June 20, 2009

The Conquest of Iraq - Appropriating the Body.


I honestly don't know where this post will be lead you or me, to...I am hoping it will lead us both to the Truth.

This has been "brewing" in my mind for some time already...actually it's been brewing in my mind for a very long time...I was not quite sure how to approach it though...It is as if I needed some more convincing, some more proofs, some more evidence...my own way of knowing something "intellectually" and have it distilled and reach the gut level -- some like to call that an "insight".

A sexualized Occupation. A "hot", "beefed up", "sexed up", Occupation.

How can an occupation be sexualized ? you may wonder...

I ask you how can this occupation not be sexualized ?

An occupation is NOT an abstract phenomena. To occupy something or someone involves matter, the physical realm first...the physical realm is a delineated space, with boundaries. It can be - land, cities, villages, neighborhoods, buildings and homes right down to the body, the physical body.

There can be no occupation without occupying the physical body. The body becomes the first and last frontier...

From thereafter that point, one can talk of more abstract ideas pertaining to the Occupation.

I actually find the word occupation too weak. In the case of Iraq it is not an occupation only - it is an appropriation/possession. The act of possessing by force.

All acts of forceful appropriation/possession/conquest, necessitate the use of force. Use of force means violence. And I believe, I have already mentioned that before in one of my previous posts, can't remember which one. Violence is derived from the verb to violate. Violate in French is Violer. Violer means Rape.

Rape means taking something by force against someone's consent. All rapes are sexual in nature. Sexual is NOT limited to the physical sphere. You need to broaden your understanding of sexuality away from the genital level.

Sexuality as in the life force. Raping in this context means sucking out the life force. It means drawing out the life force. It means drawing the living breath out of someone else...

I see it like a huge mouth - a "ventouse" "aspirer", pumping out the life force.

Life force is what ? Anything that contributes to your survival is a life force. Food, shelter/home, sense of security, sense of belonging, sense of identity, personal ties, family ties, community ties, work, land, country...

All the above involves the Body. The individual body. The integral body. You may think, this is so evident, so obvious. Well it is not. For most it is not.
The obvious always eludes...hence, the Truth cannot be seized.

The occupation of Iraq has been theorized upon, analysed, debated, argued over...all sorts of explanations, justifications, conceptualizations, rationalizations have been put forward...Everyone is involved with the bigger political picture, the why's and how's...and that is fine.

But the basic, most basic, most tangible, most poignant aspect of the occupation has not been addressed, in my opinion. That of thë invasion, occupation, appropriation, conquest of the Body. Of the Iraqi Body.

People talk of body politics and body counts, but no one talks of the living Iraqi Body. Because it is too obvious, it is disregarded. Yet all the truths lie there...in that body.

Displacement, killing, detainment, imprisonment, abduction, kidnapping, torture, mutilation is done on what ? On the body of course, where else ?

So let's go back to essentials. Let's go back to the Iraqi body.

Physically eliminating, physically erasing, physically displacing, physically imprisoning, physically maiming, physically amputating, physically mutilating the Iraqi body in thousands...

What does that tell you ? What does that tell you of the INTENTION behind the rhetoric ?

Does it say oil ? Does it say "regime change" ? Does it say " freedom and democracy " ? What does it say ? Come on use your brains.

It says the obvious dears. It says eliminating the Iraqi Body. Both on an individual, collective and symbolic level.

Once you get that simple truth in your heads, all else falls into place. And then you will understand all the political machinations that are to serve that primary INTENTION.

Then you will understand why it is so important to destroy everything that is physical in Iraq - from the land, to the historical monuments, to the buildings, to the homes, to the neighborhoods, to the individual body...

Do you see it now ? Not yet ? Okay I will give you some concrete examples of a highly sexualized appropriation of the Iraqi body.

So we will start with basics again. I love basic stuff. It is simple, my mind understands it, and it is revelatory of that primary Intention I mentioned above.

I have been watching some videos and reading on Torture in Iraq - yes again.

Beyond or aside from the gory details, what interests me is the perpetrator...he/she interests me because in them I found the primary intention all manifested, in its full "splendor."

The sexual element is all too present. Over and above the torture, the physical infliction of bodily harm - in its extreme form, the highly sexualized aspect of torture inflicted on the Iraqi body merits closer scrutiny.

So I took my time and watched videos, read articles, and watched and read them well, over and over again...I had to do that because I knew that my first reactions of horror will blind me to some truths...I needed to keep a "cold mind", so to speak.

And what am about to write are just samples. They are not the full picture. But they are good enough to illustrate and back my point.

