November 30, 2006

Till Death do us part...

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 intense affinity to one another . They actually love to spend quality time together, always .

They also have common hobbies . One major pass time of theirs is adventure . They simply adore expanding their horizons , exploring new territories and they even set up houses in a few of those distant lands they reached. They are intrigued by the exotic.
It just spices up their lives ...

And like any working couple, they share a joint bank account . Each one ensures that the other does not lack in anything . Naturally the husband is always there just in case his beloved wife goes a little overboard . But she compensates for him by preserving and keeping an eye on his stocks, bonds and securities . This is what caring love is all about .

In fact this couple is so close they even developed the same taste in colors . If Madam wears very light pink, so does he . If she decides to wear blue , he does too .
A little odd thing about them though , is that their colors come only in two shades .
They hardly wear red , this they leave when they go on their adventures , and it's usually crimson red. White is only used to shroud the dead and black only at funerals and God forbid that death approaches either one of them.

They also have similar taste in music. Their preference goes for drums. No, don't get me wrong , it has nothing to do with war drums . They just love the sound and the beat, that's all. And they are clever dancers too . They never miss a step , always harmoniously leading one another .

Their undying loyalty to each other has made them a world wide celebrity. You see their names on every book cover, magazine and newspaper . They even made it on TV and Hollywood is writing a script about them. This is understandable . It is rare to find such commitment nowadays .They 're in for the long haul . A remarkable couple indeed .

But like every couple they have their down moments.
You know , how some women can whine, nag and throw terrible temper tantrums . And at times play the victim . Well, Madam has mastered this art to perfection .
But rest assured , He is a true gentleman, he will not let her go to sleep angry without fulfilling her every whim and desire. So their conflicts are very short lived and hardly worth mentioning .

Having an active love life , they also produced lots of children who grew up to be very influential people . Some, later on, became statemen , others "high calibre" politicians, numerous heads of corporations and even a few "brilliant" academics. You do understand that the progeny has to continue in the parents footsteps.

I also forgot to mention that this wonderful couple had their engagement party in England out of all places . It was a huge event . A real gala . Royalty and heads of state attended . Everyone was very pleased ,they blessed the union and wished the newly wed a very successful future.

Do you want to know who this couple is or have you guessed it by now ?
Just in case , I missed out on some detail of their intimate life , I will give you their full name. Do send them your congratulations on their next wedding anniversary and address it to: Mr & Mrs. Americrael. For they are an example of a perfect match....a match made in Hell.



Painting : Iraqi Artist Jaber Alwan "Men & Women" series.

November 28, 2006

The uncensored Anger Manifesto - Part I


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 miserable your life is .
Your day is probably filled with things to do . Most likely you have a job and you know you have an income at the end of the month. And you can give yourself the luxury of planning for your future.
You plan everything don't you? What you will be getting for your kids at Christmas, how many parties you have booked on your agenda , your next vacation trip, your one year plan, your five year plan , when your goverment will be invading another country. You are in fact a great planner.
If you have kids , then you know they are getting an education . You can buy them pads, pencils, drawing books , toys and even take them for a stroll in a park free from Depleted Uranium and you can fly kites and raise your eyes to the sky and not see fire jets hovering above your little head . You can do that. I know you can.
And if you are walking about , you know that no bomb or bullet is going to blow you or blow your loved ones away. You will neither be kidnapped nor abducted never to be seen again.
You feel queasy at the sight of blood . Yes I know that. Even the blood you watch on your TV screen when you get back home safely in the evenings is censored so as not to disturb your sensitivities. You don't see limbs , bowels, and brains blown away, you are really cared for and so protected . And if per chance you come across such scenes, you conveniently zap or ask your kids to run upstairs. You don't want them traumatized . Yes violence is bad for you .
It disturbs your peace of mind . I really sympathize.
And when Saturday or Sunday comes , you go to your worship place , and praise the Lord for being born in the greatest country ever . Yes I know you enjoy your rights and freedoms.
During weekends , you can take time for your leisure, tend your garden , go to a gym, invite your friends, barbecue, go dancing , party. You can have fun . But of course, it is natural, it is written in your constitution "the pursuit of happiness" is just for you, and only for you. I don't need to remind you . You already know it by heart.
And when you are with your friends you can be so very interesting . You can tell them how fucked up the world is , how people can't get along . You will point your finger in our direction and hold us as an example . Oh yes, you know so much . Your press told you all about it.
And when you are done with all of the above , you will go back to sleep in your cozy bed , switch the lights off and snore in total oblivion. All the way to that state you are so familiar with, all the way back into your usual comatose indifferent self .

And we are still here,counting the minutes, the seconds and hoping we will taste life again. A life we had before you and your ilk took it all away.


