December 14, 2006

The Curse.

My good old friend Zaynab , a shi'a (just in case you wondered) rang me today.
She was hyper, frantic and on the verge of hysterics.
"Layla , stuff your political analysis . I don't care to hear it anymore . I am telling you, we Iraqis are jinxed. A curse has been placed upon us. We have been abandoned,we are a no good people. I am telling you, God is punishing us. We must be deserving it ..."

Now my knowledge of Psychology tells me that it is very common for the Predator to blame the Victim and very "normal" for the Victim to blame himself/herself . A classic way to find justification and rationality for what the mind can no longer comprehend or absorb.

My rational part, or what is left of it , wanted to brush Zaynab's outcry away. But deep down, I must confess, a part of me shares her belief . Not only me but countless other Iraqis I have spoken to and met , from all creeds , echo Zaynab.

Who can blame us ? What ordinary Iraqis witness and live on a daily basis is beyond comprehension. Nothing can explain it.
No international politics, no oil theory, no geo strategy, no economic equation. Nothing.

To be frank, I can no longer recognize Iraqis. What has happened to us , what on earth is going on here ?
Where has this violence and brutality been stored all this time , in which secret hideout ?
Since when do Iraqis abduct women , rape them, mutilate their genitals and then kill them.
Since when do they drill holes in skulls and pluck eyes out from their sockets? Since when do they massacre innocent labourers in search of their daily bread? Since when do they blow up children in market places or immolate people in prayers to be charred alive, since when are worship places set on fire? And many more heinous acts .... Since when ?
Yes I no longer recognize this place.What is this telluric hideous ugliness painted on the walls of this city?
What is this vicious cruelty that erupts from the belly of the earth and spreads like a tumor in every street and in every neighborhood? What is becoming of us ?
Maybe Zaynab is right .
Maybe this is our curse . A first Gulf War waged by Neolithic Barbarians that knocked Iraqis down , followed by 12 years of sanctions that killed millions , followed by yet another War of "shock and awe" that took back the country to the Stone age era, followed by a ruthless occupation that has stripped thousands of their basic human dignity and killed thousands in the process. Finally allowing evil, monstrous, thuggish cronies to rule whilst these Cavemen actively engage and guide from a distance.
Bestiality is indeed contagious.
Yes this is definitely our curse but how long will this curse go on ?And more importantly who cast this evil spell ?
A displeased Deity , an angry Sumerian Goddess, a malevolent Genie , a blood sucking Vampire or Lucifer himself ?
I don't know who this being is . But I tell you one thing . I am willing to go to any length to remove this curse.
I am willing: to learn Old Shakespearian English , decrypt ancient Hebraic texts, delve into Farsee phonetics and am even willing to be born again and speak in Tongues .
Anything that will stop this carnage , absolutely anything that will end this Genocide .

Painting : Iraqi Artist Salman Shalhoob