January 17, 2008


You know, am a music addict.

Music, books and writing give me “sanity”... Without them, I'd be a lost soul.

In them, I found solace, companionship, resonance, agreement, similarities and knowledge...

Not that it has furthered the human “cause” in any way, but it has kept me somehow sane and...hopeful.

One singer that has contributed to my sanity, is Bob Marley. And one song in particular– Redemption song.

I don’t know the lyrics by heart, but I remember that one refrain, and sometimes it just re-surfaces and plays itself over and over in my head…

“Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery
None but ourselves can free our mind...
How long shall they kill our Prophets
While we stand aside and look...?"

17 Years have elapsed...Seventeen Years, 17 Years, one and seven.

17 years have passed, since Desert Storm...Storms from the West, hot wind blowing from the Cold.

17 years and am still counting...Counting...

I wake up and sleep and I keep track, I add up. One plus one, plus two, plus three, plus a thousand, plus a million...
And I never finish adding up...

At times, I want to rip my clothes in defiance, exposing a naked body, naked to the wind...
I scream silently, hurling the numbers to the winds...to the walls, to the echoes in a dead valley.

In my mind, I take you by the collar and shake you...and I scream, look, look...look at all the dead prophets.

I take you by the collar and shake you, and scream, look, look, just look...

And you turn your head and your eyes away and you throw another theory my way.

17 years of continuous bleeding...

Sanction them, embargo them, bomb them, starve them, pollute them, annihilate them...
Erase them, one by one, erase them...Erase them.

And I scream, I am here. You will not.

And I hold on.

To my palm tree, to my ruins, to my memory, to my books, to my music...

And I hold on to a line from a poem, from a refrain...And I hold on.

I embrace them and tell them it will be just fine.

They have stopped believing me.

I rock them in my arms and chant secret mantras, "get well, I demand it..."

And they die in front of my eyes.

I say, "I beg of you don’t sell your kidney"

They smile and point towards a family of seven.

I cry out, "don’t sell your body."

They smile and point to hungry eyes.

17 years it has been going on…
17 years,
Governments have come and gone...

Once it’s democrats, once it’s republicans

And the years have passed...

The graves have swollen up with bodies

Until satiation,

But you are still not satisfied.

I have images - you sucking on intravenous bags,

Filled with blood, fresh red blood

You suck and suck...and request more...

17 years.

I see her shouting, "he’s got a hole in his back."

"She’s got two heads."

"He’s got no fingers."

"I’ve got lumps everywhere."

Meta. Metaphysics of politics. Metaphors. Metastasis...

"Take him, take her, free...I am giving it away."

How much, you ask ?

And you carry the little thing...carry it away.

17 years and so patient.

So resilient, so humble.

And we say “It is written”

And I say, You wrote it.

You wrote it for 17 years and more...

You scheduled it, planned it and executed it.

I blow in the palm of my hand.

And give myself a cool breeze,

I blow around, like some magical incantation,

I whisper go away...

I have my hand on the trigger and shout go away...

I undress in the anonymous dark, and say “Oh God , let it go away...”

I sit on pavements and wait for it to go away...

I explode myself and hope my body is a sacrifice that will take it away...


I am here

And you are there.

I see your eyes, your smiles, and 17 years written, tattooed over your bodies.

You take a piece of chalk, and tick another year away...

So do I...

And I am here and
You are there.
And we are facing each other.

Look into my eyes. Can you?

I can look into yours

Look if you can

But you will not.

You will throw more words in my face,

Like spit.

I wipe it off.

And look into yours...

You hold me and bend me

And penetrate my orifices...

I wash it all away

And I look at you.

You chain me, bruise me, and leave 17 years of scars on my flesh,

My wounds are open and I look at you.

Wherever you go, I will look at you.
Wherever you hide, I will look at you.
Wherever you run, I am here with you.
I am with you today,
I am with you tomorrow
I was here with you 17 years ago.
And even longer...

I hold the earth in my hands. I feel it in my hand,
I smell it and I smell blood mixed with soil...
I caress the walls,
I run my finger on them,
And my finger stops at your name
A name you etched, you carved...

I visit the ruins,
I chant, "oh spirits from afar..."
And your metal tanks shine in the sun
And they roar in my ears.

You are everywhere, in the opening of a body to the gates of this city.

And you keep repeating "Surrender"
And I keep looking at you...

My gaze is my weapon
My gaze is my pen
My gaze is my sword
My gaze is my resistance...

So where was I ?
Oh Yes, Redemption.

An American called Tom wrote to me, and “allowed” me to share this with you and this is what he had to say :

“How can one possibly respond to you?

I have been commenting on the obscenity that my government has been committing against the men, women and little children of your country from the relative comfort of my little apartment here...

The only death I have to deal with is from within the relative safety of a TV screen.

The only blood I've had to deal with is an occasional bloody nose (brought on, I'm sure from the frustration of knowing that I am a citizen of the new FASCIST EMPIRE - seriously)

I am going to make you a promise right here and now, Layla:

Americans - for all their faults and fucking stupidity - eventually do the right thing.

Here is my promise to you:

George W. Bush will be remembered as the first - pray, last - former chief executive of this once-great nation to go to federal prison.

He will die there.

I promise you that, Layla. As God is my witness, he will die there.

Don't give up on the American people, Layla. I would like to believe that there is, at least, a slim majority of us who want to do the right thing.”

We will all eventually die here Tom. You and I.
17 years have elapsed...
And am still waiting.
for the Redemption,

And here is the Redemption song for you.

Painting: Iraqi artist,Naji Hussein.