A Delicate Resilience...

Do you know what Resilience means ?

Resilience is not Resignation. It is not Abdication. It is not Submission. It is not Acceptance...

Resilience is a very powerful state, an inner state and only those who experienced it know its exact definition.

Resilience is under-rated, un-recognized, ill-defined. Social Scientists, psychologists, and your riff raff self proclaimed "analysts" know nothing of it. You probably know nothing of it yourself...

Since quite a few of you are so ignorant, it is so shameful, I will give you two definitions of Resilience.

Resilience is :

1. the power or ability to return to the original form, position, etc., after being bent, compressed, or stretched; elasticity.

2. ability to recover readily from illness, depression, adversity, or the like; buoyancy

Now, I've met a few resilient people. All the Iraqis I meet in exile are resilient.

If there is anything at all that this Occupation and its hideous brutality taught us are - endurance, perseverance and RESILIENCE.

Resilience, again not to be confused with resignation, is a most interesting concept, state, way of being to observe, experiment and write about . And it is the most difficult to convey as well...

The best way to illustrate Resilience is by sharing stories with you. Real stories.

Recognizing Resilience necessitates two things: 1) humility. Without humility you will be unable to recognize Resilience when you come across it. Resilience is not pompous. It does not shout loud. It is the voice of the silent majority – those with no voice or a barely audible one...So for you to recognize it, you need lots of humility.

What is humility ? Humility is very simple. It is suspending ALL judgment, all preconceived notions, all theories, all concepts, all analysis and simply listening...

And the second prerequiste to recognize Resilience is 2) listening in between the words, lines...to what is not said. It requires the utmost carefulness, presence... It also necessitates that you rise above a situation and meet the person right where that other person is. Because a resilient person is exactly that - someone who rose above a situation even when he/she doesn't know it themselves...

Another cue to recognize resilience when you meet it -- you will be struck by its manifest simplicity. At first you may mistake it for naivety, but it is not. It is a simplicity of a resilient being "en toute connaissance de cause" – meaning, knowing fully well what happened, the consequences of what happened, the ramifications of what happened and still opting for "the original state" – the one before the event.

Resilience is not perfect, nor is it linear. It cannot be explained by a Cartesian mind. It is no cause and effect. It is cause and overcoming effect. It is beyond effect. Resilience is so powerful, it is almost a state of grace without the religious connotations. And yet it is so humble, so unassuming, that it can easily pass you by, ever so silently, tiptoeing...

You need to refine your senses, to tune them in, to recognize Resilience, because Resilience is ever so subtle...

It makes no noise. It has no propaganda outlet. It does not speak a particular language and has no color, gender, religion or sect attached to it either...

Resilience is delicate. And you need to be delicate to see it, otherwise you will miss out on the most powerful weapon of Resistance around...

I did say I will illustrate with living examples and am hoping you will be "delicate" enough to capture the essence of these living examples am about to give you.

Hossam, 40 something, half Sunni, half Shia. No malice in his eyes. No meanness in his voice. An unassuming, unostentatious man. Nothing particular to him. No specific traits. Except a web of kindness and generosity that envelops you when you meet him. If you are tuned in that is...

His father, 77 years old, was kidnapped by the sectarian Shia police. It is a miracle the father is still alive. He was tortured day and night for 7 days. He would be released for a sum of 350'000 dollars. Hossam didn't have the sum. He sold everything he owned and borrowed some more in exchange for his father's release from the so-called Iraqi police. He's the only son and wanted his father alive at any cost. He managed to collect the sum, and drove to a godforsaken place to hand over the money in exchange for his father.

The kidnappers sent a masked man to collect the money and told him his father will be released the following day. That following day, he received a phone call. One of the abductors told him.

"The sum lacks 50 dollars. As a punishment for you, you are to go and fetch us, another 50'000 dollars."

But, I counted. It is exactly what you asked for – 300'00 dollars. There are no 50 dollars missing" Hossam recounts.

" Are you trying to mess with us ? Do you want your father totally dead, he is half dead already...So will you accept your punishment of an extra 50'000 dollars or do you want your father totally finished ?"

