August 29, 2006

An unscheduled Visitor

A. came by . He said : " I am concerned . What is happening to you ? ".
He sat down . Lit his cigarette and inhaled deeply . "Do you realize that your writings, your paintings, your poetry , everything about you has become so depressing." He ranted on ...
"Come on , snap out of it , it is not all bad ...".

Meanwhile , a song was playing on the local radio station :

"There is death around me
I scream , no one hears me...
How can I sing when I have no voice
I want to sing for those who cannot sing
I want to sing for those who
have forgotten how to celebrate...
Who is it that wages war in the name of Man
and declares it in the name of God
when they sold God long ago.
Who has turned this earth to a desolate place
and keeps stabbing it till
the stabs reach the Soul ...
There are wounds ...
and the worst wounds are those of the Soul
I want to sing for the people
who have no one
I want to sing for the children
who were never children
Tell me how to sing when I have no voice..."

The music stopped . I asked : " How do you like your coffee, one or two sugars " ?
I handed him his cup , sat down and listened to the silence separating us .

The Crucified Boy and his Resurrection

The other day , I received a book of drawings. Children from 191 countries contributed to it with their drawings. The title was :"the world as I see it ".

I looked at each and every single picture . Some of them were colorful and happy and others depicted blood,war and dead bodies . I wanted to see what Iraqi children contributed . I searched the book carefully and I found nothing . Not even a trace of a crayon .
I remember during the sanction years against the people of Iraq , pencils were forbidden . Children had stopped drawing during those years . At least those who were able to survive the embargo.

I closed the book and closed my eyes and asked the children of Iraq if they wanted me to draw something in their place since they were so conspicuously absent from the 191 countries .
They agreed and lent me their brushes and paint .

I suddenly had a flashback. A dream I had about 6 months prior to the second Gulf War .

I dreamt of a young Iraqi boy , being held by two american GI's and uplifted to be crucified on a cross. They nailed him to the cross and walked away . I woke up choking . I said to myself , they tortured the children of Iraq now they will crucify them .

The boy is now resurrected and is guiding my pen .

He is asking me to draw him crucified on a old rotting wooden cross . He tells me that he wants the background to be filled with over one million skeletons of dead babies with Ms.Allbright smiling on top of them . He is asking me to draw newborns with grosteque deformities due to depleted uranium. He is urging me not to forget the starving looking babies due to malnutrition . He is making sure I paint the children who have cancer because of american chemical weapons , queuing up in desolate hospitals .And he has not forgotten the children who survived in tattered clothes with their tattered textbooks walking barefoot to school .

Oh wait , he is also telling me to draw in the corner , a picture of the orphanage bombed during the war of liberation and he is making sure that I show the kids running in the streets desperate with nowhere to go - some kidnapped, some sold whilst others raped .

I asked him if he wanted me to add anything . He said the picture is almost complete . "What shall I call it ?" , I asked . He replied : "the World as I see it ".

August 20, 2006

Turning Reality into Nightmares

I awoke this morning with a dreadful "nightmare" .
I dreamt I was trapped in some building somewhere in some Arab country - it looked like Beirut but could have been anywhere else . Three loud explosions rocked the whole building and the neighborhood . It felt like an eartquake . I looked from the window and I saw oil and blood gushing out, covering the asphalt street .
Then I saw myself running towards a very "modern" building which looked like the United Nations . I walked through endless corridors to be greeted by a corporate looking secretary. On the walls were posters of war zones and UN "relief" work. I met the "man in charge".
He was sitting behind an empty shiny polished desk in a dim dull room . All I remember seeing were high tech computers and several telephones. I tried to explain to him what happened . He kept cutting me short to correct my english pronounciation . I remember him telling me:" It is very important that our reports come out with no grammatical errors ".
I understood sitting in that office that this UN official did not give a damn about my plight, all he cared about were his "correct English" reports .
I saw myself again walking through endless corridors on whose walls hung endless posters of war zones , I kept walking and walking desperately trying to find my way out only to reach the same street covered with Blood and Oil .

August 16, 2006

Sober Awakenings - The Aftermath

So it's over , so I am told . The noise of guns and bombs have been silenced to give way to naked reality and human cries . In the aftermath of war mathematics ....

