July 11, 2008

In The Deep End...


Upon the recommendation of a friend, I took up swimming again...She said it will expand your lungs and I could do with some extra air.

I actually love swimming, but I regard pools as nests of bacterias, germs, fungus and chlorine...This obviously doesn't help my chronic apprehension of becoming contaminated with one thing or the other...

After all there were/are enough of DU, polluted water, soiled foodstuffs, biological particles from white phosphorus stacked in the Iraqi body, surely I don't need an added germ - albeit of a local flavor...

But I did try to overcome my hypochondriasis and hit the pool for some lung expansion. Slow, even, strokes - my friend suggested, so I did just that - slow, even strokes, in yoga like fashion.

I nearly bumped my head a couple of times on the edge of the pool, having adopted this contemplative Zen approach, but did manage to avert any major accident, thankfully...

After a while, I got frankly bored with the back and forth, and my meditative state quickly degenerated into a whirl of thoughts, memories and a replay of conversations I had recently...

One of these conversations was with a fellow Iraqi, and we were discussing our days in Baghdad, when we would go swimming at the various sports clubs. He said matter of factly - I always remember Iraqi women being in bathing suits and swimming. What on earth happened since ?

- Ask Iran and its sectarian, backward supporters, was my reply.

We had excellent sports clubs in Baghdad. Showing up in bathing suits as opposed to dressing up in a potato bag, was part of the local scene at the pool. I mean this is what one expects to be dressed in by a pool- a bathing suit. Not a chador, Persian style...

As my body was floating, my mind followed suit and engaged in a current of free associations...I kept on pushing the water back, in a resolute manner, and another conversation popped up in my head. One I had not too long ago with a good friend of mine. We were discussing Iran, Hezbollah and Israel. My friend's astute observations came to the surface again, in full force.

The conversation came about when my friend returned from Beirut and remarked that Iranian flags were all over the place. She added by saying that Israel's war on Lebanon in 2006, was nothing but a show of force between Iran and Israel. And Iran provoked it through its proxy arm - Hezbollah.

She said - Both Iran and Israel are expansionist states, their disagreement is not a disagreement on principles - their disagreement is mainly related to Iraq.

- How is that? I probed.

- The US/Israel and Iran have a deal going on/in Iraq. After the occupation, the Americans/Israelis tried to fuck with the Iranians insofar as their deal was concerned, so Iran said to them - You want to fuck with us in Iraq, after all what we've done for you guys, we will show you, our missiles can reach Tel-Aviv from Lebanon, and we will turn Lebanon upside down if you persist in breaching our prearranged deal.

She also cleverly remarked two things

- Do you realize two things since this Israeli war on Lebanon ? One the timing - it was at the height of the sectarian ethnic cleansing in Iraq, where Iran and its sectarian Shia proxies and the US were fully cooperating in murdering Iraqis, in particular the Sunnis. And the second - AFTER this "war" in Lebanon, Iran's role in Iraq came out in the open, it was no longer a secret, hidden, matter, but very much made public. These are no coincidences, she concluded.

Of course, I had to agree with her sharp perceptivity of events, a fresh contrast to the never-ending bull crap I keep reading about the anti-Zionism of Iran and the imminent attack on it. A psy-op which has been going on for 5 years now - taking the focus off the Iraqi scene and diverting attention from the real Crime - to the utter pleasure of the pro-Iran punditry, enhancing their barks to higher pitches in chorus like fashion with Iran's militias, be it Hezbollah, the Jaysh al-Mahdi, the Dawa party, the SCII and the rest of the locusts...

A few more hard strokes and I will be done with this smelly pool - I thought to myself...And as I approached the edge, I heard a couple of Iraqi voices. Two young men, with shaved heads looking like some bulging GI's, imitating the nasal twang, with a "Yeah man". One of the guys had a tattoo on his arm - an American eagle.

I could tell from their accents that they were Shroogs - a Shroogee is someone who combines lack of manners, poor taste and no education. They were Shroogs who adopted the Uncle Sam look during the day and would engage in Husseiniyat - lamenting Kerbala, (something that happened 1'500 years ago) - Qum style, during the evenings.

They were/are the perfect babies of C.Rice's midwifery. A perfect epitome of the New Iraq and the New Middle East. A perfect reflection of the US/Israel - Iran collaborative and occupied Iraq is full of them. I will not be surprised to see similar specimens emerging at some point in Lebanon and elsewhere in the Arab World. Just give it more time...

I was glad to be out of this pool. I grabbed my towel, dried myself, lit a cigarette, inhaled, expanding my lungs even further...and headed to the shower, to diligently wash off all the germs I encountered in this Deep End.


Painting : Iraqi artist, Mohammad Jaafar, "Untitled", 2006.