Painting : Iraqi Artist Rafa Nasiri.

November 26, 2006

Excuse me Sir, how would you like your Torture ?


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 nails plucked out and your genitals electrocuted is any better ?" He retorts.
"Well, maybe he will come back alive if it is only nails and electrocution" Aunt Kareema replies.
"What if they break his back and he is paralyzed for ever, like they did to others, remember X , he is a vegetable now " adds Abu Sami.
"Yes true , what if he is forever paralyzed and electrocuted , that would be his end" says Uncle Jassem
"True , and if he gets raped on top of it " sighs Aunt Kareema.

And so the "debate" on the different types of torture continued...
No one could reach an agreement , but we all agreed on one thing though -If Omar is in pain and is suffering whilst in custody - we all pray for his prompt death.

This is what we have become reduced to in this surreal episode of our lives .
Comparing different methods of torture and hoping for the most merciful one and if that fails then wishing for a Compassionate death to quickly take over.

We concluded our gathering with a prayer, the only thing we are capable of right now .

*All names are fictitious just in case you wondered.
**Painting : Iraqi Artist Mohamed Sami.

A Beatle's Ballad to the Troops


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

November 25, 2006

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

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.


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 tried gathering whatever wits I had left and got hold of a bottle of water and threw it on the burning wood , only to see the flames rising even higher.
I had to save my altar . Another bucket of water frantically thrown ,fumes are choking me now.
And whilst I was trying to extinguish the fire , I was screaming: "Oh God where are you now ?"
Then I noticed in an instant that the distance separating the ever growing flames from the bright white curtains was only One millimeter . That was the distance that saved me tonight. One millimeter.
So if any of you ask where God is - look for Him , Her , It- in that One millimeter of your life that has been spared.
I extinguished the fire .My white curtains have turned dark grey, I am choking with the smoke of burnt wood ...
My beloved Baghdad , how many more candles do you need ?

Painting : By Iraqi Female Artist Sua'ad Al Attar.

Stuck at a Red Light.

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 markets reduced to ashes, its women pulling out their hair.
The green zone is where secret love affairs flourish, where three meals a day are served and where electricity is available.
The red zone has demolished houses, mosques and targeted churches.
The green zone with its palaces is bathing in blessings handed out by the American parish priest.
The red zone is burning in flames
The green zone is barricaded behind high fences, striking more business deals.
Red Zone, Green Zone, Red light, Green Light, the traffic seems endless.
I have to move now, someone is honking .

* Elham Al Madfai is an Iraqi singer.
** Painting is by the Iraqi Female Artist : Betool Fekeiki.

November 23, 2006

Happy ThanksGiving .


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 a very Happy ThanksGiving Day.


Painting : Iraqi Artist Shayban Ahmad







November 22, 2006

Let's Waltz shall We ?


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.
That's it . Take one step now .
A step to the left, a step to the right
Imagine all the dead from
Baghdad, Baquba , Ramadi, Falluja, Mosul, Amara, Anbar, Mahmoudiah, Nasseriah,Basra, Kirkuk, Hilla.......
Imagine them all dancing ,waltzing with you , around you .
Imagine them thanking you
Imagine them loving you
Imagine them embracing you
and Imagine them
nudging you to Wake up .
Let's Waltz shall We ?

Painting : by Iraqi Artist Jaber Alwan "Dance series"

November 21, 2006

To an Iraqi Cowgirl .


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 ? "
"Babes (drawing even harder on the new accent) , Lamia is too difficult in the U.S"
"Oh so you live in the U.S now,do you ?"
"Yeah babes , I sure do , it's been 2 years."

She kept babbling on in her fake american accent , trying hard to keep up the act , telling me how fantastic it is to be liberated , how her life has changed, she has finally visited America " her dream place " and the usual refrain that we hear from the apologists for the Occupation.
The ones who deliberately turn a blind eye to what is really happening because their lowly, base, opportunism would be at a terrible stake if they did not .
I also noticed that Lamia , I mean Loomee , had also changed physically . Her hair is much shorter now with blond highlights , her clothes way too tight bordering on the vulgar, her cowboy boots tacky, her nails way too long with funny little designs on them ...
I also later heard from common acquaintances , that Loomee no longer dances the Hacha'a* either . It seems that someone in Baghdad's Green Zone, a blond blue eyed "authority " has been teaching her the Barn Dance ...Yee haa.

And so it goes for the " winds of change ". Gone is the Shatt Al Arab girl with the charming accent, gone is the free spirit from Basra.

* Hacha'a is a typical Iraqi folk dance.