South Beirut : A mass of rubbles underneath which dead human flesh is rotting away . The smell is obnoxious. People scurrying around with masks on their faces with dazed eyes - expressionless - in front of the horror . Some are trying to find where their home is , would they be able to recognize it ? some are taking pictures as if to tell themselves , yes it really happened. It was not just a very bad nightmare, it really took place .

South Lebanon : The earth has turned dark brown bordering on black. The grass has turned yellow, the land is scorched . More rubbles . Endless sights of devastated villages . Villages where once there was a life .Now nothing reigns but the smell of death .

Nabatiyeh : Abu Zeynab is old , he has seen wars before , but from the expression in his eyes , I could tell it was nothing like this one . He owned a little shop , it is gone . Another war that has further marked his face - ridden with the lines of history and time .

Ait Shaab : Umm and Abu Hussein , an elderly couple , lie on the floor . Someone has covered them with a piece of torn curtain . Their limbs have turned blue and are decomposing. Flies hover over them like vultures hover over dead carcasses.

Marjoyon : Deserted . The hospital was abandoned due to heavy bombardements. The personel ran away , leaving patients to fend for themselves . The wounded healing the sick and the sick giving care to the wounded . Even the ancient church was not spared , seems God's saints had to taste death again .

Tyre : Fatima lies in the only hospital that is still functional . She must be around 7 to 9 years old . Her burns are so severe , the doctor shakes his head . He has never seen anything like that before .The burns have gone deep to the bones . "No cellular regeneration possible "- "It is chemical burns " he adds . In another room lies Hassan , he is about 35- a family man . He is bandaged from head to toe . The only thing visible are his lips - swollen , dark red . He speaks very softly and says :" I went to check on my only source of livelihood , my shop- They dropped a bomb and my body caught fire . Nothing remained on me , not even my clothes , only a piece of my leather belt was not consumed by the raging fire ".
Maybe we should offer the rest of the leather belt to Israel as a war trophy !

More villages : The same story repeats itself but with different names . Dead children lying like rag dolls under the mass of rubbles . Devastation and more devastation . The same odor that permeates south Beirut, permeates the whole of the South .

Bekaa : same pictures , same stories , same smell . I see a little boy holding a plastic bag , scavenging what is left of his home . He picks a plastic cup and what looks like a school book and diligently puts them in his bag . Furtively looking for more and not finding anything else to salvage , he ties his bag and walks away . I did not dare ask if his family was alive or dead .

The Sea cost : A thick black slime shines under the sun , preventing the waves from embracing the sand . On the horizon, Israeli warships loom at large waiting for more suffering . The sea feels heavy . I think it is silently crying .

The Israelis are pulling away so it seems . Someone caught a glimpse in the eyes of one of the soldiers . He had vicious contempt in them . He grinned , made the V sign and made a final exhibition of his markava bulldozer , proud and satisfied with himself . He started moving slowly over the burnt grass and the few daisies that managed to survive and slowly dissapeared leaving behind him a cloud of dust ....

August 12, 2006

The Goddess in the Sky and politically correct detachment

I just finished reading an brilliant article by Azmi Bshara about the Fake Godess in the sky - the jet that burns and maimes and deforms and kills . It hovers above your head like some politically correct detached precise rational calculated being . It is above you , objective and precise . It has an eagle view and is logical in its targets . It has a philosophy that is accepted by all - in particular the politically correct lot . Somehow it joins them in the same perception . Above it all and detached.
Well am on the ground and I am not flying anywhere . I can feel my heartbeat and my pulse and when my finger gets cut , I see red blood oozing out . I hold children and lovers in my arms ,
I cry and laugh with them , I feed them and touch their skin . I can smell them and taste them .
I am not politically correct . I cry and weep and sometimes I do not even want to get out of bed . The objective reality kills me . And I have fire flowing in my veins and I want my fire to reach the heavens. I want it to reach the sky where these detached jets along with their detached observers are . How can I get my voice to them . I scream , shout, lull , plead , argue , debate and fight . Nothing works , they are above me , out of reach , retracted in some piece of sky or some corner of their minds - so detached and so politically correct !

