January 7, 2010

More on Exile...


I received a very powerful, candid  and touching email from an Iraqi fellow. He wrote it after reading my post Hearts in Exile. I would like to share it with you and with his permission...


"...this world is cruel, this world is a whore, a slut, a bitch. this is reality, this world was not meant to be beautiful, this world is cruel and ugly and it is we who have to beautify it...us and none other than us...

I have been ignoring myself for so long, ignoring things I hear here and there, ignoring people protests, complaints, tyranny, death...death...I have been ignoring death, people's screams, people's loss, crime, murder, rape, poverty, destruction...everything...I have been ignoring everything within myself and my surroundings...ignoring it all, giving a blind eye and a deaf ear. I had and still have the ability to ignore myself, my pain, my suffering, my depression, my ups and downs, my sorrow...fact is we are now a cursed family, we are a broken family, we are a dead family, a gone family and I am ignoring that too. This is what I do best, this is what I specialize in, this is my profession, to ignore...
It exhilarates my ego, it boosts my ego, my pride, my vanity when I ignore myself, my pain, my sadness, my sorrow, my suffering, my depression...it very much boosts my ego...MY EGO, MY EGO, my pride and my vanity. It makes me feel I have defeated myself, defeated this ugly, vicious, malicious devil inside me of me, it makes me feel I have defeated nature and its rules, defeated the evil inside me and around me...

I not only avoid talking about it but I refuse to talk about it, we are all sailing in the same boat, I am not better than the Iraqis in Iraq, most of them are much better than me...way much better than me...Martyrs and people in prison.  I have used a scale with Iraqis, when I am introduced to them...I ask them when they left Iraq, any period before 2004 indicates to me that these Iraqis still hold the mentality of Iraqis before the war...not very messed up, people I can communicate with, people where I can find mutual understanding. Any Iraqis from 2006 and above...are messed up, screwed, cursed with this sectarian bullshit, especially the ones who spent a great deal of time in prison, preaching to me Islam, killing and all that bullshit. The Iraqis you and I know are very few, all of them are now outside the country, the ones that are still inside are not the Iraqis you and I know...they have changed so much, and if it is within their reach, they would change their skin too.

With my ignoring...I want to defy nature, I have been a stranger to my family too, they ask me ; why have you become careless even towards us? you are no longer the son we know...you are no longer the caring and loving one we know, no longer the innocent one, you have become a short tempered one, an angry one, full of rage...

You know what I do to them ? I just ignore, because all of it reminds me of the state we are in. 

I ignore my pain, my suffering, the reality of my country. I have been ignoring it for so long, I wanted to sink in denial, illusion and forget about what is happening around me. Why do you think I developed nightmares, not enough sleep, screaming women in my ears, screaming from prison cells that wake me up every single fucking day at 4:00 am? why do you think all this happens to me? I even hear babies screaming... all of this is because I have been ignoring it, these feelings and emotions have to be released...and they are released at night, like demons from a cage. 

I ignore it because I do not want someone to remind me I am in exile, do not want someone to remind me of Baghdad, of Iraq, of my home, my balcony, my car, the streets I hanged in, the night life of Baghdad, I don't want people to remind me of it...because it is there...at the the back of my fucking head...in a place called denial. This is what I do best since 2003...to ignore myself, my needs, my wants, my feelings and emotions...just ignore myself, giving a blind eye and a deaf ear to it and say "fuck it...it is already fucked up". You haven't tried to ignore yourself have you? at first you will have this lump in your throat but then you get used to it when you replace this lump with a sigh, then the sigh becomes just a blank look in people's eyes ...

I don't want to see Baghdad anymore, I don't want, I want to leave the images of Baghdad and its people the same in my brain, I want them to remain unchanged, I do not want to see the ugly face of Baghdad...I want to keep it the way I left it...

People here ask me where I am from...and although I hold the nationality, I tell them I am Iraqi, then my friends ask me why do you say you are Iraqi? why not tell them of your new nationality? I answer them "then where am I from? I remain a stranger here...even among you guys...I am from there...I am Iraqi, will not deny who I am, and it hurts me so much saying I am other than Iraqi...,my lips can't utter such words...


You are not the only one Layla...we all come from the same place...we all sail in the same boat...


And, I am not quite sure why, but I really feel like posting this song...





Painting: Iraqi female artist, Betool Fekaiki.