Short Bedtime Stories...

I would have really liked to sing you a bedtime lullaby. Alas, it is simply not possible. And in most likelihood, my voice will keep you very awake. Surely, I do not want to be a cause for your insomnia.
So am offering you a few short stories to lull you into unconsciousness, into a deep catatonic sleep...(not that you really need it.) But just in case you are losing sleep over the ongoing Iraqi genocide.

Once upon a time...

* Once upon a time, was Badiaa, Kamel's wife.
She lived in a small house, borrowed house. Her husband is detained by the American dwarfs and her son has been killed by the same dwarfs.

She would spend many hours sitting in her kitchen, talking to herself.
She sold most of the remaining furniture she had. Only three kitchen chairs were left and she confided in them. Sometimes pretending her husband or son were sitting opposite her and listening to her woes...

One night, not long ago, at 1 am, the "Iraqi" army and the dwarfs stormed her home.
They searched, ransacked and destroyed the little she had left.

"Why, why? Is it not enough you took my husband and killed my son. Why destroy the little I have?"
"It is for your own security. You have a sniper on your roof."

Of course, Badiaa has no electricity. She uses an oil lamp. One of the guards kicks the lamp.
No Genie or sniper came out. But a fierce fire spread wildly, catching the doors, the walls,the curtains and the chairs...

Half of Badiaa's house is now burned down.
"We will send you a cheque." They laughed and walked away in the night.

Now Badiaa has only one chair left in the kitchen. Her walls are smoky black, her doors burned to ashes and her curtains eaten up by fire...
She still sits in the kitchen. She has stopped talking to herself now that the two other chairs are gone.

* Once upon a time was Nasser.
Half of Nasser's family has been decimated, slaughtered by the dwarfs right where the Butcher prospered most...
Every other day Nasser has a funeral.
A family member, 20 years old was detained by the dwarfs and held up in some dungeon in Baghdad for months. No trial, no charges.
For months he was "interrogated" in that dungeon and then transferred to another dungeon in Southern Iraq, a sectarian Iranian stronghold.
After several months, the dwarfs decided to release him. No charges.
They called him up. "Be ready to leave. You will be signing some release papers tomorrow." One more night in the dungeon and he will be free.
That same day, the sectarian militias and some say the dwarfs (and I say both) bombed the prison. A prison filled with Iraqi sunnis.(Omar was there too.)
The boy is dead. He finally left the

* Once upon a time was Radhee.
A bright, smart, quick witted man...
Radhee has been without a job for well over a year. Radhee is stuck in a walled Sunni enclave called Adhamiya.
Radhee spends his days devising ways and routes to get to the grocer without being shot at by snipers, militias or the dwarfs...
Radhee gave up his daily schemes. Besides you cannot find any fruits or vegetables in the Adhamiya market and meat and eggs are a luxury from the past.
Radhee has no electricity, Radhee has no gasoline.
So Radhee ingeniously invented a way to bake bread in his backyard.
He uses the legs of his furniture as wooden logs and places newspapers on top.
The whole invention makes for a flamboyant outdoor oven. Radhee and his family can now survive on bread and water. Nice home made bread baked on torn furniture parts and newspapers.
One hundred newspaper publications and "free" press have come in very handy. Radhee is now living happily ever "after."

* Once upon a time was Salam.
Salam, a beautiful, educated young woman...
After her kidnapping and her battering ordeal, Salam has become agoraphobic.
She not only is unable to leave the house, she cannot even leave her bedroom.
She lies in bed most of the time, staring at the ceiling and her staring is punctuated by sporadic screams "Please don't, please don't."

* Once upon a time was Raouf.
Raouf, a handsome, loving caring man...
Raouf can no longer sit straight. His ribs all are broken, his wounds badly infected...
He has more stories to tell you and me. Stories that his bruises kept well hidden.
Cigarette burns adorn his body like dark brown halos, like dim, dying stars...

Raouf cannot lie on his back, cannot walk, cannot move...
He is slouched all day and all night, inert, his head bent down and his pictures and papers safely tucked close to him...
Raouf sits, swallowing his open wounds and the stories they hide, in total silence...

Once upon a time, there was us, there was me.
Once upon a time, there were others, many others...
Once upon a time, there were peaceful nights and dreams.
Once upon a time, a long, long time ago.

Sleep well.

Painting: Iraqi female artist, Yaqeen Al-Dulaimi.


Anonymous said…
No, Layla.

We shall not sleep.

We shall stay up by Iraq's sick-bed throughout the night.


Like Gilgamesh should have.

And like Saddam Hussein, the guardian of dreams, did.

Till the sun rises again and shines upon its recovery.

We promise you.
Anonymous said…
how does the story end?
Anonymous said…
The opportunity to secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself. ....siw
Anonymous said…

How would you like it ?

Make wishes to defeat the Nothing.
Anonymous said…
a happy ending hala so i can get sum sleep
Anonymous said…
You will have it, JR. We will all have it ..

"But first" (sorry Dumbya, gotta borrow yer ol' two-word mantra !!) Iraq is to be liberated, re-unified and restored to its sovereignty.

Therefore ..

Hey, you over there ! Comrades slowcoaches ! Speed it up, will you ?

