February 2, 2010

Compartmentalized Reflections in a Full Circle.



My life has become compartmentalized between three blogs...I posted a song by mistake on this one and realized it just now. So I transferred it to the other blog instead, the more "frivolous" one.

My reaction when I realized my "error" kind of threw me back...I said to myself " Oh my God, you just posted a salsa song with 4 lines of poetry on the official website - are you out of your mind...what will people think ? They will say here she is blogging about her fellow Iraqis being detained and tortured and in less than 5 hours she posts a song with people dancing ! - Oh my God, oh my God...."

Then I stopped for a minute and realized my utter stupid train of thought, not only that, I also realized something else, how compartmentalized my life has become...and how this virtual thing has taken over, and how somehow, somewhere, it's as if some things are expected of me, some line of conduct, some official persona that deals with the crude, gory, nitty gritty details of an Occupation and only then, am I allowed my vagaries and vagabondages into occasional bouts of frivolity and maybe something else... maybe a few lines of poetry, or a few lines of revelatory confessions, away from the prying eyes....away from the "public" eye and well hidden in my little niche, my semi uncensored jardin secret...

Is this the onset of some form of cyber insanity, I wonder...or have I tapped into the unspoken other people's expectations of me, like I usually do...tuning in to cues here and there...or maybe because this blog has been associated mainly with Iraq, and has metamorphosed over the years, from my first shy attempts of 4 years ago -- from my reflections in a sealed bottle to an outcry and now to a "serious political manifesto"....with an urging voice saying "don't stop now - don't stop now...continue...give more news, more info, reveal the true nature..."...

What a bloody laugh...what a bloody laugh. I am delusional, totally delusional in believing that this blog will make a difference...it may inform, and I've done nothing but that for the past 4 years...a drop in the ocean...

Also my own reaction to the above "blunder" was very revealing to me, it revealed that ingrained trait that nearly every Arab (male and female) carry inside themselves - what will others think, how will they perceive me, how will they judge me, will they approve of me, what if they outlaw me, banish me from the "caste", the mental caste...this split is very much present in every single one of us, particularly more so in women, and somehow my "blunder" of earlier on revealed that aspect again, me who thought I had done away with it...which obviously is not the case since it resurfaced like some automatic trigger to a "wrong doing"...

Which of course led me to think about how much freedom one really has, in writing that is...and which led me also to be very honest with myself and admit that there are many things I am tempted to write about, but deliberately stop myself, like in some form of auto censorship...

Maybe if I was not read at all by anyone, that would no longer be an issue, I can just go on and expose it all, but somehow the fact that I am read gives me a "sense of responsibility " as in am accountable for my words -- and I find myself tempering here and there, managing other people's "sensitivities" and expectations even though I have made headways on that front...

I guess this is a problem that every "writer" faces in what is commonly referred to as writing blocks. And maintaining authenticity whilst balancing the whole thing is not an easy task...it is not an easy task because I am not writing fiction. Had I been writing fiction, I could create the characters and dress them up the way I want...I am writing reflections...my reflections and hence on many levels, I am exposing my self...and this self exposure comes with risks...it's a bit like standing naked in full view...this is how it feels to me at times...

This is how it feels to me when I broach subjects that are off limits. When I dare venture, even if not fully, into territories that look like more land mines as opposed to simple walking paths...

Readers don't realize that, because they are after another story...and because they are recipients, they don't expose anything...in fact readers have a huge advantage over the writer, they can "study" him/her through his/her writings, while not revealing anything of themselves. In many ways the reader is a coward predator...and the writer knows it all too well.

So the risk is great indeed. Had it been a work of fiction, the price will be mitigated, but it is not a work of fiction...it is reality, my reality at least.

This is also one of the reasons I closed down my comments section. I felt the disrespect to be enormous. I will explain myself.

Had I been linking to news articles and adding two lines of my own thoughts here and there like most other bloggers do, I would not mind the viciousness...but I do not link to articles here and there, I actually spend many hours hammering away on my keyboard, at times pouring my guts out along with bits of my heart...and what I got in return was obnoxiousness...readers used my comment section like some toilet where they could come to shit and vomit their own ignorance, frustrations, psychosis, sometimes treating it like some play field where they would adopt many aliases, gossip, lash out, defame, slander, smear, fabricate, play puerile infantile games like some sick online psychopaths, lead me down labyrinths with questions that meant nothing, with fabricated queries and I in my then naive and kind self would actually bother looking up answers for them...and last but not least, threaten to rape, mutilate and kill me...