Hossam spent other sleepless nights, gathering the extra 50'000 dollars for his 77 years old father's release. He finally managed to give the rest of his "punishment money" to the police. His father was released 48 hours later, and not the following day as promised -- an "extra punishment"-- they said.

Once the father released, the son immediately sent him outside of Iraq a few days later. He said to me

" His back was so black from torture, it was blacker than the shirt you're wearing. It is a miracle he didn't die. My mother died when I was young and the only one left was my father. I would have done anything for him to live on. I am not a courageous man, but I was given courage. I don't know how and why...My old man still screams in the middle of the night and he wakes me up with his screams and his nightmares but I say nothing to him. I don't want him to remember...I am protecting him. He doesn't know how much he's hurting. As for me, I am forgetting details of the whole story. I am sure they are very ignorant people. I don't hate them. I am simply surprised because I don't recognize all of this....We were never like that before... Anyway, I am glad it did not affect me as much as I thought it would and I was able to somehow overcome it. Now, let me tell you how to make roses blossom. You need the right gardening skills...you need to water the patch every other day...Roses are delicate and need to be treated with care..."

Hossam's Resilience are in his roses.

Ali, a 13 year old boy. He was kidnapped by the sectarian Shia militias for 3 weeks when he was 12 years old. Ali stutters when he speaks. And he has this lost gaze in his eyes when no one is watching. Someone who knows him well, told me that he was tortured, sodomized, raped for three weeks on end...And this is when his stuttering begun. He never "speaks" of the incident. Besides he has no one to speak to. His father was killed in 2006 and his mother is very ill. Ali doesn't go to school, but Ali has dreams and plans for the future. When you ask him what he wants to be when he "grows up", he says he with a smile that melts you heart -- "I want to become a policeman and a doctor."

So I asked him -- "Both ? You want to become both ?"

"Yes, both. So I can take away the bad people and heal the wounds." And he says it without a stutter, no stutter whatsoever. His face lights up and his smile captivates you....

And his Resilience lies in between the gaps, in his no stutter, that space where all is reversible and possible...

Iman, 30 something, already a widow, with two kids. Diagnosis -- Severe Post traumatic Depression.

Iman's husband was murdered by the sectarian militias on his way to work on February morning. Iman had lost both of her parents a year before. Her younger sister, Magida,lived with her. And one morning, the JAM -Jaysh al Mahdi of Muqtada Al-Sadr, knocked on her door. Iman opened. They stormed in, gang raped Magida, dragged her to the porch and set her on fire alive, in front of her sister,Iman.
Iman took the kids and escaped outside of Baghdad.

She now lives in a insalubrious one room piece called an apartment. Her kids don't attend school and she lives off charity. Iman is severely depressed. A catatonic depression, punctuated with vivid images of a sister on fire.

Yet...Iman receives you with impeccable manners. Her one room flat is spotless despite its lack of water and electricity. She even manages to dab some lipstick on and prides herself with --"I am told I make the best coffee in town." And she even manages a smile when she serves you her cup of coffee.

And she sits silent and asks you out of the blue "Do you like the coffee?"

And your nostrils filled with the aroma, transporting you away from her murdered husband and her sister on fire, you nod with "yes, perfect".

And she smiles so more, and you see life slowly seducing itself back, in between her droopy eyelids...

Iman's resilience is in her coffee.

Well, I did warn you these are no "extraordinary stories". These are just moments, inklings of grace, stepping stones of sanity....

Remember, Iraqis don't have the luxury of your 5th avenue, 300 $ /an hour therapist, helping you find your own resilience...

We rely on what is left of our senses, the delicacies of simple, ordinary occurrences...

We find ours in the simple things in life....a rose garden, a child's non stuttering dream or a cup of coffee...

And our Resilience is our Resistance.

A simple Resistance. A daily Resistance. A drop of sanity in the sea of your psychopathic, mad, criminally insane Occupation...Our Resilience, our Resistance....

And, drop by drop...like a limpid water delicately carving, splitting, a hard rock --you shall be driven out...Out.

Painting : Iraqi artist, Sina Atta.


Anonymous said…
Beloved Iraqis all,

In you, I see everything beautiful. You are an inspiration, a lesson to us all ... and your resilience is one of your outstanding characteristics, among so many others. How I wish the world could get to see this ... I've run out of tears.

