August 19, 2007

Dutiful Daughters...



Most Daughters are very dutiful, are they not ?
And those who no longer are, must have been at some point in the past, very dutiful...

Dutiful daughters are ageless, they can be 1 or 100, or anywhere in between. They come in all shapes, sizes and colors...

Even if they have no more reason to stay dutiful, they remain so...
To the memory, keeping it burning like a vigil. To the legacy, keeping it alive, for future generations. To the heart keeping it ticking, so it will not stop beating.
They are the story tellers dutifully giving it away...
A loyalty that is almost genetically transmitted, a form of Love, maybe at times not a very “useful” one, but a Love nonetheless.

I am sure there are dutiful sons too, but am not a son...I would not really know.

Of course, the more “ primitive”, “backward”, “underdeveloped”, the family is, the greater the loyalty, the greater the Love...

It cannot be all that bad, being primitive, backward...can it now?
But as with all great loyalties and great loves, a price tag is always attached, sometimes a heavy one.

Take me for instance. I am a dutiful daughter. Sometimes breaking at the seams but dutiful nonetheless. Keeping it on, holding it together...
It is a must, or so I believe.

When I return home after some absence, it can be two hours or two days, I am always greeted with the latest news. An avalanche of news that comes tumbling down over my head.
To the extent, that I made a pact at home. We agreed that from the minute I walk in and counting 30mn, I am not to hear any story whatsoever.
If you only know how difficult it is to keep this pact of silence, however short.
So the pact gets re-negotiated, every time I see a look of despair or angst in the eyes of someone close.
So I say : “Ok, let’s have it. What happened? Who died again?”
Then it is spurted out and the avalanche comes tumbling down, again, along with the tears...

These moments are almost always concluded with my saying: “Ok let’s go and give our condolences. This is the least we can do.”

Sometimes I get very irate when the pact is not respected and I re-renegotiate.
I say : “You are to break the 30mn pact only if someone is in the process of dying. The dead, I can do nothing about, now.”

And inevitably the 30mn are hardly over when someone blurts out : “ X has severe chest pains, clogged arteries and needs a catheter immediately - no hospital would take him” or “Y’s diabetes and hypertension are getting totally out of control and there is no medication” or “Z can’t find a doctor in the vicinity” (they all flew away or the ones present only consult from home - they closed down their clinics) or “ A. needs an injection now and she can no longer afford it”...

I sigh and say: “I’ll see what can be done” and I look at my empty hands and pray for miracles, for Divine intervention, for anything... just anything.

Sometimes I lose it totally and scream at the top of my lungs: “ Who the hell do you think I am ? Joan of Arc or Florence Nightingale ? Give me stuff I can do something about!”

Or I explode and shout: “ Yes that’s it. Death, dying, illness... For once give me a piece of news that is different. A marriage, a birth or even a divorce. What’s happening, no one is getting married or divorced anymore?”

My family looks at me and it is usually my mother who shakes her head in disbelief and says: “ Jnoon, wallah, jnoon” (Madness, by Allah, this is madness.) And this is usually followed by a sullen silence that falls on us like a brick. The brick of powerlessness. Theirs and mine.

And every single time, I go through the whole ritual, feeling guilty and thinking of ways of metamorphosing into a Florence Nightingale or a Heart surgeon...

But am not the only one in this predicament. There are thousands of other dutiful daughters around me, in much worse conditions with more tragic stories...

Take for example the daughter sold into prostitution because her father can no longer afford feeding her and he says “ At least she will have something to eat.” (read FULL article here and you MUST – ENOUGH of your blinkers !)

Or the daughters forced into the oldest trade, servicing your brave boys or the rich clients abroad – one way of feeding their family. And these dutiful daughters with no choice, acquiesce.
(another article for you here)

And there are also, dutiful daughters lingering in overcrowded prisons with no trials, waiting for their names to be called to the gallows. And of course there are dutiful daughters being hunted down.