Iraq's tragedy and the author - me - became a toy in the hands of men and women, who would masturbate their garbage out on my blog. Iraq's tragedy became the play field where ignorance, depravity, vileness, viciousness, prejudice, spitefulness, hatred, envy, jealousy...were poured out like some dump of refuse on my blog...I realized then, that most readers are not worth being given a chance to express anything of their thoughts on my blog -I closed it down.

And that paragraph of my blogging life taught me much about people...taught much about dishonesty, deceit, self serving, self seeking, irresponsible, stupid, intellectually stunted, backward and really very ignorant specimens...I realized that these specimens constitute the majority of readers -- sorry to say, and frankly they are unworthy of being given any room for expression on my blog. This is when I decided -- now is the time, for you to shut up and read me and no am not interested in your projections, your perversions, your fantasies, your stories, what you believe, think or feel...you are no longer welcomed in my Iraqi, Arab Home.

Iraq's tragedy, its pain, its suffering, its abandonment, its neglect as brought to you by me, the author, through small windows as in each written post, where my hidden tears of anguish, grief, solitude, exile... where my silent cries of despair, agony, memories, longing...are not your terrain anymore. You have appropriated, raped, spat on Iraq you will not do the same to me on my blog. You tried and you failed. I am here and many of you have just closed shop. I am here and I will continue saying what I need to say...and will continue exposing and denouncing you...and if need be I shall be merciless in doing so.

It is a war out there, no doubt about it. It is a war of weapons and a war of ideas...the arrest of Hiba Al Shamaree just adds another confirmation. I think about her daily, I wonder what is happening to her, what are they doing to her, what abject, grotesque, heinous act are they coming up with...I wonder daily about Hiba, the Iraqi blogger.

And thoughts crossed my mind, what if the same happened to me - will Iraqis mobilize for me as they mobilized for her ? After all, she blogs in Arabic, after all she is "respectable" in as far as she does not use " vulgar, foul, profanities" like I most certainly do...after all there are subjects she did not trespass, she did not talk about sex, men and women, she did not broach the deep hypocrisy of the gendered Arab world, she did not have a go at sexual dynamics, she was politically correct even in her opposition, at least she was politically correct to those who were willing to mobilize for her...

And what about Palestinians, would they mobilize for me the way I mobilized for them ? Since the age of 14, I was involved in the Palestinian cause, well before 3/4 of these so called "activists" were born. I took on Iraq because she is dearer to my heart than anyone else...and I figured armed with enough political opportunism, the Palestinians can surely do well for themselves without me...I doubt very much they will mobilize for me.

And what about other "Arabs" ? The other Arabs caught with their pants down, fighting their inferiority complexes like some Don Qichotte, neither here nor there, one minute erecting for a Haifa Wehbe and one minute erecting for "Liberation"...will they mobilize for me, knowing what I know about them ? I doubt it .

And what about the Islamic fundies, the 3 meters long bearded ones whom I have spent sleepless nights writing about their lingering in Guantanamo and other secret dungeons, now that some of them are free, will they mobilize for me ? I, the unveiled woman, who is allergic to beards and literal interpreters of religion. I, who opposes retrograde ego-maniacal male domination in the name of God. I, who uses foul language and posts a song and a dance, a few lines of love poetry. I, who is also aware that their ideology has not been kind to my sex...will they mobilize for me?

Needless to say, a sizeable number of Americans and Brits, a good deal of Iraqis, most Iranians, a good number of Israelis will be absolutely delighted to see me vanish...

I mean let's face it, bottom line, I am not terribly liked ...neither by the Westerners nor by the Easterners...it does not pay to be undiplomatic, blunt, politically incorrect and it surely does not pay to be truthful to yourself, especially not in times of serious trouble, when you need your ass to be saved...

Who is left ? A few good friends I met during those past 4 years, and out of the 10 or so, only 3 I really trust...I guess am counting on them....one even promised to visit me with a bag of oranges...that's not too bad after 4 years of gut spilling and busting my ass. Or is it ?


Painting: Iraqi artist, Dia Al-Azzawi.