Dearest Layla, thank you for this very beautiful post. You have done great justice to your people - thank you and God bless you, all the Hossams, all the Alis and all the Imans, so many, many of them.

In solidarity.
Anonymous said…
So I asked him -- "Both ? You want to become both ?"

"Yes, both. So I can take away the bad people and heal the wounds." And he says it without a stutter, no stutter whatsoever.

The words of an angel - God bless and protect them all.
Anonymous said…
Speechless. This post is perfect. Thank you for sharing Layla.

Anonymous said…
Resiliently brilliant.
Thank you.
Anonymous said…
Anonymous said…
"like a limpid water delicately carving, splitting, a hard rock"

This is the second time I hear these words from an Iraqi...a very dear friend of mine, a resilient and resistant man...God only knows where he is now...
Anonymous said…
Very humane, very feminine piece...

The Resistance leaders won't take offense if I say I would like to see Iraqi women like you take care of the country after the inevitable liberation, will they ? ;-)
Anonymous said…
Man never made any material as resilient as the human spirit.” Bernard Williams

Keep bending.....don't break...This too shall pass.

As Always Layla...Love Your Style....
Anonymous said…
KARLMARXWASRIGHT--I never have the words to TRY to describe what you capture. Words always sound hollow to me when confronted by anguish. Your descriptions are eloquent, but, I am still confronted with the anguish. The anguish remains.
Anonymous said…
Resillience means your brother kissing my ass!!! And not that he can come anywhere near!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Resillience means your Saddam can GO TO HELL!!!!!!!!!!!! How about that you shmırky little wahhabi!!!????
Anonymous said…
I am talking about the karlmarkswasrifght organization!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And for MUSTAFA KEMAL ATATÜRK; you can all kiss my ass, !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous said…
Layla, a very good friend of mine introduced me to your blog. What wonderful , caring content and words. Yes, we are resilient and we will be the victors. Thank you for telling the world that we are different and have ancient and deep strength. We will overcome and rebuild.
Layla Anwar said…
Hiya Little Deer and thank you.
I know how much you care about Iraqis, having been close to them yourself. Bless you and yours.

Layth, yes Ali is an angel, he will grow wings again. So many like him around. What a catastrophe!

Bashar, thank you for visiting again and your kind comment.

S, thank you. Very kind of you.

american woman, thank you.

nostalgia - correct, it is an expression from Arabic, about water melting a stone. I hope your friend is alive and well.

in awe - thank you. Tricky but an intelligent question...

Adele, hi and thank you for your comment and the rest...

KarlMarx - thanks, and the anguish lingers on. I am not sure what to do with it myself.
Layla Anwar said…
lunatic nur,

My brother's message still holds by the way. LOL. You know what to do, when and where to do it.LOL
Layla Anwar said…

Hi and thank you for visiting and your comment. It all started in the land of URUK and it will be so again...
Anonymous said…
Layla if I am not able to see your posts for a few days I feel melancholy. As a woman I love few women! I love you for the true splendour of your mind your reality, you make a human laugh and you can make a human cry with the clarity of your understanding. I am glad you are not bruised and ill from your fall. More power to you dear lady. Jocelyn
Anonymous said…

Thank you for the beautiful and moving descriptions of the resilience of Hossam, Ali and Inman. These three Iraqis are jewels of humanity - they are the embodiment of a spirit that cannot be defeated. Let them know that they are admired and loved.
Kosta said…
Anonymous said…
Dearest Layla,

Thank you for your lovely comment.

I am humbled ... and you have stated a fact about Iraqi Resilience.

In solidarity and with love.
Anonymous said…

Why do you desecrate the suffering these innocent people have endured?

You trot them out to make your political point.

Let me see, you are arguing for "the original state". That means that we are to follow this path: "the current state" -> death -> suffering -> death -> death-> suffering -> death -> "the original state"

Who wants to go back to 2005 & 2006? Do you think the torture victims you spoke of would agree with even one more tortured for the sake of a ghost? Iraqis control Iraq's future now. But you wouldn't know that since you are not even in Iraq - agitating for blood from some other country.

Your words are beautiful, what they say is a disgrace.

