March 31, 2009

The Unnamed...


This is a very difficult post for me to write. Not because, I am short of words, but trying to find the adequate words to convey the exactitude of what am about to express is what makes it so difficult...

I think, from the all the people I have met both online and offline, there is only one person who will understand, and she happens to be a female friend of mine. I am sure she will understand. Hence I dedicate this post to her.

The reason I chose the above title for this post, is because I firmly believe that Iraq and the Iraqi people, both individually and collectively have been used as dumping grounds...and there is no adequate title and name to express it ALL.

Dumping grounds for heaps of things. I visualize it-- as Iraq, with her people, as the ground to throw garbage in - human garbage. The rejects of Humanity.

Usually in human interactions, people try their best to give, at least on the surface, the best of what they have...or aspire to the best. Iraq and Iraqis on the other hand, since this occupation, have received nothing but the worst of what humans can do, can "offer".

It is a very scary thought when you ponder about it deeply. It is scary because if you want to understand the depth of the human shadow, just look at what has happened to Iraq and to the Iraqis.

People who are too involved in "politics", fail to see the bigger picture, the bigger spiritual, philosophical picture. For me, Iraq has become the biggest and toughest lesson in "human nature". A lesson I still have much trouble absorbing and digesting...a lesson I still refuse to take in fully, a lesson that really leaves me at loss about what to conclude about "human beings".

It is a daily battle for me, to retain any sense of compassion and fairness, it is a daily struggle for me to retain any sense of value and meaning...after this lesson.

I don't know if I am expressing myself clearly or not, but keeping faith in the human kind is a daily jihad for me...Sure, I put my trust in God, but I also know that God works through His creation, and what I have seen, witnessed from his creation so far has been so awful, so grotesque, so deadly, so deeply wounding...that retaining that faith is my biggest daily challenge.

The way I see it, this is no ordinary Occupation. It is a multi-layered one, with so many levels of wrongs, wrongs in the full moral and ethical sense of the word(leaving aside politics), so wrong -- that am not even sure where and how to start tackling it.

Sometimes to ease the pain of this realization, I try to take an eagle's view - so to speak - and even then, I cannot but shrink in the face of the monumental horror that has been inflicted on this people and on this land. I feel like making myself so small so I don't have to see any of it, anymore...

There is not one aspect that this Occupation has not touched and polluted, one way or the other.

Leave aside daily killings, murders, rapes, torture. Leave aside morgues and Death.

There is something much deeper, much cruder, much more malignant. More malignant than the above ? Yes more malignant.

The above was done to break the Iraqi spirit. What do I mean by the Iraqi Spirit ?
Anyone who knows Iraq and the Iraqis intimately, knows four main characteristics about them - they are passionate, generous, proud and highly intelligent.

Passionate because they feel deeply. One of the reasons I keep on posting Iraqi art, is because I feel it to be a symbol of Iraqi passion. One can tell from the colors, the shapes, the expression, the themes...It is no wonder Applied Iraqi art was the first school in the whole of the Middle East to produce artistic genius. There cannot be artistic genius without passion. This passion is also revealed in the poetry, for those who know Iraqi poetry and literature. It is cutting like a sword. And this how Iraqis feel their passion, cutting like a sword.

Generous because Iraq has always been historically generous. Generous with its money, its resources, its science, its contribution to civilization, its ideas, its creativity and one can witness that same generosity on a personal level too. Anyone who is passionate is generous with his/her feelings and emotions. Iraqis are not known to hold back. When they give - they give it all.

Proud - Proud as in dignified and honorable. These are the Iraqis I know. These are the Iraqis I grew up with. There is something about them that I know too well, they cannot submit in slavery however coerced they are. However vulnerable they are. However broken or wounded they are. Slavery is not only slavery in the political sense. Am talking here about moral slavery. They will not submit to masters unless they accept that "master". And please try to use my words not in the literal sense, but in the metaphorical sense...and you will understand what am talking about.

Intelligence is not about being smart only. Intelligence is a natural state we call in Arabic "Fitra" - a state of raw intelligence. I never met a stupid Iraqi in my whole life. Never. Iraqi traitors, yes. Corrupt Iraqis, yes. Deceitful Iraqis, yes. Hypocritical Iraqis, yes again. But never a stupid one. In other words, Iraqis are not dumb. No one who can produce so much civilization can be dumb. No one who can turn a country in the space of 20 years out of its colonial underdevelopment to a country that broke through all the parameters of "developing and developed" can be dumb. It is impossible.

It then comes as no surprise, that the most evil machinations were unleashed on Iraq.
Killing, murder, rape and torture served to break, to eradicate the traits I mentioned above. Only then, does the intensity and amount of destruction make sense.


They had to break Iraq and her Spirit. And Her spirit lies in Her People. There was no other way.

And when I say break - I mean BREAK. The only image that comes to mind is that of taking an ancient, thousands years old, pottery relic/jar and smashing it hard, and standing watching it disperse in millions of tiny pieces...

It is no surprise that the most recent country in the world had to smash the most ancient one...

But that is only half of the story. There is more. Much more...

This is really too painful for me to write...I am not sure how I can continue...And am not sure if I still making sense or not...am just overwhelmed with emotions right now...

There no aspect of Iraq that has not been savagely attacked and broken into pieces.

