February 28, 2008

Skins in Captivity....


This is the first time I ever begin a post with an Arabic insult –Wa awlad al Gahbah.

Sons of whores.

I have nothing against forced prostitution, and I do not judge it, but I have everything against you, Ya Awlad al Gahbah.

Whores, whoredom, is no simple prostitution...oh no! It is not. Whoredom is way deeper that selling one's body for a few dollars, euros or dinars...

Whoredom is a system, a way of being, a way of cognizance, a way of life...
And you are the professional, expert whores...

You are the whores sitting in fortresses, in towers, made of invisible walls, made of words, made of language, made of a rationalizing "intellect", made of protocols and diplomacy...made of savagery...

The high class whores of this world.

Let me spit on you, let my saliva drip and dribble on your fences, like some signature, a signature of recognition...a recognition of your Whoredom.

Whoredom, Kingdom, Freedom -- the "Freedom" of captives, chained by their ankles...

With pores oozing blood and pus, covered in scabs...parasitical mites itching, eating away at your epidermis. You scratch, leaving marks from dirty long nails. You scratch like an animal soothing a rabid infection...

Somewhere, you still have a memory of being embodied in a human form , but everything around you reminds you that you are not. So you keep on scratching...
You peel the skin away, with those dirty nails, and the parasite appears, salutes you and nests there in another pore, in a follicile –- a companion.

You develop a bond, in the solitude of the night...You domesticate it and it domesticates you...

Then you remember your human form – you ignore the parasite, and stare through the tight metal grille. You pretend it is a mild, timid, summer night, with a full moon veiling itself, hiding behind the nonchalant leaves of a palm tree.

And in that timid night, you become that cunning lover, flirting away with that proud palm tree, teasing her, coaxing her, fiddling your way through her leaves, through her branches...

After a while you give up. You believe she is ignoring you...

You call onto the night, which you have imagined painted on the wall facing your cell. You draw your fingers through the tight metal grille, you call onto her...and you feel the cold metal waking you up from your mirage...

You scream in horror, you have been led into yet another delusion...

The guard shows up.

You glimpse through that tiny opening, where you painted your palm tree and your seductive night, and you see his dark yellow teeth and the slimy catarrh stuck in his nose, in his throat, like some pebble that he clears and swallows, before addressing you.

You mumble something, but you have already forgotten what it was...

The parasite lodged in your skin smiles...it won again.

You are used to it by now. It has happened before. That tiny thing is so conniving.

In the morning, your sores are bleeding, oozing out more whitish pus, turning the strings of blood into a light pink, like some rose petals stuck to your body...

You look at your skin in the dim daylight of your cell, and you curse the mirage that has magnetized you to the small barred window...

And in a resigned daze, you hear the loud voices of a new shift of guards, a new shift who did not witness your delusional, parasitic mirage –- calling out your name...

You salivate at the sound of your name, like some infested, eager dog...

"Kamel Al, your wife brought you some Gaymar"(a thick cream made of buffalo milk)

The guard hands the plate through the metal bars, presenting it to you sideways...you are hoping it will stick to the plate like some magic glue and not splatter onto the soiled, stenchy floors, covered with dermal scales, feces and urine...

You carefully unseal the small plate...But you sniff it first, like a dog hungry for its master.

And while you close your eyes, you imagine your wife's hands, you get a whiff of her hands...and that whiff takes you to your home, your neighborhood, your territory, your land...

An you keep on sniffing...inhaling some imaginary odor from something, someone familiar...An odor you recognize, permeating a plastic wrap.

Your lungs surge with hope...

You finally unwrap the plastic plate, dip your finger, that finger that has been scratching and chasing away parasites...you dip it in, anticipating the smells, the tastes...of home.

Then, with your furred tongue from dehydration you spit it out and you curse...

That plate pretending to be a generous thick cream from home is nothing but a white antibiotic squeezed out from a tube...

A white creamy antibiotic to help you alleviate your itching in the still of a cunning night, where parasites are eating away at your skin...

Your wife had brought in a tube, it was refused by the bearded guards who amuse themselves with slurring you -- as a past time, because of your sect...

She returned home, spread it on a plate and brought it back to you pretending it was a plate of Gaymar.

She does miss you and love you.

And a Resisting Love under Occupation is shrewdly cunning.

As cunning as that Palm tree feigning indifference,
As cunning as those invading mites, occupying our bodies,
As cunning as the parasites holding our skins and yours in captivity...


NB: This is dedicated to my relative Kamel, over 60 years old, detained for over a year with no charges and no trial. His health has greatly deteriorated since. He is not the only one. There are over 100'000 Iraqi prisoners, mainly Sunnis, all in captivity -- the captivity of Freedom.

Painting : Iraqi artist, Jassem Kheder.