Greg from USA
Anonymous said…
Greg from the United Asses and Western Sectarian Cunt would make an emblematic couple of the XXI century.
Anonymous said…
anonymous 8:13 p.m., your comment is so racist and stupid, it is funny.
Anonymous said…
As usual, stupid and incoherent comments from Greg. Perhaps the anonymity of his contributions from behind a desk hundreds of miles away leads him to believe that his ignorance doesn't shine through.

If, as you claim, Layla, who is IRAQI, by the way, does not live in Iraq and,therefore, she 'doesn't know anything', then how can YOU claim to know anything when you're sitting thousands of miles away, have no clue about Iraq (except what you regurgitate from Wikipedia), its people or culture and believe what you write here is credible??? You are truly DUMB, Greg. But that's hardly surprising, is it?
Anonymous said…
Wow - very nice words. You truly are a Poetess. Keep up the resilience and resistance...
Anonymous said…
little deer,

"how can YOU claim to know anything"

1. I read about Iraq from people who really are in Iraq. ITM and Michael Yon
2. I lend common sense sorely missing from Layla's poetry

Layla is encouraging a repeat of the disaster perpetrated by al Qaeda in 2006. There are plenty of gullible youth who listen to Layla because she says what they want to hear.

Greg from USA
Anonymous said…

I recently tried to post a link from Iraqi Body Count and responded to this laughable article about Jolie and Pitt helping out Iraqi children. They should keep their money and shove it.
Alas, even the progressive newspaper De Morgen, does not publish accounts of mass murder of Iraqis for probable fear of worsening the race relationships in Belgium and for fear of antagonizing the radicalized youth. This way, only Bushits version of history remains.
Anonymous said…
Perhaps Greg could benefit from reading "The Control of History":
Anonymous said…
Hey, Greg from USA
This one from today's NY Times is for you, Janice et al. The motto: stop lying to yourself. But then again you may fail since lying and deception is innate to you and the not so good Ole USA.
Disrepectfully yours,

Anonymous said…
Truth Escapes Satans Grip

I had a dream.
I saw satan swimming slowly, languorously, smiling,
wafting down a river of blood.
More and more as he spread his blood drenched arms
across each bank, people murdered themselves
and murdered their neighbors.
Their blood poured out filling the river deeper and deeper,
and satan patiently, willfully, joyfully
screeched a hideous cry of encouragement.
The unwitting souls on the riverbank, stood
with their eyes firmly fixed on the heavens
spoke the name of God,
then committed self-murder,
and satans fingers, dripping blood, dragged their souls
into his hell bound torrent.
Occasionally a bright beam of truth
would shine upon one of the souls on the riverbank
and they would simply walk away.
And satan thrashed and screamed each time
as another soul escaped his grip.

Through Grace Peace
Kosta said…
I checked it out and I’ve read enough..

Perhaps this is the same US Soldier Author whom I heard speaking on the radio here one day; describing the close moment he shared with an Iraqi Fighter, a man older than the other Iraqi fighters.
In the cold of the night after fighting room to room in a building, and finally after being jumped by the Iraqi the ensuing fight resulted in the American's blade piercing the Iraqi's throat, and as his life slipped away, and his flowing blood warmed his killer's hands; they 'shared a moment' as the Iraqi gazed into his killer's eyes and his hands brushed his killer's cheek.

Perhaps I’m jumping the gun again on Layla’s blogs; perhaps it’s not the same guy.
You’ve probably read all his books; why don’t you tell us?

From the site you referred us to.
” old Germans would tell me that Americans, our grandparents, were honorable people, far more honorable than the Nazis who committed industrial-sized genocide. The Nazis broke all the rules,”

Tell that to the black soldiers that went in to ‘save’ Jessica Lynch; Tell’em about the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiments. Tell’em that the word ‘lynching’ is in honour of her family, as a name sake.
Tell’em about operation Paperclip; and how the Nazi’s worst medical experimenters didn’t loose the war but migrated to America..
Thanks also for the link to the story..
’Hunting al Qaeda,’
Perhaps you’re CIA station Chief could’a grabbed Ussama when he went to pay his respects during Ussama’s stay in the American Hospital in Kuwait for dialysis.
Perhaps they should’a grabbed him when he was your bastard, aka Tim Ossman.
Your Prez laughed in your face when he nominated Henry Kissinger (another BinLaden Family associate) to head the 911 Investigation with a budget of $3Mill, when even a baseball card on ebay has sold for 1Mill.

