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“Now he can hear, silence is so beautiful.”

A short film made by Sonova shows Abdel’s delight as he enjoys a trip out in the Mount Lebanon mountain range. The Syrian refugee boy’s hearing aids have made him a part of the world that surrounds him with all its wonderful sounds. Author Nadja Einzmann was caught up in Abdel’s enchantment and has transformed it into poetry.

Silence can be so beautiful. It can be as beautiful as the birdsong in this secret garden in the mountains of Lebanon, as beautiful as the hum of the bees feasting on the rockrose and spurge blossom, as beautiful as the scent of the conifers, or the path, strewn with pine needles beneath his feet, and the view from the peaks down into the valley. Now he can hear, silence is so beautiful – now it’s the silence between one birdcall and the next, now the bees, having noiselessly rummaged for nectar among the petals, are taking to the air again in an exuberant buzzing cloud, apparently as entranced by this unique day as he is. It seems to him that everything ought to be in the mood for celebration on a day like today, as if the bark itself were singing beneath his fingers, as if the path were alive with vibrations and the little bridge beneath his feet as animated as a violin bowed by a maestro performer. There is nothing here, absolutely nothing, to remind him of Beirut – although it can only be about an hour away, down there by the sea – nothing here to remind him of how it was back then, in Syria, where the silence could sometimes feel as menacing as the slight tremble you could sense in the walls, or as troubling as the expression on his mother’s drawn face. Today, this garden has become his fairytale hideaway, a place in which he would love to lose himself, where the bees collect their honey for little pixies and the leaves beneath his feet crackle with such promise, as if they were harboring  a wealth of secrets as yet untold.


The author, Nadja Einzmann, who was born in 1974 and now lives in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, has published poetry and two volumes of short stories.

Her tales explore feelings both great small, and her sensitively crafted portraits shine a light not only on the lives of those around us, but also on our own lives – and life itself.

"Abdel is still so young and has been through so much. The fact that he has lost none of his openness and enthusiasm, despite everything, is truly remarkable.”