December 6, 2007

From the Shadows...


When they poured across the border
I was cautioned to surrender
this I could not do...
I took my gun and vanished.
I have changed my name so often
I've lost my wife and children
but I have many friends
and some of them are with me.
An old woman gave us shelter,
kept us hidden...
And the soldiers came
She died without a whisper.
There were three of us of this morning
am the only one this evening,
but I must go on
the frontiers are my prison...
Oh, the wind is blowing. Through the graves the wind is blowing.
Freedom will soon come,
and will come from the shadows...



Lyrics from the Partisan by Albert Cohen. Depicting the anti-Nazi Resistance.

World War II with its ghettos, its camps, its bombs, its rapes...The Reich all over again...

The names have changed though.

They are called Mohamed, Hassan, Khalid and Muntasir-the Victorious.

It is no Aushwitz, its called Adhamiya, Ameriya, Adil...and Gaza.

There are no 6 pointed stars, just a scan of irises and a badge...
And maybe a tattoo so you can be recognized, if you ever get lost, or if you are found lying with the dead decomposing stray dogs in a garbage dump...

There is no Gestapo, only GI’s roaming around, obsessed with the dark faces whose names they can’t even pronounce.

The American obsession with Eye Raq. With Iraq. What a strange obsession. What a fixation. Who would have thought that some American, who can’t even spell his own name will be here, polluting this land with his arsenal, with his semen, with his name, with his presence...

Who would have thought that the land of Ur, the sacred land of the prophets will be soiled by some smelly rubber boot made in China?

Who would have believed that those with no history, no persona and no identity, will come and invade those who hold so many historical masks, from the Sumerians, to the Akkadians, the Assyrians, the Babylonians...through the Abbassids, until today, until this very minute as am typing...

Names they’ve never heard of before in their whole lives...Names that don’t rhyme with John, Paul and Dick...

Who are those barbarians? Who are those pale faced skinned idiots with nasal twangs, who speak from their butt holes? Who drink beer by the gallons, burp and fart and are only good when holding a gun?
Why they are so ugly, why are they so smelly, why are they so stupid?
Only the ancient Gods know.

Who are these mediocre, shallow, hollow, idiots, running around with greasy fingers... Whose only exclamation is oh yeah or Jesus...

Jesus is spitting on them...

I don’t want to blaspheme but Jesus is also pissing on them...
Let them meet him at the fountain where he will be showering them with his glad tidings...

Who the fuck is Jose, Santos and Antonio? Who the hell is Steve, Jason and Ron?

Who are these “people”? What is their background? What are their credentials? What are they here for?

I suddenly feel am immersed in a wave of disgust...I need to wash it all off.

Ever since, I have developed this compulsion to wash things...As if to erase traces, names and memories...

It’s epidermal, it’s visceral, it’s from the depth of my guts, from the depth of my insides...You really disgust me.

Your men, your women, your administration, your soldiers, your technocrats, your academics, your politicians...All of you disgust me.


Just being reminded of you, makes me queasy. What a horrible nation, what a horrible country, what a horrible people.

I would like to join Jesus in his urinating on you...In other words I piss on you.

I also have another fantasy- but maybe it’s not a fantasy after all- that of the Universe, the Cosmos, having a big dump on all of you... One great,huge dump, and here you are wallowing in one hell of a pool.

And here you are shouting, screaming, hollering and all you get is more of the same...

A tsunami of one hell of a big shit from the heavens...
You gasp, grab each other, plead and suffocate and the Universe hearing your call, just dishes out more...of the same.
One huge, humongous dump that falls on your heads...your collective heads.
Until you all become browned faced yourselves...Until the Divine excrement fills up your nostrils and you start speaking in tongues...and finally become audible and understandable...
Until your names change from John, Paul and Dick to something slightly more bearable to the ears.

Oh yeah!

You are a failure of a people. A collective failure. Right and Left, you have failed. Not once, not twice, not thrice...but so many times, too many times to count.

You are a people incapable, constitutionally incapable of moving beyond your little worthless selves to something other.

You are a lost cause, you are a hopeless cause.

Let the Universe shit on you, that is the only thing you deserve but even then, that is too generous of It. You will be graced with shit. What a pity!
What a pity, when in fact you deserve nothing...


I see your faces in every alley way, in every corner...
In every child’s eyes.
I see your faces in every elderly, in every abandoned one, in every rubble, in every ruin...
I see your collective faces. I hear your names like some bad melody that harasses my ears...
I see your names overwritten on the bloody pavements. I see your names etched by human nails on every wall, in every cell, I see it...see them...see you.

I smell you in the streets, in the empty homes, in the empty beds...
I smell you everywhere, behind every wall. I smell you in the morgue, in the hospital, in the mud hut and in the tent...

And I hear you.
Hear your denigrations, your giggles, your humiliations, your ugly voices, your ugly accents, your ugly language...

And I recoil,
I hide in the shadows...
Shadows that you will never find.
Places you have never dreamed of.
I hide there, waiting.
Waiting for the right wind to blow my way.
Waiting for the right moment.
Waiting to be visited by the innocent souls you have banished from existence.
Waiting in the shadows...

I wear many skins...change colors, change names...
Now you see me. Now you don’t.
I love it when you are so lost and am so Here. ¨
I love it when I hear you panic, when I hear you scream “shoot the motherfucker…”

And I am here standing in the shadows.
On my territory, on my land...
I am the owner and you are nothing but an unwanted visitor.

I am rooted in the language, in the soil, in the alphabet,
You are an invading, cruel, illiterate, stranger.

When will you get the message?
A message from the shadows...



Painting: Iraqi artist, Fahmi Al-Qayssi