August 8, 2006

Silent Madness

I am trying to find the right has become almost an obssession..finding the correct wording to express it all.
""N and E contacted me . They asked me how I was doing - I replied :" I am going silently mad"
I read Hanady Salman cry tonight on She is asking to be killed so she does not have to witness a greater horror . I join my voice to her's.
This is an appeal to all vampire blood suckers : " Kill us and suck our blood ". I know that eternity is there do you know that it is ? You see I am ahead of you on the karmic wheel . I have seen it all and tasted it all. Many a times , I cried bitter tears for not having a child , now I know why . Out of love , I protected him /her from being born . Can you imagine being happy for being childless ? I am ! Isreal thank you , USA thank you . Now I understand it all.
How wonderful it is to know that you will live after death . Like an utmost certainty .
How can bombs destroy that ? Impossible ........A beautiful feeling of peace washes over you and gives you a serene optimism. Your humaness fights it but your soul knows it . You are eternal in the face of bombs. Rejoice , they cannot kill you !

August 7, 2006

The Mosquito & Enemy Combat

Sunday evening , my usual torture . Trying to sleep . When I finally exhausted myself with reading , watching the news , I slipped into my bed and hugged my pillow hard , my safety island .
I heard a mosquito , its buzzing kept me awake . A living life around me in this deafening obscurity.
It was trapped somewhere in my bedroom. I intently listened to its buzz and decided I was going to exterminate it . I took my flip flops and waited in silence for it to manifest itself . I felt like a guerrilla fighter waiting to ambush the enemy . My flip flops were my WMDs . I switched on the lights and saw it flying somewhere behind the curtain . I attacked it with vehemence and sprayed it ruthlessly with some insecticide. I choked on the fumes , I opened the window - finally victorious .
You see , I can no longer bear anything with wings . Military jets , mosquitoes , anything that flies over my head . I returned to my safety island and covered my face with my pillow and cried myself to sleep .

Fayruz on Sundays

I remember Sundays . Sunday mornings were linked to Fayruz - the singer. Something about Sundays and Fayruz . Evenings were reserved for the occasional Um Kulthum but Sunday mornings were definitely a hommage to Fayruz . A turkish coffee perfumed with cardamom , sitting on the balcony , listening to her majestic voice . Songs of love and longings, of defiance and irony .
This sunday, I could not get myself to go to the balcony . I could not listen to Fayruz . I stared at the walls and sipped my coffee silently . The silence was almost embarassing . It was a bloody sunday . Sunday bloody sunday ...

August 6, 2006

The 25th Day or The Philosophy of Destruction

Days and nights are intermingled - Sleeping or trying to sleep at early dawn, a constant quarrel with the night approaching , something about darkness that disturbs me these days . I promise myself to lay down and switch off the light . Then I panick, a gut wrenching fear - I get up, to the pc, radio, tv anything that works and anything , anyone willing to give me news . When I do finally close my eyes , I am awakened by drenchs of warm sweat and a heart pounding , choking me ...
It has been like that for 25 days . Wars do that to you . They uproot you from your habits , they metaphorse you into a being that you no longer recognize . Many a time I catch glimpses of me in the mirror and I no longer recognize myself . As if every day has left its writing on my face , deep prints . I am beyond grief - I am in a place that has no name . A visceral place that is not even concerned with survival anymore . A place I am yet to discover . Violence scares me . What scares me even more is willful cruelty . Cruelty premeditated is not something I am comfortable with , never been . It has this cunning ability to make me lose faith in humanity , to pervert what I hold to be true and pure . It not only pollutes me but it also brings out in me my own violence , my own abject parts that defies all that I believe makes our common lot . A mixture of lightness and darkness. But cruelty is lopsided in its appearance. I can only see absolutes when subjected to it .
Another symptom of being subjected to cruelty , or should I say another side effect , is nothingness. Nothingness means to me a numbness of everything which vulgarly translates itself into Nothing matters anymore . A nihilism that pervades everything . Even the most mundane rudimentary task becomes a nothing .
Destruction in its extreme , the ones I have witnessed so far , then starts bordering on absurdity and becomes absurd in itself and for itself . In fact it is a state that defies human comprehension . There is no logic in destruction especially when I cannot see seeds of a rebirth. It is 6 am and am battling with the left overs of darkness .
I will go to sleep the minute I see an inkling of light . Good night Beirut .