Only If I could...

This is personal. A medley of wishful thoughts, desires...and a stark reality from which there is no real escape.

I would much rather be writing about Love than Death...
About dreams coming true, as opposed to nightmares realizing themselves, rolling in front of my very some welcoming carpet.

I would much rather invite friends over for a candlelight dinner instead of sitting in funeral gatherings giving my condolences...
And another one has gone, and I repeat the same words, they have become meaningless.
At times, when I am told of the news of yet another passing away, I just raise an eyebrow...That is all I can manage, sometimes. Then, I continue doing what am doing.
I hate it when am in that kind of state. Absolutely hate it.

I hear on a daily basis, so many stories of Death...The saturation has dehumanized me... And I don't like what I see.
I look into the mirror, and say to myself, this is not who you really are...

Maybe this is my pathetic attempt to shield myself from too much pain.
Because, at other times, I feel the grief so overwhelming, a tsunami of grief...
So I build dams and barriers, hoping to contain the gigantic waves, before they engulf me and everything else around me...trying hard to keep my little patch as "dry" as possible.
I guess one could call it survival.

The greatest challenge is to keep sane, avoiding at all costs, slipping into insanity. There is something about violence that can make one insane. I know so and have seen it around me...

The violence of a reality you can hardly do anything about, the violence of emotions, that accompany what you see, hear, and feel, the violence of witnessing those around either withering away, in resignation or cornered into neat little square boxes of indifference...

Violence violates...They belong to the same root.
So everything is constructed on a daily basis, as to how avoid being violated even further...Violation is really all about rape. Again language is a powerful tool.
The French call rape "viol"...

The rape of daily living. Mental rape, moral rape, spiritual rape, physical rape, social rape, economic rape, political many levels of rape, of violations.

It is so hard to explain to an outsider...especially someone who does not feel any of the emotional "stuff", any of the affinities...especially to someone who shields himself, herself, behind theories, analysis and ready made slots, boxes, pigeon holes of handy concepts.

Futile attempts to rationalize away or explain a real devastation of personal and collectives lives.
Not numbers, not nameless faces, but real lives...breathing, kicking, moving lives ...or what was once a life.

At times, I try to gather, collect, amass all of that, that bundle of sensations, feelings, thoughts, longings, yearnings...and deposit it on paper, for the record, for history, for them, for you, for me...

At other times, I wish for a magical invisible hand to reach inside, across my chest, into my heart, and grab that bundle and find the words, the best fitting words, and present them as an offering, a gift, for the record, for history, for them, for you and maybe for me too.

I think women will understand what am saying, with more ease, than men.

Most " men " still need to learn about the unsaid language...get familiar with it, master it, and possibly replace "facts", "figures", "theories", "concepts", "analysis" ...with the half spoken word...with utterings, mutterings, murmurs, those "senseless" tears, and other "emotional hysterical outbursts"...

Maybe then, we will find a common language, a "primitive" language that unites, beyond words...

And maybe then, I won't need to go and look for them...
And maybe by then, the language of arms will be replaced with the unspoken word, and silence will fall, like white cotton fluff, like a peaceful cloak, like a gentle dove, covering them, you and me...

And maybe by then, I can start writing about Love instead of Death...

Painting : Iraqi artist, AbdelAmeer, Alwan.


Anonymous said…
Layla, thank you for another beautiful, heartbreaking post.

I loved the painting too.

My god, the west will have to pay one day. Over and over. We are barbarians violating your country for sure.

My heart aches for you, and for all Iraqis, and I can't think of anything more to say. How can anyone add words to a post as beautiful, tragic and poignant as this? Except to say thank you.
Angel said…
Hi Layla,

Agree with Daphne. Heartbreaking indeed.

You have to shield yourself one way or the other. Breakdown is a possibility if you do not. You are a strong person, be careful you do not reach overload, don't ignore it.

On my part, it is not theory or analysis. On the other hand, I do not know what to say that will make things any different for you. You could join us, Daphne and I, with our drugs of dependence. They make a big difference.