The physical, the cultural, the historical, the political, the societal, the financial, the geographical, the emotional, the sexual, the religious, the spiritual....every single aspect. Collectively and individually. A multi-layered rape, both collective and individual. It is really horrific, terrible when you think about it. It is really so....I can't find the word. I simply can't find the word.

Everything has been stripped naked. EVERYTHING. And this stripping naked is reflected in a symbolic form in the Abu Ghraib tortures and all the other tortures that ensued...

Stripping naked is very revealing. Not only in terms of physical nudity. Again try to think deeper - even though I doubt not many of you can.

When you strip naked someone, when you tear away from them all forms of clothing/protection they become vulnerable. Vulnerability in the most profound sense.

This is exactly what was done to Iraq and to her people - they have been stripped naked. Stripped from their homes, their dwellings, their families, their livelihoods, their health, their belongings, their trust, their passion, their generosity, their dignity....but one cannot strip someone from their intelligence - except through extreme torture until paralysis or through death. Hence the systematic killing of Iraqi brains - academics, doctors, teachers, scientists, engineers, artists, singers, painters, musicians...

There is a popular Iraqi proverb that I will try to translate for you.

When the sacrificial beast falls, the knives multiply.

And Iraq was seen as a "beast" to be sacrificed. "Beast" in the positive sense.
A beast is strong, has good survival instincts, is sturdy, can defend itself, has developed capacities and skills to remain alive in a jungle it knows all too well.

And like in a Corrida, the minute the bull falls, the arrows multiply. And it kicks and fights back till its last breath and more arrows fall down upon it, until it is inert, immobilized on the grounds...

This is exactly what happened to Iraq. The "beast" had to be sacrificed.

And the Matadors multiplied their spiky arrows. All kinds of spiky arrows...

Strip it naked and finish it off...

Fire from the skies and from the grounds. Bombs, DU, Napalm, Bullets...destroy homes, buildings, schools, universities, hospitals...segregate, ghettos...check points, id's, digital prints, biometric measures, numbers...ransack homes in the middle of the night, strip people naked, steal their belongings, rape their women...detain, blindfold, tie, abduct, kidnap...prisons, camps, detention centers, dungeons....torture till they go blind, paralyzed, amputated...or insane. Rape and sodomize them - men, women and children...steal and destroy the history, the monuments, the art, rip away the genius, tear apart that creativity, smash that contribution to civilization...go for the heads and the hands that produced it. Steal, steal and steal some more. Steal the treasury, the arts, the antiquities, the universities, the oil, the savings, the ratios...Burn...burn the culture, the manuscripts, the books, the libraries, burn the fields, the land...burn it...burn it...desecrate the sacred, the holy places, the spaces of worship, the holy books...desecrate nature, pollute it, soil it, poison it -- all of it..the sky, the earth, the water...uproot them, exile them, cut away their ties, abandon them, let them wander in the wilderness...Oh God this is too much.

Now they are naked and vulnerable...so prey on their last breath...prey on any point of strength they may have left...and go for that too.

Dump on them...dump on them your anger, your hatred, your envy, your frustrations, your rage, your lust, your covetousness, your greed, your sadism, your unnamed desires, your beastly instincts, your death instincts, your moral depravity, all the "stuff" you don't allow yourselves to do in your "respectable homes and countries", all the "stuff" you don't allow yourselves on your own grounds, because you try so hard to appear and give the best, the famous facade of your civility...dump on them and exploit them even more...dump on them your shadows, your evilness, those parts of yourself you cannot own, cannot face...dump on them...the beast has fallen, multiply your knives.

Exploit them even more...they are vulnerable, as vulnerable and as naked as you want them to be. Go ahead, pontificate and justify to them...rationalize it away, smile while reading your essays and think hard while writing your articles...go ahead refine the deceit, refine it...find a thousand reasons why it is the way it is...and exploit them some more...

Exploit their refugees with high prices, with their begging for permits, with their hunger, with their desperation...exploit their needy women, exploit their widows...exploit their orphans, street kids, traffic them, prostitute them for your porno rings...go ahead do more...

They are all naked in front of you...dump some more...what else do you envy and you want to strip from them ? What else is left ?

What is there to strip from people who have reached the point of selling their organs for survival ? what is there to steal from people who no longer go to schools, who no longer read and write ? what is their left to destroy from homes, monuments, sites, buildings and hospitals when they are already in shambles ? what is there left to erase and burn when there is no history and no books left ? What is left to rape from diseased bodies ridden with poison and cancerous tumors...What is there left ?

The passion has turned to a never ending grief, the generosity has become a beggar, the pride and the honor a naked woman reaching out for a cloth to cover herself and the intelligence, a burning, raw, survival instinct, gasping for its last breath...

Is there anything left to prey on, to destroy, kill, torture, rape, use and abuse steal, plunder, pillage...exploit...is there anything else you need to dump ?

Iraq has become your mirror Ladies and Gentlemen. Look at Iraq and you will see yourselves. All of you. Individually and collectively.

We look into the mirror....I look into the mirror and we, I, see nothing but You.

And all I need, want, desire -- is to throw up the garbage, the rejects of "humanity", to vomit "human" kind.



Painting : Iraqi artist, Ziad Bakury.