Syrian Proverb

--Informant Info--
Nationality: Syrian
Age: 19
Occupation: Student
Residence: California
Date of Performance/Collection: 4/10/2019
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s): Arabic

الشخص الذي لايخدم أسرته ليس جيدا لاحد

Transliteration: Al sha’s al ladi la ehdm asratah lees jeidam la ahd

Translation: “One who has no good for his family has no good for anyone.”

Context of proverb: This proverb represents the importance of family and familial ties in Syrian culture. It also reflects the desired morality that is meant to be promulgated, one of being a general goodness and loyalty.


 

The interlocutor recalled this proverb due to extent to which older family members have said it, hoping to instill or impart some knowledge on the younger members of his family, including himself. He mentioned that this particular proverb is used especially during times of conflict within the family, especially within the conflicts that naturally arise in sibling relationships.

Because one must enact their vernacular authority in order to grant another person with a bit of wisdom, the giver of the proverb is usually an older person with much more life experience and their own fair share of wisdom to give. One grows into the social role in which they are allowed and even expected to give advice to family members and the community in general. In the case of this specific proverb, the supposed elder is imparting the message that one must first be good within the limits of family members, and that goodness will translate toward others outside of the family. Through this, a sense of expected righteous virtue is promulgated throughout the community.