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Showing posts from November, 2006

Till Death do us part...

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Do you fancy reading about a heart warming sentimental love story?
Come on , am sure you do .
Amidst all this turmoil we live in I am sure you are eager to listen to a romantic saga that will take your mind off world misery.
Ok, I will recount it to you only if you promise to read till the very end . I assure you it is a"happy ever after" tale .

Let me start by saying that the couple I have in mind has been cohabiting for over 30 years now .

I am sure you are curious to know what is their recipe for such a successful partnership, seeing that the divorce rate is soaring and that couples no longer stick to their marriage vows.

The first thing one notices about this couple is their very strong physical attraction to one another. They seem to fancy each other to the point of chemical fusion . They are great passionate bed partners so it seems .

They also share similar ideological interests to the extent that they have become siamese twins and no, they never get bored by this mutual i…

The uncensored Anger Manifesto - Part I

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I cannot sleep . My seething anger keeps my eyes wide open .
But you are sleeping safely in your home , holding your partner or your child and you know in all probability that you will awake tomorrow. And tomorrow , you will open your eyes, step into your bathroom and you will find running water . You will fix yourself a coffee and you will find electricity, you will open your kitchen cupboard and you will find food .
Then you will get dressed , and you have clothes for winter and if you catch the flu , you can always call up your doctor or run to a hospital . Hey, you can even take flowers to your beloved ones if they happen to fall ill ,or just check to make sure that the surgery of Uncle Tom was successful . Oh yes, you can afford to do so.
Then you will get into your car, drive merrily or maybe not so merrily to your work place , or go shopping worrying about what to cook for your sweet family, or meet with your friends for a morning cup and rant neurotically about how miserabl…

Excuse me Sir, how would you like your Torture ?

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The other day a group of us were gathered discussing the fate of Omar.

As I mentioned in one of my previous posts,Omar,18 yo, was torn out from his bed at dawn and abducted .He has disappeared ever since.
The last thing we heard is that he was "transferred" from the Death squads custody to that of the Americans. Why and how this "transfer"took place , no one knows. We don't even know the reasons behind his kidnapping to start with.I will let you figure it out if you can.
In fact am not sure anyone really knows where Omar is right now .

So seated around a table , sipping tea were : Aunt Kareema (a sunni), Uncle Jassem (a shia), Abu Sami (a christian), a few others and myself.
Of course we were all concerned about Omar and what is possibly happening to him .
Aunt Kareema believes he is better off with the Americans ."At least they will not drill a hole in his head or pluck his eyes out " she says.
Uncle Jassem does not agree. "Do you think having your n…

A Beatle's Ballad to the Troops

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Am too sick today to write much. But I can still sing and am singing a song for you ,Troops .
My special dedication for today is the Beatle's song :"Get Back".
If you don't remember the lyrics , let us hum them together now .
So it goes...
"Get back , get back , get back to where
you onced belonged
Get back Jo Jo. Get back Joe.
GO HOME"

I don't care in which accent you sing it : American , English, Israeli, Persian . Just sing it !

Picture: courtesy of www.uruknet.info

Resist, persist , and you don't even have to sign.

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What is resistance ?
Resistance is not only about taking up arms. Bless those who have the guts to do so. Pray for them.They are the pure from amongst us. Putting their lives on the front line , risking it all, losing it all sometimes. Yes bless them because only a few have what it takes.
But there are also other forms of resistance. And trust me you don't need to sign your name either. It is all recorded , your name ,address and date of birth . All you need to do is join us .
Join us in spirit, join us in soul, join us with your words, with your letters, with your cries , with your exclamations, ,with your tears, with your sighs ...
It does not matter , just join us . You give us strength even if you don't know it . It is all recorded . It is recorded in Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan, Lebanon . We forget no one . We are the spears and the arrows and you are the archers.

Painting : By Iraqi Artist Mohammed al Shammarei

Millimeters away.