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 magazines?"
I could tell Monsieur Sarkis was very excited at this piece of news , hoping to get some new fashion wear designs .
"Not quite " I replied .
"What then ?" He was growing impatient
"Well its a new fashion line and it started in Teheran ". I kept teasing .
"Teheran ? "
"Yes Teheran and now Baghdad and hitting Damascus and it might overtake us here too."
Monsieur Sarkis face grew solemn.
"A new axis you mean ?"
"Yeah a sort of new fashion axis " I replied .
"Does that mean I have to go back to Men only ?"
"Yes I'm afraid so "
"Ok , ok, I got it , what color do you want your Chador ? "
"Pitch black please. "

We laughed some more , but we both knew it was no longer a laughing matter .

November 19, 2006

Stretching the Night ...


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 enter .
The singer caught the look in my eye whilst I was tuned to his voice .
He generously offered me a second serving . The following was "More" and the third "My blue heaven"....
Then it hit me .
In fact , there is nothing more beautiful , nor more powerful than a man in love. Something about a man in love is so magical , so enticing , so very smooth just like this very instant .
Like a balm spread over open wounds, like a breath of fresh air, like this very moment .
The saxophonist is relentless , he keeps up and leads . The singer offers his voice unconditionally. And the magic continues and the rapture blooms .
A man in love is so ecstatic to watch . This mixture of fragility, coyness and strength.
This giving of self , that sheds it all in one instant . No withholding , naked and true .
I can almost touch the timbres of his voice , caress the rythms with my fingers , follow the notes with a stroke of my hand .
The last song is now being sung " I only have eyes for you ".
I want to capture this moment for ever , grab it tightly, encapsulate it and carry it away with me .
I want to stretch it till infinity, I want to stretch Me till infinity , before the sound of applause , before the lights are switched on , before the final curtain falls , before Reality sets in again .

Painting: by Iraqi Artist Jaber Alwan "Lady surrounded in Red"

Beirut for suckers.


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, outward sophistication so pleasing to Robert Fisk and Co. Masqueraded under political slogans, endless regurgitated jargon, BMW's and Mercedes Benz , Louis Vuitton and fake bronzage*.
Downtown Beirut is polished , very polished . Like the polished nails and shoes of its passers.
Shiny like the diamonds of Madame and the shiny Timberlands and car of Monsieur .
I err aimlessly in my ex lover's arms , Beirut .
I see smoke everywhere . Everyone is sucking onto something .
Arghilehs **,pipes , cigars, cigarettes ,politicians , bosses , lovers, husbands, boyfriends, wives, mistresses .Everyone is sucking up to everyone else . A total regression to the oral stage , but where is Mr. Mom ?
I sit in my favorite cafe , cappucino after another, and I suck on my pen , drawing out words , sentences ,phrases, anything that will give me some Truth in this fake place .

* Bronzage is French for tan (just in case you don't know French)
** Arghileh is a water pipe in Arabic (Just in case you don't know Arabic, most likely)

Painting by Lebanese American Artist : Nabil Bader

Hagar's comeback .


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
out of the pits of despair.
Remember my aloness
remember my plight.
Sarah will no longer redefine you
nor break you
her jealousy will not spite you
nor her envy overtake you
I broke free from her
world
I regained my voice
I found the words
and the lyrics
I am no longer bound,
chained in yokes
I have been in exile
in exodus
a thousand years
I finally found home
in your eternal selves.
Fear not
for fear is your enemy
Stand erect
eye the sun just like I did
soar high like eagles
unafraid of the sun's heat
Take my words
as beads of water
chant them
let them trickle down
into your being .
Taste them
drink them
and Rejoice
for I have come back
Free , finally free ."


* Hagar :Wife of Abraham . Mother of Is(h)mael, father of all Muslim Arabs. Hagar was supposedly Sarah's slave . Hagar means "a stranger" in Hebrew . Hajar in Arabic has interesting etymological roots . The verb Hajara means "to leave, abandon"and Hijra means "Exile".
** This was written to the sound of Nassir Shamma , luth player .CD :" Une Histoire d'Amour Orientale".

Painting : Iraqi Artist Ali Al Tajer.

November 16, 2006

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 .

November 15, 2006

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 I try to swallow , there is that sharp bitter caustic taste in my mouth that consumes me like Fire .
There is nothing but Death , Destruction and Grief around me .
Welcome to Iraq, Welcome to Hell .

November 13, 2006

The Rape .


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 cold winter's night
lecherous , salivating ,
groping in the darkness,
hands rubbing
their eyes roving ,
their erected bodies prowling
like wild beasts
excited at the smell of blood
at the smell of flesh
their senses tintillating
on the verge of shivers
about to explode .

they cornered Her ,
before sunrise
in the pitch blackness
of a velvety night

they nailed Her to the floor ,
gagged Her , slapped Her , kicked Her
broke Her bones,
then stripped Her naked
tearing Her clothes away
shredding them to pieces
unzipped themselves
and gang raped Her

one after the other ,
rushingly taking turns ,
forcefully penetrating Her
in frenzy
panting , drooling,
sweating,shuddering,
pouring out their lust
greed , savagery
into one climax
after another
until Her oblivion and theirs.

relieved, satisfied and content,
they spat and hastily ran
leaving Her
spread on a stone cold pavement
unconscious , bruised, naked,
drenched in semen and blood
gushing from Her Womb.

