July 8, 2008

The Language of Open Wounds...

I've just realized that I will be "celebrating" two years of relentless blogging, soon.

It all started in July 2006, with yet another external "aggression" - Israel/Lebanon.

I was familiar with blogs and even thought of starting my own - way before, but something held me back. I am not sure what it was, maybe the timing was not right. I know I was way too raw, so raw, I felt I had lost my skin...So I just perused other people's blogs and thought to myself -- maybe one day I will start my own.

And interestingly enough, my first posts were not about Iraq. I simply could not get myself to write about Iraq.

You know, it felt like someone who had just lost someone very precious and when you meet that person, he will talk about the weather instead of his loss, or maybe she will talk around the subject or avoid it altogether and pretend nothing...
This usually happens when a person is too raw and simply cannot deal with the event.

This is exactly what happened to me. I simply could not write about Iraq at the very beginning of my blog. I wrote about the Lebanese war instead.

At first, I could not understand my avoidance, then as I slowly opened up to myself and to you - the reader, I realized that I was in a such a survival mode, that these powerful emotions of anger, sadness, grief...were so strong and so intense and they were so much part of me, I simply didn't have the necessary distance to be able to articulate any of it in a coherent form. Again, it was all too raw.

There was also the fear, a kind of persistent fear that if I let any of it out, I will explode...It's a very strange feeling. Survival means keeping a lid on anything that might make you tilt into an abyss of no return. Some call it self control...I call it - too raw.

At some point I was aware that I was playing games with myself and that I must muster the courage to tell it like it is, to myself and to the world.

I could have opted to hide behind current news. Linking to that or the other. Or, giving my "rational" analysis of events...But what happened in Iraq was beyond anything rational and using that rawness to expose it all, was the only way for me.

Many a times, after a post, I would feel so sick, so drained, so empty, so alone, it would take me days to recuperate...And recuperate is not a good word, because one cannot recuperate anything insofar as Iraq is concerned.

And beneath the fury, the injury, the outrage, the loss, remained/remains the terrible realization that Iraq is gone forever...changed forever...

I tried to convey to the best of my ability the extent of the destruction wrought on my country. On many occasions I felt words eluded me. I felt words were limited, constricted, flat, lifeless...At times I wished I could invent a new vocabulary, a new language...

At first I thought that language was a barrier. I thought maybe my use of the English language was not up to standard. I thought maybe my grammar and spelling lacked some essentials...I simply could not understand how can anyone not see, feel, understand the extent of the injustice done, the depth and repercussions of the damage, of the destruction...

Then, I understood that Language was not the barrier, but that minds were. Numb minds adding insult to injury. This is also when I realized and understood what an ignorant, arrogant, worthless people most of you are and this is when I decided to let the volcano roar in your faces, spit its fire...Whether you comprehended, approved of it...or not, it did not matter anymore. One does not take permission to resist.

It did not matter how many of us were killed, maimed, made orphans, made widows, made destitute, exiled...your minds were/are the greatest barrier.

Not only your government, your army, your society, your media, but your minds...

Your minds are the most rotten, corrupt, things I have ever encountered in over 40 years of existence. And that includes many of you -- be it left or right. In particular the left, the despicable Arab left to be added to the bloody lot.

I took off my satin gloves. The upbringing, the education, the injunctions, that taught me to "be fair, be nice, be kind..." were no longer applicable. They actually became a hindrance.

Here I was/am dealing with monsters who have lost their humanity eons ago, I, indeed, had to learn a new language - Yours.

The biggest challenge was/is to speak your language and not lose mine. The biggest challenge is to speak yours and still remain me...

But that will not be a formidable hurdle. As long as Iraq is occupied, I will learn all the languages, accents and dialects that need to be learned...

What have I got to lose, now that I lost it all ?

What have I got to lose, now that nothing remains but rawness...the rawness of open wounds.

Painting : Iraqi artist, Himat Ali, 2003.