March 4, 2007

Point Zero...

I don't get bored easily. I have my own universe inside my head and it keeps me company.
I find a 1000 things to think, do, or sometimes I just sit for hours and do nothing and I consider that to be the height of activity...which I have named very proudly, the art of being.

But for some reason, today I feel bored, a kind of blah, numb feeling...An unusual state for me.
As I am inquisitive by nature, I like to go to the bottom of things. So this is exactly what I did.
I took my boredom and placed in front of me, right there, on my writing table.
And we had this long conversation and I shall make you privy to bit and pieces of it.

- Hello do you have a name? I am Layla
- Yeah I have a name - Bored.

- Nice meeting you Bored, so how are you?
- It is all senseless - it simply makes no sense anymore.

- What is exactly senseless?
- The whole thing is absurd. It defies me. I can no longer grasp anything.

- What thing?
- Don't play clever with me. You know exactly what thing am referring to.

- Well, no, you tell me what thing.
- Everything. Life, people, theories, politics, the universe, makes no sense anymore.

- In comparison to what?
- In comparison to what I believed before.

- Before what?
- Before the Occupation.

- And what happened since?
- I lost all my points of reference, all my sign posts. I am erring and am tired of erring.

- Erring where?
- Don't be silly Layla. You know damn well. Erring into nothingness...erring into some wishful thinking that it will all be over, erring into the belief that life will be "normal" again.

Sensing that Bored was opening up, I let him talk ....

- Tell me more please.
- I am tired of thinking about suffering, pain and misery. I am tired of seeing poverty, disease, violence, madness, brutality. I am fed up living on the fringes of life when others are living it fully... I am fed up of being marginalized in some corner of the globe, whilst others are living their lives normally... I am fed up of waiting for better days. I am fed up of being a witness to blood, shredded bodies, corpses in garbage dumps ... I am sick of seeing children begging. I am sick of hearing about women getting raped. My ears can no longer take the sound of explosions. My eyes can no longer see soldiers, armed men and guns. I am tired of worrying about Depleted Uranium seeping into my body. I am fed up of people telling me how horrible their lives are. I am saturated with stories of the unemployed, the sick, the wounded, the abandoned, the neglected, the tortured, the exiled, the dead...

- What else?
- I am longing for life like others. I want my family, my loved ones, my friends to have a life again. I want to be able to go dancing, to have dinner in a restaurant, to find a job, to go shopping, to walk in the streets, to not worry about lack of water or electricity or a bomb tearing me or others in pieces. I want to be able to take my mother for a drive, I want to go to a concert, I want to watch a film, I want to visit relatives, I want to attend weddings, or go to church or to a mosque... I want to congratulate someone on the birth of their child. Did you know people stopped getting married and reproducing out of fear? You know what that means don't you? That means they stopped making Love from fear of Death.

- Yes I heard that too. Remember little Hassan and the face I made when I heard that Mayssaloon was pregnant?
- Yes I remember...We are thinking like zombies, like nazis, like some puritans forbidding life. They make me sick Layla. They really make me sick.

- Who is they?
- All of them - specially those people in the West.

- What makes you say that?
- They write and write but really don't give a damn. I tried telling a few, they change subjects...they are not interested. Or when they express interest, they are condenscending, patronizing, looking down at me as if I was some reject that they need to save. They are the cause and they want to save me. Let them save themselves first.
Even out of our misery, they want to make trophies for themselves. Competing as to who shouts louder but they really don't give a fuck about us.
I will give you an example. I saw this article a few weeks ago, the title was "Iraqis are people too." I don't even want to remember the name of the author. Can you imagine what kind of person would write a title like that. What kind of vision this person has to need to go overboard and ascertain that we are people too.
Needless to say I did not even bother to read the article. With a title like that, what else can come from it but more crap along the same lines...
You know what bugs me most?

- What?
- They are either colonizers or missionaries. They are either here to steal, rape, inflict pain, destroy and kill or they play the holy ones and want to save us from their brethren hands.
But of course, they never look at their brethren and see they are made of the same blood and flesh.
And when I say missionaries, I don't mean priests and all that nonsense...We have those too. They come and rob and massacre us and then preach to us about deliverance and loving thy neighbor...How I hate them all.
They come and tell us what is good for us and what is bad for us...They believe they know better what our lives were like and then sit and pontificate on how we should be and what is the best outcome...when they know fuck all...How can they? They have not even walked one yard in our shoes.
Have you noticed how they are all so important? Each one of them, left and right. They used our cause to promote themselves haven't they?

I nod affirmatively...

- They have marginalized us out of this world , rendered us into survivors relying on instincts like some primate animal in a cage and they come and expect us to be "civil"... swallowing our pain and putting on a brave face. Have you noticed that too?
- Yes I have

- And you know what else? They put us in a corner and strip us of all options and then point their finger at us and say "See the savage, see the terrorist"...
Then they write in their typical fashion about the "psychology" of the suicide bomber deliberately refusing to look at how they turned him into one...They probably killed his whole family, tortured him, humiliated him and drove him into self explosion...
Then they sit and wonder why there is no peace and theorize if we are capable of it or not...Layla they are criminals of the worst kind.

Do you remember when we used to travel? Remember how we noticed how they would protect their own lives. How their leisure, rest and fun time were so important. How their screwed loves affairs were the center point of all their conversations. How they would nag and complain about queues and waiting for buses. How they expected that every need of theirs be catered for. How they worried about their dog catching cold if taken for a walk in the rain. Remember some would even buy organic food for it ...
- Yes Bored, I remember.

-Do you remember how important their health and well being are to them? They care about second hand smoke, about their weight, their cholesterol level, the radiation from the electricity poles...
But they come and pollute us with all their garbage. Their junk food, their radioactivity, their expired forbidden drugs, their canned food, their bombs...They dumped on us all the stuff they refuse to touch...
Our lives are so cheap in their eyes. Our blood is worthless, we can be dispensed of so easily ...The rift is so vast Layla , it is getting wider and wider...
-Yes I am aware of that.

-You know something else, even those who are so called "sympathizers", they are just another form of orientalist mind colonizers. They want to steal the language, the history, the looks, the art, the culture and appropriate it in the name of Love for the Orient. There is hardly anything altruistic about any of their motives.

- Surely they are not all that way?
- Well clearly Layla, I am not inside each woman's or man's heart. I am talking about a trend, a general tendency.
See, even amongst those who convert to Islam, you have met a few of them yourself. Remember how they have taken up the same attitude of the colonizer. Teaching us the proper way even though they have just joined the religion for a few weeks...It's the mentality's deep, it's a pathology.

- So Bored, what do you suggest we do?
- There is not much we can do....see why I am here now?
- Yes I see clearly.

- And the others, the Arabs, say "This is your destiny- just accept"..."Allah willed it this way." How can they say nonsense like that when it is their political sell out and sluggishness that willed it that way.
In their limited minds, Allah is a tribal chief...Whilst Allah proned to even kill animals in a merciful way...
Layla, this is making me very angry, I cannot go on...I need to stop and make it all disappear.

- Bored, me too.

- So what do you say, shall I go back inside again and you feel numb once more?
- Great idea, let's do that...

So Bored re-incorporated himself inside my mind...Numbness was bliss after that conversation.
I smoked my final cigarette for the day, inhaled, exhaled, stubbed it out and took Bored with me to bed. We both needed to rest and face another Point Zero day tomorrow, maybe, inshallah, if God wills it.

PS. For the article on Iraqis being too scared to get married and have it here.

Painting: Iraqi female artist, Suheir Salman.