaken photo

“Forgotten, as if you never were

a person, or a text … forgotten…

Forgotten, as if you never were
news, or a trace … forgotten”

I could not help but remember those very words of the famous Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish when walking down the street a couple of days ago I found an old photo thrown on the ground along with pebbles and dead leaves pushed by the eagerness of new greener ones yearning for the lively spring.

Forsaken as old monuments at night, I found a bunch of family photos on the ground, I picked one and looked up to see if there was someone near who mistakenly dropped them. I scanned the empty street  for their owner, but no one appeared. Looking at the black and white photo, I saw what seemed to be a family, a group of men, a woman and children. On their faces, there was a smile, an aspiration for the future, there was love and life.

I wondered who could have dropped these photos, is it someone who bought an apartment and was getting rid of the old tenants’ possessions, or is it a family member who inherited them and decided to cast aside the burden of his heritage, or maybe some person was moving them and dropped them by mistake and would come back to look diligently for them.

Whatever reason there was, I doubt the people on the photo knew that there will come a day when a complete stranger will run by their likeness, a stranger who lives in a different era, who has hopes and dreams probably similar to theirs, a stranger who will one day be dead too; they never knew that after their death (I’m assuming they are dead because the photo is so old, maybe not all of them are dead), they would be forgotten in an empty street as if they never were, as if they never lived, never loved, never existed, never were!

“It was all ephemeral as a rainbow,” as Virginia Woolfe once said, this is life and one should remember that it is so short like changing leaves, what remains is only a trace.

The people in the photo must have had a life in which they had families, friends and acquaintances, and for this reason I decided to pay attribute to them, hoping that one day if a complete stranger runs by my forsaken photo would pay respect to the memory of a fellow human who has once lived.

I cannot find a better quote to reflect what I want to say better than Rumi’s “This being human is a guest house. Every morning is a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor…Welcome and entertain them all. Treat each guest honorably. The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in. Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.”

The content of opinion articles are the responsibility of their authors and do not reflect the editorial policy of The Cairo Post.

Recommend to friends

Leave a comment