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So many dead today in my Beloved Baghdad. I decided to light a candle for all those who went to the other side . I placed the candle on my window panel. The flame looked ever so peaceful , surrounded by plants and my bright white curtains . For moments , everything looked perfect as it is . For seconds , I accepted it all .
I snugged complacently into that corner of nano seconds of Peace.
I moved to another room, hoping that I had paid my dues to today's dead.
I smelt a funny odor . Something is burning hard . I quickly rushed back only to see the candle burning at both ends consuming the wooden panels in fury.
For splits of seconds , I watched the fire rising up the window, burning bright , burning hot.
Purifying the dust around me , purifying the place like some incense on an altar.
In those splits of seconds , I saw the immolated bodies with kerosene in Baghdad, burnt alive.
Everything was moving so fast and the fire was reaching new heights.
I woke myself up from this transe . I tr…

Stuck at a Red Light.

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Today I was stuck in a traffic jam that seemed to last an eternity. The lights kept changing colors from Red to Green, Green to Red and I was still stuck, immobilized , unable to move forward .
My radio was blasting a song by Elham Al Madfai* , a song entitled Khuttar (meaning Visitor in Arabic). And whilst I was patiently waiting for the red light to switch off and the green light to switch on, my mind wandered...
I saw the Red Zone and the Green Zone in Baghdad.
The red zone was very red. As red as the sun that sets on the Tigris. Red as blood, red as fire.
The green zone was as green as the palm trees that embrace the river, as green as spring.
The red zone is filled with limbs , scorching heat, immolated bodies with Iraqi kerosene (oil).
The green zone has healthy men and women walking about, playing bowling and billiard.
The red zone is screaming with burns,pain and anguish
The green zone is playing disco music and drinking beer and whiskey.
The red zone is bursting into flames , its mark…

Happy ThanksGiving .

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I don't know what ThanksGiving is . It is not part of my culture , and I don't remember Christians in the Middle East celebrating it . So I asked around. I was told ThanksGiving is a special day at the end of a Harvest , where people gather and give thanks for their yearly blessings. A typical North American custom so to speak .
Allow me to give thanks too :
People of the USA , you and your government and your institutions and your military and your oil corporations Thank You for giving us a wonderful Thanksgiving banquet.
On the menu
Starter
1 million extra in Exodus bringing up the total to 2 Million

Main course
3'790 fresh corpses straight from the October Morgue , no stale meat here .

Dessert
3'000 Widows in season , per month plus thousands of caramelized orphans.

Drinks
Tons of Blood barrels , as much as you can drink, courtesy of the House.
***

The people of Iraq wish you averyHappy ThanksGiving Day.


Painting : Iraqi Artist Shayban Ahmad







Let's Waltz shall We ?

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Have you ever listened to Chostakovitch Waltz no.2?
This is what I suggest to you . Get it or listen to your favorite piece of anything else.
Now close your eyes and let me invite you to a beautiful Waltz.
Imagine a hundred souls dressed in white hovering above you .
Imagine them pacing, stepping, twirling, whirling.
Imagine them smiling , bowing gracefully to one another .
Imagine them holding hands and making circles over your poor little head.
Imagine them haloed by a thousand golden lights.
Imagine a great wedding
Imagine a big feast,
Imagine endless banquets of fruits , food and wine flowing
Imagine silk garments and diamonds
Imagine all the dead from Iraq
inviting you to dance with them.

To an Iraqi Cowgirl .

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Lamia was a beautiful looking Iraqi from Basra . She had long jet black hair , a smooth olive complexion, almond eyes and the charm of Shatt Al Arab, a lovely Basrawee accent and a great smile. She was also an amazing dancer . I remember when we fist met at some friend's house, she danced the Hacha'a* swirling her hair, moving so graciously.
I did not know her all that well , but from the little politics we talked , I could tell that she came from a humble background and was eager to see the Americans land in Iraq . That was back in 2002.
Not having much in common to talk about , I lost touch with her and as the years and events unfolded in Iraq , I simply forgot we had met.
Until that one day , not very long ago . Fate had it that we "bump" into each other .
She goes : "Awww my Gawd , Layla "
"Wow is that Lamia , did not recognize you , Salam "
"Howdee babes , you call me Loomee"
"Loomee ? Why what happened to Lamia ? "
"Ba…

Fashion News FLASH ! .