I was passing by ,
it was a rainy day .
I saw a lone stained pearl
from Her necklace
lying on ancient cobbles
I picked it up and asked
to whom does this belong ?
I was told , Her name was Iraq .

Painting by Iraqi Artist Jaber Alwan.

November 7, 2006

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 place was buzzing with noise of endless chit chats . Tray after tray of cups of Arabic coffee passing around , cigarette smoke filling the dense place .

The door abruptly opened and walked in a "foreigner". More on the heavy side , very low cut blouse , excessively tight pants , peroxide blonde hair , and a chewing gum in mouth making bubbles .
Ok , we all found out by then that she was american , the chewing gum was a give away .

Ms Amrika was accompanied by a mousey looking English woman . She was quiet and looked rather fearful , hiding in the shadow of her yankee friend .
Ms. Amrika threw her weight on the chair , stretched her legs , lit a cigarette , ordered a coffee and said : " I want my nails done and I want it fast ".

Silence fell in the room . We , women, stared at one another, and I could see some trying very hard to conceal their giggles .

Realizing that maybe she was not very welcomed after all , she tried to put on a pleasant face and attempted at striking some conversation with the woman sitting next to her . Her loud brash voice ensured that the whole crowd was overhearing her pathetic efforts .

" I just luuv yar country , the weather's awwwesome and hey Jill, don't ya just luuv the food ?"
Jill nodded in approval .
" Aym from the US of A " . No shit ! I thought to myself .
Then she gave one of those throaty hoarse laughs , tilted her head back and continued.
" Aww and the men, honey, aren't they just sooo sexy ? "
" Yar lives are so easy here , I mean , I guess, ya' all don't have to work , am I right ?"
" Are ya all kind of , ehh , kept by the men ? Awww you're all so luucky..."

I mumbled to myself : one minute we are all oppressed and one minute we are all lucky , so which one is it ? What else do they want to steal ?
One of the women sitting next to me must have heard my mumblings . She added :
" Habibtee (my dear) if they can steal our sun too , they will do it ..."

November 6, 2006

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 ?

November 5, 2006

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 whiskey , playing techno music :" we shall ,we shall fuck you "...
I see Iraqi prisoners with no trial, electrocuted and covered with excrements drinking urine from buckets handed to them by American and British soldiers . I see them forcefully masturbating themselves at gunpoint and then shot dead once they reach the ultimate American Orgasm.
I see hooded men , made to stroll naked , famished and humiliated , reminding of Nazi Ghettos.
I see 655'000 Iraqis dead , their souls hovering over Babylon awaiting Justice.
I see 1 million Iraqi Females. Widows with dependents and nowhere to go.
I see the 1.5 million victims - majority of which are babies - dead because of 12 years of brutal sanctions .
I see cancer ridden children , women and men because of Depleted Uranium.
I see kids coughing up blood with TB and foaming at the mouth with Cholera because of the insalubrity of their living conditions .
I see hospitals lacking basic necessities and I see patients under surgery given aspirin as a pain killer .
I see burnt bodies from cluster and phosphorus bombs.
I see over 700 tons of B52's raining on Iraq .
I see 70% unemployed Iraqis trying to salvage what is left of their lives .
I see over 1.7 million Iraqis fleeing in exodus and I watch empty schools and universities.
I see Paul Bremmer beaming with joy and I see the Iraqi treasury missing over20 billion Dollars.
I see Talabani and Barazani welcoming a helicopter carrying 4 Billion Dollars to so called Kurdistan and I see the Mossad training them in becoming good snipers.
I see Ahmed Chalabi and Co. being generously rewarded for their work and a GI guarding the Oil Ministry in Baghdad whilst the 7'000 years old archeological artifacts are being looted and whilst Baghdad's library with manuscripts dating as old as the 11th century burning under the blue sky of Liberation .
I see Iranian Mullahs distributing sweets rejoicing in victory.
I see Israel gleeing with joy .
I see Halliburton, Bechtel and Co auditing their profits and moving out fast because Baghdad has become too dangerous .
I see Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Syria ,Egypt and the rest waiting in anticipation for the final verdict and hoping their turn will be forgotten .
I see Saddam Hussein in a cage , like a trapped animal guarding whatever is left of his dignity.
And amidst all of that , I wonder who should really be on Trial today and what the final verdict should be ?