A Christmas Present ...

Today, The Emperor Bush declared :" More sacrifices will take place in Eye Raq."
Take it to mean : More Iraqi blood will be spilled , more death, more carnage, more torture, more mayhem, more rape, more theft...more of the same . A Christmas present.
Maliki, the not so smart , not so bright puppet said to the effect : " Ok I agree, more troops. On condition that we finish off the Resistance, contain the lunatic Muqtada and oh well , as for the Badr Brigades and the Magawir of the Ministry of Interior - later, later."
They gave him Nejef as a token of appreciation and handed it to the "Iraqi Army." Another Christmas present.
Brace yourselves for a massive attempt at a deadly blow to the Resistance.
Resist , we have and we will. Nothing can stop us now.

But let us leave aside realpolitik for a moment . Let us concentrate instead on the spirit of Christmas.
Since America is being so generous with her presents ,I, as a good hospitable Arab would like to reciprocate. I am thinking of offering you a special gift on this holy occasion.

I heard that in America (by the way, I don't like to call it U.S.A - I like the sound America better- hope you don't mind- it's more musical to my ears), there is a traditional craft called patchwork.
Seems you folks and specially the women are very skilled at it.
In Britain, and if I am not mistaken , they are called quilts. Do correct me if I am a little "behind" in my terminology.
Good old, hand made, home covers. Women sit for days on end taking pieces of disregarded fabrics , diligently sewing those single bits together. What you get at the end is a work of art. A story emerging from behind those abandoned, tattered cloths.

I would like to offer you my Iraqi patchwork.
I will do my utmost, despite the current economic circumstances, to buy for you top quality fabric and thread.
Something solid that will last you for long. Something that you can proudly show to your great grand children. Something you can remember us by. Something that will withstand the signs of Time. Something for you to keep till Eternity.

I will be guided by candle light or cheap kerosene lamps since electricity is not available. But I assure you this will not diminish the quality in any way.
Actually, to be honest with you, I am not the only craftswoman here.
I have over 655'000 artisans with me and a countless others who are in a zombie vegetable state dictating to me how to go about it.

Consider each of the 655'000 plus dead , pieces of fabric. And consider the hundred thousands amputated, paralyzed, raped, tortured,bereaved,widows and orphans ...the thread.

Bear with me as this is hard studious work. After all a present of such magnitude cannot be "composed" swiftly. Patchworks need time to emerge into a full story. Right ?
No need to worry, I will ensure to have it delivered before Christmas.

In order for the "piece" to become completely alive and real, I need to infuse it with pulsating beings. "They" cannot remain anonymous numbers from the Lancet.
I will revive them like the goold old American women do when they patchwork together.

I will take each single one of them and ask them to tell you their personal story. All the way to their Ancestors. Her birth place, his wishes, her struggles, his beliefs, her pain, his suffering, her victories, his hopes , their families, those left behind, their friends ...
I will also ask them to tell you how they died, what they felt when they did, their last thought , their last sentence, their unspoken word...
They will tell you tales. Each part carefully crafted , delicately sewn onto another. Ad infinitum...

And the survivors : the paralyzed, the downtrodden, the sick, the abandoned,the amputated, the maimed, the raped, the humiliated, the tortured, the grief stricken, the strugglers - the silent majority with no voice- they are the Thread that stitch the living to the dead.

And we are all gathered here right now , needle working , weaving patterns, sewing this beauty for you.
One by one, taking turns, approaching it so delicately, like an artistic composition , like a melody.

We don't want it to be macabre or morbid, so we are coloring it with a thousand colors. Greater than a rainbow. Greater than Death.
And now that it is completed , we offer it to you in "gratitude".
You can cover yourselves with it and keep warm.
All hand made in good old Iraq.
In Memoriam.

Merry Christmas.

Painting/Mural: Iraqi Artist, Dr.Hashim Al Tawil


Anonymous said…
Wow Layla every article touches the heart.
Yes they do get into patchwork and quilts but i wouldn't say too many are skilled in that art and certainly no men i have ever heard of.
I just hope america experiences exactly what it has done to Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, Vietnam, Afghanistan, etc etc etc.
After starting to list the countries, i realized there was way too too many to list here.
One special mention needs to go to Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
indigo said…
Hi Layla, please could I ask you to let Ladybird know that I cannot post to his blog (I get an error message, Error 403 - We're sorry, but we could not fulfill your request for /wp-comments-post.php on this server. You do not have permission to access this server. Your technical support key is: d992-6dd7-dfd9-b1ad You can use this key to fix this problem yourself. If you are unable to fix the problem yourself, please contact nbaban at gmail.com and be sure to provide the technical support key shown above.)