In one of the videos, on Abu Ghraib - and I refer to Abu Ghraib again because that is the focal point...even though I am very aware, that Abu Ghraib is repeated in Iraqi prisons daily, but maybe not so graphically...

So, some of the junior supervisors of the torture in Abu Ghraib were interviewed and what struck me most beyond the actual acts - which necessitate each a post by themselves - is the smile. Yes the smile. All those junior supervisors were smiling while recounting their experience of Abu Ghraib. I played that video several times and they kept smiling...I was not imagining. They were smiling.

You see, I look for micro details...these are what interest me. It's a bit like having one of those hand made knitted covers, and you pull one tiny bit of thread, that is sticking out, and you undo the whole thing...

Some of those interviewed were recounting very horrific scenes and they had that Colgate white smile plastered on their faces...A smile that belied their alleged sense of "guilt". Take it from me - they felt no guilt. None whatsoever.

For them, it was a sexual game. Okay, maybe it was pushed a little too far, but it was a game nonetheless...Like an admission that you got your kicks from watching some heavy sadistic porn and there it stops.

The other thing I noticed from that highly sexualized nature of the torture, are some details that only someone not only very sadistic but also very impotent will derive pleasure from. Note the word impotent, because it is quite important for later on... Impotent here is used not only in a physical context but also symbolically...

One of those smiley faces interviewed, said " We asked the prisoners to crawl on their bodies, flat on the floor, from one end of the corridor to the other...we made sure that they did not crawl on their sides. We gave them orders to crawl straight on their bellies, flat on their bellies, so as to have their sexual organs rub the floor..." And he said it with a smile...

Another said :" I did not know it was torture. I took pictures, because every since I was kid, I always took pictures and smiled..."

Another said : " We had to wait until one inmate raped another and we could hear him scream..." That prisoner was forced by the "supervisors" to rape/sodomize his cell mate...and he said it with a smile...

In another recount of forced masturbation by the prisoners and forced fellatio, one complained that it took 45 mn. Too long, it seems...The control did not work as expected, the control of the body was not well timed to please the "master"... They could not appropriate it to the minutest detail. In other instances, they just hacked the organ, chopped the organ off, did away with it, did away with anything they could not control.

These are just a few examples...I can tell you more. But then I am not inventing anything new, I am just wishing to focus my lenses on a different angle...and I hope you do the same and look for those micro signals that belie the whole veneer...

Since Abu Ghraib, more was revealed, but not enough in my opinion, because I know for a fact that much more took place and is still taking place...

The Iraqi prisons are a replica of Abu Ghraib. Another form of highly sexualized torture of the Iraqi body.

Rape is no longer an adequate word for it has been over used in the case of Iraq. It has actually lost its meaning and potency...

I will use a different word, maybe less innocuous, to describe what took place and is taking place in the Iraqi body - individually, collectivelly and symbolically.

The forced penetration into one's bowels, into one's intestines, into one's mind and soul....

This is what what torture and rape with broken bottles amounts to in Iraqi prisons, this is what torture and rape of Iraqi women and men in American prisons amounted to...

Reach the deepest of the deep. And where else can you find the deepest of the deep but in the body ?

This is what drilling by the Mahdi Army amounted to as well. Go deep, as deep as you can...

All these "details" point to the same thing - go for the deepest point of no return - where the Body is broken, for ever...

If we don't physically eliminate you, we will break you, damage you for ever, so that you surrender to our intention.

Do you understand now, how a detail unveils a whole story, an intention ?

If you take THAT as your starting point, then you will understand what forces were unleashed in Iraq and with what purpose...

But this is only one side to the story, to the intention...

I also know that another truth, another Truth that others dismiss, but which I chose to hang onto, because I know it to be True.

No one, absolutely no one, will try to invade, occupy, appropriate, conquer you unless -- unless you have something they are dying to possess....unless you have something they run the risk of dying for...

And in Iraq we had and still have that something...

As long as there is that something left, that body, that one body that will not surrender, that will not submit, that is resisting...as long as one fiber of our bodies, our Body, is still resisting, then for me, there is something that others still consider worth dying for...

And what you cannot ultimately appropriate/conquer can lead to your own non existence, to your own death.

History is full of examples of those who died after the realization that they did not make it...that they did not succeed in their intention...

And for me that is Victory.

"Iraq will be your graveyard" was not said out of nothing.

A generous, rich, graveyard of a land, where all bodies will finally lie...the bodies of the Iraqi victims who finally found true peace and those of the perpetrators who lustfully tried appropriating it...


Painting : Iraqi artist, Ismail Fattah Al-Turk.