One of them is Raghad Saddam Hussein Al Majid. The daughter of the legitimate President of Iraq.
A woman, who lost her father in a state organized murder, her brothers, her husband, her country. She is also a mother, a sister, an aunt...

A warrant has been issued for her arrest. So called “insurgency” charges.
One article states that her mother Sajida is also wanted, as well as 41 other names on the “hit” list. Another article says that Raghad Saddam Hussein will meet the same fate as her father.
Not only her, but anyone who praises the martyr and hero Saddam Hussein is considered a threat.
And if you happen to be someone who wants to keep the memory alive, then you also qualify.
And even if you happen to dislike Saddam Hussein but you happen to be a patriotic Iraqi or a nationalist Arab, then you also qualify.
All these above categories are fit for execution according to our new democratic sectarian shia government.

My female instincts tell me, and I really hope am very wrong this time, that the sectarian, shia, Iranian government - put in power by the free and democratic government of the U.S.A, to silence the Iraqi people – are preparing another “gift” for the Eid. Just like the one they "offered" us on the 30th of December 2006.

Another way to deal a psychological and political blow to the Resistance. And another way to remind us what will await us should we resist as well.

Come to think of it, I am very “surprised” that this kind of dictatorship does not make you feel uneasy. I am equally “surprised” that you all barked at the “totalitarian”, “oppressive”, “dictatorial” regime of Saddam Hussein, when what is happening on a daily basis does not really move you. “He killed his own people” you kept barking and barking...and you managed to produce so many reports, that you, oh so wonderfully created. Did you not ? And you barked so more...

But when a million Iraqis are killed in 4 years, by the so called democratic government's militias and thugs and by your own brave boys issued from a so called democratically elected government, you always manage to come up with that same lame, ugly sentence of yours, when cornered : “Well you see, he killed his own people.”

For those of you out there, who are “bothered” by my “constant” reference to Saddam Hussein, not only as an inspiration, not only as a symbol but as the personification of the UNITY of Iraq, a country soon to be divided into pieces, and as an emblem of a true anti- imperialist, patriotic, secular, lover of this land, this is my final reply to you :

As a dutiful daughter of this Land. As my Father’s and Mother’s daughter. As a daughter of Iraq, I openly and publicly declare the following :

If Raghad Saddam Hussein, the woman, the mother, the sister, the wife, the daughter, is left to be lynched like her father...
If any of you allow it to happen again and any of you can mean - Iraqis, Arabs, Americans, Europeans, Asians, Indians, Africans, South Americans...
You, the U.N and its agencies. You the NGO’s and governmental institutions.
You, "anti-war", rightist, leftist, centrist. You, academics, students...
You, layperson, citizen, whatever your religion, race or gender...

If you let that happen, any of you, I will publicly renounce my Iraqi origins.
I will burn my birth certificate, my passport and my identity card. I will change the color of my hair, will change the color of my skin, will change my name...
I will declare myself a persona non grata, an outcast, with no identity, no name, no land, no origins and no roots.
I will dutifully bear the void of nothingness and the feeling of erring, rather than bear witness to one more Iraqi being hanged and then sit and listen to the deafening silence that will follow...
And I will tell you, take it , have it, it will no longer be a loss for me.
I can no longer be associated with this sinking ship called not only Iraq, but the “human race”. Yours.

So dutiful Daughters of Iraq and elsewhere...
Instead of shopping for “cloths” and “clothes” with which you hide yourselves or adorn and expose your dead bodies, use them for making voodoo dolls.
And instead of sewing and knitting, use your pins and needles to jab truths.
And instead of carrying your brooms to sweep, use them to fly...across barriers and frontiers.
And instead of your salads and soups, make magic potions...
And instead of your whining and nagging, recite mystical incantations...
And find IT.

The witch hunt has begun. And you are to become witches again.
Dutiful daughters that you are.
It is already there, it is already in you.

As, for you the sons...? I don't know, am not a son. You tell me.

P.S: Thank you Souad Massi - the wonderful Algerian singer- for accompanying me tonight.

Painting : Iraqi female artist, Betool Fekaiki