Monsieur Sarkis lives down the road from where I am .
A short, balding man , in his 60's with an incredible sense of humor. He works as a tailor. He used to tailor for men , but now with most men buying ready made suits , he became what he mischievously calls " a Unisex tailor" .
Everytime I walk down that street , I have to pass by Mr. Sarkis and listen to one of his jokes. He always manages to have me in stitches .
Today I visited him . He was gracious and funny as usual , and after exchanging the habitual greetings I asked him if he could do me a favor.
My request was really simple . I have no time to go and shop for fabric and was wondering if Mr.Sarkis would be kind enough to buy me some thick muslin .
"Thick muslin ? What do you need it for , a gala dress ?"
"Have you not heard of the new fashion line that is swamping the new Middle East ?" I replied.
"No, no, please tell me . Is that the new pret-a-porter from Europa ? Do you have the magaz…

Stretching the Night ...

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Elie called me .He said let's go and listen to some Jazz . Elie is an old friend and he knows how much I love Jazz .
We have an unspoken pact Elie and I . Whenever we go together to a jazz place,we respect that space of silence in each other . We avoid needless petty talk, any polite jibberish and the like.
We are here and we know in consensus that we both need to retreat into the Jazzy night together yet alone . So we did .
We went to our favorite"joint"in town . An unassuming place , with a "local" band .
Drinks dutifully ordered , we settled for a place where we will not be disturbed by endless chatter.
The night smoothly set in . The saxophonist blew my breath away . The lead singer had his version of " the Look of Love " and he worked at it , giving it his very best , taking it in and blowing it out in full lungs whilst the saxophonist was exhaling the last throes . I was mesmerized , tranported , willingly taken to that place where I dreaded to ente…

Beirut for suckers.

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I was strolling in what used to be the love of my life , Beirut .
Even though I still have great affection for this place , the general atmosphere is now really getting to me . The Lebanese are the main reason for this state of mind .
I am getting weary with their incessant quibblings . Their Bey , their Sheikh , their Sayyid, their Comrade , their Warlord , their local Thug, their Pimp , their General and their Monsieur le Colonel .
I am getting tired of their personality cult insidiously seeping and implanting itself in the Lebanese psyche . That same personality cult , the cult of the "Other", the one who will admire, approve, save , embrace , permeates nearly everything .
From the poor siliconized women with identical nose jobs to the latest cellular phones carriers.
The plea is almost identical :" Please accept me , please recognize my worth , see how good I am, please love me ".
This whole charade is obviously masqueraded under heavy make up, high heels, outwa…

Hagar's comeback .

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Here she is standing
barefoot , eyeing horizons
that stretch to infinity
quenching the thirst
of seekers when she, herself
has no water .

The handmaiden "slave",
a stranger in Abraham's clan
abandoned by the Patriarch
cast out from the tribe,
Here she is again
reappearing from behind
your mind's mirages .

A beam of light
unto a world of darkness
She speaks forth
in multitude of tongues
A language unknown
to you
The blind see her
and the deaf hear her
and she is the voice
for the mute .

" I am Hagar the slave
I have wandered
arid lands
and erred a thousand
years , across
deserts and dunes
I am here to quench
your thirst
like an oasis
I, who had dried up
in the desert of your indifference
My name is Hagar
remember it
engrave it upon your skins
those skins marked
by a thousand chains
twirling around you
like snakes.
I am the slave Woman
who had no words
the one who lost
speech
I spoke in signs
running back and forth
and pleaded
the skies
my eyes dried up
so did my blood.
I am back
I have returned to you
pulling you

Flash NEWS !

- A relative , mother of three gave up her job in Baghdad . She lives in a mixed area re -baptized "The Death Neighborhood"
The reason ? Her name is Ayesha *

- Another 22 years old relative , fresh bright graduate is not allowed to leave home .
His parents lock him up in his room and guard the key . He is their only child .
The reason ? His name is Bakr *

- Yet another relative's home stormed in at 3 am . They kidnapped the eldest son . He is 18 years old .
We are all expecting a funeral soon .
The reason ? His name is Omar *


The fresh news of fresh new victims in Baghdad is over for the day. Have a good one .

*** For those of you who don't know Arabic names, the above are typical sunni names .

Welcome to Hell...