Sorry to ask this of you but I cannot see an e-mail address for Ladybird.
zig said…
Dear Layla,

On the previous comment thread you wrote:

The ONLY thing that gives me Hope is the Iraqi Resistance.

On this matter we couldn't be in more complete and full agreement - and the thing is, I am not Iraqi, I'm part of the (immensely) Lucky Ones who get to watch Hell from the outside.

So to be more down to earth I'l rephrase what I said in an earlier comment: I believe we'll owe the Iraqi Resistance more than freedom, I believe we'll owe them life itself.

This said, I just found a great article ("The Age of Mammals:
Looking Back on the First Quarter of the Twenty-First Century", by Rebecca Solnit) that starts to give a glimpse of the New World that will come about BECAUSE of the Iraqi Resistance. It's written from a point of view set in the future, and I can't resist quoting at least this exverpt:

The World Court and related human rights, environmental rights, and criminal courts became more powerful presences as the sun set on the era of nation-state. Multiple changes often combined into scenarios impossible to foresee: for example, the belated U.S. recognition in 2011 that the International Criminal Court did indeed have war-crimes jurisdiction over Americans coincided with the worldwide anti-incarceration movement. This explains why, for example, former President Bush the Younger, extradited from Paraguay and found guilty in 2013, was never imprisoned, but sentenced to spend the rest of his life working in a Fallujah diaper laundry. (People who are still bitter about his reign are bitter too that the webcam there suggests, even at his advanced age, he still enjoys this work that accords so well with his skill-set.) His assets -- along with those of his Vice President, and of Halliburton, Bechtel, Exxon, and other war profiteers -- were famously awarded to the Vietnamese Buddhist Commission for the Iraqi Transition. After almost a decade of the bitterest bloodshed, Iraq, too, had broken into five nations, but by this time so many nation-states were being reorganized into more coherent units that the Iraqi transition, led by the Women's Alliance of Islamic Feminists (nicknamed the Islamofeminists), was surprisingly peaceful when it finally came.

I think the author still buys a bit too much into the "Iraqis will inevitably start killing each other aftter the US leaves" cliché, but the point I's like to make is that that we ALREADY owe the Iraqi Resistance the fact that it's now even CONCEIVABLE to imagine a future on Earth which for all practical matters is as close to Utopia as it gets.

I believe so strongly in such things I can't imagine a greater gift or privilege to myself than visiting Iraq one day, hopefully soon, soon as an esteemed and invited guest of the Iraqi people.
Anonymous said…
Dear Layla,

Great text, beautifully written, as always. I'm sending it to all my contacts, lest they forget all the Iraqis who are suffering...

And if they really want to make a difference and show they care, they can help an Iraqi child, victim of the brutal occupation.

I just read the following appeal to help Marwa on:

A woman who loves Iraq
Anonymous said…
Oh my dear Layla, what a powerful and astute article..You are God's gift to the Iraqi people and not just for christmas...We are blessed..
God bless your heart, your soul, your mind, your body, your work and everything about you.Ameen.
Anonymous said…
Hi Layla

Thank you for being the messenger :)


I don't know what is the problem but this the first time I hear about it.

Maybe it is the spam filter, please try not to use a proxy server.

Please, I really don't know the cause I want to solve it.

You can email me on:


Thank Layla again and thank indigo for mentioning this.
Anonymous said…
I think Maliki would have had something to celebrate if he liberated Najaf. What a hollow and meaningless ceremony the turning over of Najaf was. That's plain despicable. Freedom is not something some occupier gives you Mr. Maliki, it only has meaning if you take it using the same means the occupier used to take it from you in the first place.
Layla Anwar said…
Dear Zig,

Parts of this piece are absolutely brilliant. Thank you for sharing it.
Keep an eye on my next article. Your enthusiasm has partly inspired it.
Anonymous said…
screw all the Camel Jockys...bombs away..... rag head
Anonymous said…
or a letter to father christmas . . .

this would perhaps fit more neatly under your last post, 'a letter to a GI'. Anyway, i wonder what would happen if father christmas in the republican town of North Pole, Alaska, were to recieve a thousand letters from Iraqi children , asking for peace on earth, their parents back, clothes on their backs.. . beckoning the spirit of christmas. .. . what would he say to that?

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