JR needs to go to beddy-byes !!
Anonymous said…
hands jr a binky.
Layla Anwar said…

that sounds a classic line from the Art of War. Good observation.
Layla Anwar said…
JR, if you need to get some restful sleep, I suggest you do not read anything about Iraq. That will keep you very awake and might even be a cause for severe insomnia.Trust me on that one.
Do you need a tranx?
Layla Anwar said…
Hala, very nice.
Am waiting for your blog...
Sudeaux Lux said…
I wish I had more to offer than just my tears, Layla. Very nicely written. Thank you.
Anonymous said…
anon u knobhead how abt i hand u a smack in the mouth??
Anonymous said…
layla plz can u reserve sunday evenings for more lighthearted pieces....i need to be fresh and alert on monday mornings.
Anonymous said…
this post is very reminiscent of "Just a little "Gossip" for some reason
Anonymous said…
Hala, very nice.
Am waiting for your blog...


yeah come on hala.....what are u wating for???????????
Anonymous said…
what the hell kind of page is that???
Anonymous said…
"The wicked backspin caught you off guard. How will you play it off without losing your footing?

Simple. With my half-twist, reacharound muff diving lob. "

what's a muff diving lob??
Anonymous said…

First of all, why on earth do you have to "yell" at me ??

I thought we were friends :-(

As for your question, the answer is two-fold: one poetic and the other "annoyingly" realistic.

MYSELF (some hope ..) and, as I told Layla in another thread (but you won't be patient to read/live through things ..), TIME.

Now take the tranx Layla kindly "gave" you and see if you can make it off to some peace and quiet - at least you ..

Then come back and help us entertain the Grim Reaper with stories of your travels in Dreamland.

Nite nite.
Anonymous said…
And then the Dwarfs return to Dreamland and never dream of the nightmares they have engineered. Or do they? Some do. Dwarfed in the cranium that dictate their actions. Very simple! Even Dwarfs don't need a cranium to send a junior missile (bullet) on its way, or a foot to kick a lamp or some anatomy to issue a wicked cackle (laugh). Many dwarfs are "dwarfing" for college money. College, to accomodate the "dwarfed" minds or only their money. What does God have to say? God speaks... Tears... emotions... faith... endurance... sadness... ... ... the Dwarfs know not... In Dwarfs' castle... funeral... coffins draped with curtains... stars and stripes... women in dark shades, kleenex under their noses... muffled sniffles... who kicked their lamp?
Anonymous said…
My heart bleeds, and my brain screams. Please include in your 'once upon a time' that there are hundreds of thousands of us here in the belly of the beast doing something every single day aimed at ending this Kafkaesque horror. Powerless but not voiceless.
Anonymous said…
Ya Layla, Kan ya ma kan...

Depressing but splendid post. As Barbara said, there are 1,000's of us trying to take back what's left of our country and praying we can assist you to take back yours. Unfortunately, it doesn't look that good for either of us.
But barqlofiq ya orti, your voice is important.
Anonymous said…
maybe evil gnome would be more apropiate, as dwarfs are not even from the same planet as the ones you call of my friends is a dwarf..and she is the sweetest soul you could meet..
Anonymous said…
Anonymous said…
Dear Reflections in a glass bottle....

Often when I read your words of wisdom, like the song of the nightingale, it resounds in my soul and often I feel a tear run down my cheek as I read the words, and imagine the pain, of a woman that has felt the devastation of the cowardly occupation of Iraq by the Bush crime syndicate and its agents.

I am so so sorry that men of ill will from a once noble America have been empowered with the brutal power of unbridled aggression and the capacity for wholesale destruction of a nation and its people while in pursuit of a safer Middle East for the pariah Jew's of that 1/2 acre of Zionist hell and/or the wholesale theft of Iraqi oil.

Let us pray that the 'end is near' and that the US Congress will see the wisdom in putting the NeoCon thugs aside and allowing wiser men take over the reins before America is totally destroyed.

Tombstone, AZ.
Anonymous said…
Who kicked their lamp asks Life..?

...they kicked their own lamp when they chose to walk down the path of war.

May the People of Iraq shed themselves of these daemons and once AGAIN find Peace.
Thank you.
Anonymous said…
I hope all is well with you.

In their unfathomable arrogance, the plunderers of Iraq, by their inimagineable cruelty have planted the seeds of their own destruction.

The Plunderers, by their callous and frivolous disregard for the basic needs of the Iraqi People (like Peace and quiet, not to mention the most basic needs of food, water, sanitation etc.), have planted these seeds deep into the hearts of the People.

...for those who survive this attempt to depopulate Iraq will be those tough, wiley, resourceful individuals who can thrive under these most horrible conditions. The absolute hatred in their hearts was created by the hardships, miseries, disrespects and horrors they have seen their loved ones endure.

These seeds, well watered with the blood and tears of the Iraqi People will quickly sprout and spread.

Like a beautiful Iraqi rose gone mad, it will quickly encircle these would be 'full spectrum dominators' shredding them in its thorny branches as they desperately, in panic, try to flee this hell they will have made for themselves.

May they rest in pieces. All of them.

I hope I see this day when the Noble People of Iraq shed themselves of this filth that has illegally, immorally attacked, occupied and plundered their lands.

May the People of Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon, and Afghanistan one day ONCE AGAIN enjoy Peace.

We ALL must fight for Peace as ruthlessly as do those who make WAR$.

In solidarity... the struggle continues...


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