I can't keep up anymore . I have lost track of the numbers , I have forgotten how to count.
My mind is saturated with figures in the hundreds, thousands ....
I am not even capable of sentences . I just have words zooming in my mind as fast as light
Death squads, killings , kidnapping, abductions , fleeing ,exodus , desertions,torture, disappearances,funerals ...
I can't even look or see only to have flashes , images pop up , blinding me in their intensity.
Hooded heads ,rape , sodomy , bullet holes, debris, rubbles , ruins , acid, drills in skulls, eyes plucked out, bruises, chains, blood, torn flesh, bowels , brains, ears cut off ,genitals electrocuted and hacked ...
And every time I try to inhale , I can only smell burnt flesh , excrements, fumes, dust, sewage, decomposing bodies, rotting corpses...
I can't even listen without hearing sounds of explosions , shootings, bombs , mortar attacks, cries, lamentations, wailing, screeches of agony and screams of pain ...
And everytime…

The Rape .

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She was tall , beautiful and very proud .
people likened her to a luscious palm tree
generous with the sweetness of Her fruits ,
giving Her protective shade to all
Her rivers were of a deep blue
reverberating under a scorching sun,
Her mountains high and aloof ,
Her sky made of golden dust
and Her scent of, orange blossom and jasmin.
She was passionate ,
Her body riddled with
a thousand fires
at times ,
She was as hard as a desert rock
but never without Heart.
Gods, Queens, Kings and Sultans
visited Her
sat in Her presence
at times ,
hordes of lowly spirits
passed by
yet, She redressed herself
picking up the pieces
singing Her old melodies
that never tarnished .
She would hum them , silently
in the depth of Her starry night
and during the day ,
She was relentless , arduous .
She would lull, seduce and intimidate
out of reach ,
She would look in her silver mirror
and no one
had access to Her thoughts .

And one day , a barbarian landed.
the one became two ,
the two became three ,
and they multiplied.
they arrived on a co…

Ms. Amrika at the Beauty Parlour

F. is a Palestinian woman, forced into marriage at the age of 16 and forced to leave school which she greatly regrets as she loves reading , something that she manages to find the time to do despite her hectic schedule .
After two failed miserable marriages and four kids , she decided that she will have to stand on her two feet and that she will have to do it alone .
She started paying visits to the rich ladies around the capital, offering her services which consisted of waxing and manicures .
Her brightness and sense of humor made her popular amongst her well off clientele.
After many years of hard work and savings , she finally opened her own Beauty Parlour.

I went and paid my regular visit . The atmosphere is usually light at F' s. Loads of women, from all backgrounds, cracking jokes (usually about the men in their lives) ,
commiserating , supporting , giving advice, talking about the latest political blunders, and sharing beauty tips and recipes for keeping one's looks .
The pl…

You said Justice ?

Bush calls it a historical moment in the making of Iraqi History . Blair is beaming . Iran said it was a victory for human rights and freedom...
The headline is "Saddam is to hang for crimes against humanity ".
And whilst the newspeaker was uttering this line , a flash came across the screen of my TV.
"In less than 5 days , over 50 palestinians killed in Gaza . Latest a young school boy ."
For some of you who don't know what Gaza is - simply remind yourselves of the Auschwitz Ghetto.

And as the world watches on the triumph of the export of Democracy to Iraq , Mc Donald/Coca Cola style , a nagging voice begs me to ask you :

When will Israel be put on trial for genocide ?

Saddam Hussein 's Trial and Final Verdict.

Call me a masochist . Everyone now and then I need to go back to the Abu Ghraib pictures . (by the way you can get them in full colors @ www.albasrah.net. I know some of you readers need the hollywood version and I can assure you will find it there).

The reason why I keep going back to them is not some perverted need to see mutilated male genitals lying next to a tortured bleeding Iraqi. The images actually leave me sleepless.

The real reason I keep going back to them is simply because I need to remind myself of the holocaust the Iraqis are going through under the name of Freedom and Democracy .

I keep staring at the pictures and hear the sounds that come from Abu Ghraib, Haditha, Ramadi,Mahmoudiah. ...I hear the screams of torture and pain. I hear the cries of raped women and see them banging their heads against steel walls till death visits them. I see the burnt body of Abeer Al Janabi, raped by American Soldiers and I can see them giggle ,eating chicken wings and gulping down whisk…