Your blogger is full of propaganda shit; trying to justify his US-A-nus ‘patriotism’ as though he’s been invited tho Iraq.

Perhaps he could explain to us why the 1’st thing that USA arranged when they took over control of Irak was to change their US oil trading bank account back to US$ from a EURO nominated bank account.

Bush is the Crude Texan you may be happy to swallow but we ain’t.

And you have the nerve or arrogance or ignorance to accuse Layla of politicising.
Anonymous said…
Every Iraqi should be able to act both as a policeman/woman and a doctor, especially as a doctor...

For once the physical external enemies are out, another so very much fiercer battle will take place, though in silence and off the limelights: against the inner demons that have been forcedly rammed down into the once innocent, trusting minds and hearts of the once united people...
Anonymous said…
Layla, what do you think of the Mujahedeen Al-Khalq of Iran ?
Samer Dallasheh said…
Very beautiful. And yet full of sorrow. It seems unavoidable now days every Arab has to be disgraced some way or the other.....
I've tried and i tried again and again and i can't write anything i keep deleting over and over and over.

Some one will pay. I swear.
Layla Anwar said…
Dear Jocelyn,

Many thanks for your kind words...I will do my best to post regularly, but I feel totally worn out...So you may not read anything new from me for a week or so.
Best Regards
Layla Anwar said…

I shall pass on the message...Thank you.
Layla Anwar said…

Layla Anwar said…
Iraqi lover,

Any soothing balm ?
Layla Anwar said…
Samer D,

Oh sure they will pay...It's inevitable.
Layla Anwar said…

Don't pay attention to Greg, he is a evil ignorant, morally corrupt thing.
Unknown said…
Hi Layla,

It's been a long time since I've last come to this blog. Your articles are still extrememly interesting though...
Talking of resilience, I do not think you know this French psychologist (but also psycho-analyst, ethnologist, neurologist, etc.), Boris Cyrulnik, who created and systematized the concept of 'resilience'. Here is a link for you (you'll probably need to read him in French, I don't know if he has been translated in English or an Arabic language....).


Anonymous said…

Anyone who does not agree with you or who is from the West is evil.

Greg from USA
KM said…

'they' shall be driven out in more ways than one.

A piece from the Asia Times. Without a doubt, the United States foreign policies towards the Middle East and the People there have been arrogant, boastful, covetous, usery and has been a foreign invading / occupying presence that has led to destabilization in the region; along with bloodshed.

China appears to be willing to establish close ties with the Middle East with no baggage included. They appear to not want to demand or tell you how to run yer internal affairs..its strictly business.

It seems to be with decade after decade of European & American coming to yer region with wars & conflicts the actual proof of their involvement, the Asian approach would seem a breath of fresh air.

Whether the Red Giant will be true to their words is another thing, but with what is happening to Iraq along with the US-backed Israelis in Palestine, it seems its time to be out with the old and in with the new.

Anonymous said…
Neither your brother, nor you have a message, that is worth God damn!!!!!

Please email me =))
I'm begging, darling please.
Darling Won't you ease my worried mind.???
Anonymous said…
"Anyone who does not agree with you or who is from the West is evil."

It is *greg's* occupation that is evil...it will not succeed in the long term, hopefully. Resist Irakis...
annie said…
beautiful post layla
Anonymous said…
Do you ever wonder why noone wants to respond to you???!!!!
Anonymous said…
Well, I had to post a comment here...I started to read your blog further and It's getting more interesting word after word. This here was just beautiful. You've made my eyes wet Layla....thank you.

Wishing and sending as much love as I can to you my friends,


Anonymous said…
Johny B,

Thank you for visiting again and for the Cyrulnik link. Very interesting read.


The Chinese may come across as less bloody, but any occupation is occupation.


Hi, you've been listening to too much Eric Clapton ;-)


Thank you for visiting and how TRUE !


Thank you!

Adam from PL,

Thank you too...May all the love return to you 10 folds.

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