I get phone calls, I hear the news, I watch pictures,I read articles and I remain unmoved.
Visitors pass by and recount to me horror stories and I just stare at them . I nod and blink my eyes but when I open my mouth to speak , the words are stuck somewhere deep in my throat.
I am past being shocked anymore. I have resigned myself to this state of paralysis.
Ghost cities like Baghdad with its pools of blood dont affect me .Raped little girls are part of my daily scenery.An unknown limb lying in the street is not even an object of curiosity. Smashed jaws, teeth, eyes, nails pulled out are nothing but sentences for me, anonymous black and white images .
Barren towns, abandoned children, families executed, hospitals raided , lethal injections given to those belonging to the wrong sect are routine . And routine gets deadly boring . A habit forming addiction.
Rampant drugs , prostitution, pimps and killers from the underworld have resurfaced from the wombs of this city and I watch it all like a horror film. So detached, so close , so far away.
The palm tree has faded into a dirty brown,the dates have turned to stones,the earth is scorched smoky black and the water has turned into a crimson red.
This desolation leaves me anesthetized . My fingers are paralyzed , my thoughts rigidified at point zero, my feelings frozen . I am a robot now . A product of this apocalyptic nihilism. I go through the regular motions only to retreat into my autistic world and stare into the void of destruction.
Yes I am in this mode now . A Frankenstein, zombie like mode .
And during the rare moments when I feel I still belong to something remotely human again, in those instances of lucidity, I may catch a tear or two frozen on my cheek. I wipe them quickly away lest the machine that I have become rusts and no longer functions.
And in those moments with my plastified smile fixed to my face like a scar, in those small moments when something alive nudges me and I dare to look at it , I see that :
Hope has become an oxymoron, fear a good companion, anger deep down in a well, and torrents of grief abundant enough to wash the bloody streets of Baghdad.
Painting : Iraqi Artist Rafa Nasiri.