April fish, fools day , lying day , and social attitudes


By Tareq Neman

Your father is in hospital right now… a car ran over him when he was trying to stop a scrimmage between your brothers …. HAHAHA …. I am lying, nothing has happened.” “Lying … the first sin …. the ultimate danger; it destroys everything . When you discover that someone lies to you or lied to you, even if it was a joke or just for making fun, you will never respect him again. I am not ready to communicate with liars,” said Lamis al-Soufi (28 years old ). Salym Khoury (a teacher) said: “I teach children to be honest, to live without telling lies. All religions consider lying as a bad thing and a dangerous habit. As for me, I hate it when someone lies to me, but to be frank, I feel happy when someone I love lies to me. For example, my wife sometimes lies about issues concerning the house when she is trying to avoid me getting angry. I consider that as a kind of having respect.” Lying nowadays has become common and people are better able to accept liars than at old times; they give lies new names – a white lie, an April first lie, or lies for good purposes – and these names legitimize the sin. Nada Alkhous (a 25-years-old divorced woman): “I hate lying. I lie sometimes but I hate it when someone lies to me. I know it is crazy, but this is me. I can’t be honest all the time, but I can’t say big lies that could put someone’s life to danger. I lie to my friends about my clothes or my journeys or even about what I cooked. I have to, because I don’t like to be embarrassed in front of them. As you know, I am a divorced woman and I don’t want them to feel pity for me, so I lie … I think lying is a social need, it helps you to be in the position where others demand you to be.” Eyad Joumaa (a taxi driver): “Lying is everywhere. I don’t trust anyone talking about life. I drive all day and I meet many people; they tell me things no one would believe. I think they consider me as a passerby, so they talk freely and lie freely too. But I noticed something funny: every country has its own kind or style of lying. In Damascus for example, people lie about their financial situation and their heroic adventures in front of their girlfriends, superiors or even to their relatives. As for northern countries, they lie about their adventures in Damascus, how they discovered the secret streets of Damascus and how they defeated the greedy taxi drivers. Some people lie just to start a conversation; they don’t have communication skills or have a shallow life, so they create stories to kill time. By the way, I am a certificate holder in sociology, and we learned that lying is a disease.” G.P, a religious man, said: “Lies destroy the society. As we all know, the family is the main element in every community, because it prepares the offspring to develop and build the future. So when you lie, your children will find it good thing because you practice it. Our society is full of liars of all kind. They are lying about their stories, lying about their financial situations, lying about their health, and lying to steal money in a legal way, so it is a disease. Religions refuse and punish lairs because they build castles of paper or glass, fragile castles that tempt us to trust in them and depend on them to save us, but in seconds they vanish and leave us alone, naked in front of ourselves. I hope people understand the dangerous effects of lies even if it were for making fun. About the first day of April; I am not sure why everybody agreed that it is the day of lies, but as I read, this tradition started in the year 1582 in France, when Gregory, the Pope of that time, presented the new calendar for the world, the one we are using these days (the Gregorian calendar). The news spread all over the world, and the King of France Charles IX liked it and ordered all countries to follow the calendar. This calendar set the first of January as the first day of the year, instead of the first day of April. Some conservatives refused to use this new calendar and insisted to celebrate the New Year on the first day of April, so the rest used to make fun of them and send them false New Year gifts such as cakes cooked with salt and vinegar. This is why we call this day ‘lies day’ or ‘April Fool’s Day’. No matter the reason is, we should be careful. I think lies are spreading among us every second.” Khaled Kanaan, father of five children, said: “I taught my children that they should say the truth even if it will cause pain or disgrace; honesty wins in the end. I know that they will suffer because our society depends on lies, we lie to ourselves. I believe that the morality level in every society is related to the honest and fake stories that people spread. I see that we need serious plans to increase the awareness of lying in our society. I can’t imagine that the time we can’t believe each other has come. There are many kinds, or let us say lies are everywhere. When you go to a market or for shopping, you will discover that the prices are two times higher than the amount that you will pay in the end, and the seller will tell you that the product is made in a certain country, to find out afterwards that it is not. I believe that lying is not the fault of the lair; we as society demand and/or expect it. We respect those who have specific features or we expect from others to be unique and superior in things, so we lie to be accepted by others. I try my best to control myself and stop my tong from telling lies. If I am home and someone I don’t know calls me, I won’t tell my children to say “my father is not here” or “he’s in the bathroom”; I’ll talk to him. I don’t tell my children that I will do something for them the next day if I don’t want to do it. Such simple things could plant the deadly seeds of lies into our children’s minds.” Dr. Bassam Sabagh said: “Lying is a need. People lie because they feel they are not complete. Humans are the only creatures that can lie, so it is a unique feature we can’t get rid of it. There are many kinds of lies. In the society of Syria we can classify them as lies to complete personality, lies for good purposes, or lies for fun. The most dangerous kind is lying to be existent, as I noticed there are huge numbers of people around us who just lie, without purposes and with no goals. They are just telling lies and trying to gain the benefits of their lies, whatever they are. Researchers have defined lying as an act that can make the liar feel comfortable and satisfied. It psychologically saves him and provides him with a shield. When a person is young lying protects him from punishment. When he gets older the principle of lying remains the same, but the results differ; lying protects adults from being blamed or embarrassed, or provides them with ways to have more and more benefits and cheat others. Here, I have to explain something. We shouldn’t differentiate between cheating lies and peaceful lies as all lies are bad and cause pain. I hope and dream that one day people will know how lies can destroy society. Lies are the silent killer of every society. We should fulfil others’ needs to stop them from lying.” April Fool’s, or the lie of the first of April, or whatever it is; a lie is a lie. Others hate us when we lie and we hate others when they lie to us, but no one can stop lying or can stop blaming others for lying. So, we have two choices: to stop lying and live a happy, honest life, or to keep lying without trusting each other, and we will turn into a hazardous society, expecting the unexpected.


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