Your writing helps, I am sure of that. I can verify your words are a gift, not just to me, others as well. I look forward to your posts, with both dread and pleasure.

Keep writing it down, we will keep reading it and in the years to come we will remember the Iraqi blogger, Layla Anwar.
Anonymous said…

just wanted to say that I feel with you,your writing is true and good, I am thankful that your blog is open again,
Anonymous said…
Have you ever read Another World and the Regeneration Trilogy by Pat Barker?
Layla Anwar said…
Hi Daphne, Angel...and hello TS, long time no see.

AFTER, when the whole thing is over, I may use only Layla and forget about the AN WAR.
Layla Anwar said…
Iraqi Democrat,

I checked P.Barker online, seems its about the 1WW...But you've mentioned that before. What is the message?
Anonymous said…
Dearest Layla,

The message is not for me to answer, as the dead are capable of answerring themselves but you will understand what I mean, once you finish the book!

please check out the vid in the RE: PTSD.
Anonymous said…
Thank you, Layla, for yet another heartbreaking article. I feel and share your pain.

Words are inadequate at this point...but the day you wish for will come soon. Nothing in this world can be built on others' blood and suffering.

In solidarity.
Anonymous said…
Dear Layla,

Your post was eye opening Layla. As I read it a song by the Allmen Brother Band kept running through my mind, "It's Not My Cross To Bear". "I have not come yeah, to testify, about our bad bad misfortune, and I aint here a-wondering why. But I'll live on, and I'll be strong, 'cause it just ain't my cross to bear."
"I sat down and wrote you a long letter, was just the other day, said sure as the sunrise baby, tomorrow I'll be up, and on my way."
"But I'll live on, and I'll be strong, 'cause it just ain't my cross to bear."

Even though all the bull-shit that is happening now and will go on for some time to come I must remind myself there is nothing I can do because my hands was not raise to start this war, just as when my people was killed for the greed of the white people.

The other day as I bear handed climbed to the top of a forty foot tree to remove a dead limb so it wouldn't come down and hit somebody in a stong wind my thoughts went to the roots of this tree and of it's loss of it's limb. Then I thought about my people and your people and our losses.

But then I looked to grandfather sky and thanked him for the beauty of the tree and the wonderful days of shade it provided me with for the many other branches of life that this tree was still supporting from it's very roots.

It is not the branches that keep the tree alive it was the roots in mother earth and the sun in the sky that made it strong and the will to live on.

As with our people the whites have killed the branch, but it will never kill the tree for her roots run deep. We will rise up to be a strong tree, one that will support the song of the gentle dove that rest in her branches.

Layla, you are our gentle dove and our song to the heart, so let your song be heard.

Layla Anwar said…
Hi again everyone,
I just discovered this really well done series 22videos by 3 Iraqi young men living in Baghdad.
They are recent, as far as back May 2007.
They will give you a visual idea of daily life there.
These three young men are truly remarkable and very talented. All the videos are in perfect english!

And here is the link- It is called hometown baghdad.
Anonymous said…
This was very very. moving and “touching.”
I assume your name is pronounced lie-la and this explains why I occasionally misspell your name as Lyla. (Sorry) I have an "auntie Lyla," my mother’s cousin. Names are important to me since (i) I have an appended colonial background, (ii) I don't have a slave name, (iii) I MUST get peoples' names correct, not a reconstruct.

Most " men " still need to learn about the unsaid language...familiar with it, master it...replace "facts", "figures", "theories", "concepts", "analysis" ...with the half spoken word...with utterings, mutterings, murmurs, those "senseless" tears, and other "emotional hysterical outbursts...
I wrote a very long response but scrubbed it. Too long. Life...!!! What purpose, what reason, when, where, how, why. Here I go again, figuring, theorizing, conceptualizing, analyzing or merely grasping at nothingness, the unsaid, the non-existent. In search of a short cryptic reply. Oh well! More questions. More despair. Are the emotions missing or subsumed by the cruelty? The unsaid does not have a receptor among the “radiance” of cruelty.
Your writing could have been written by a man, with minor modifications. I can very closely relate to it. Thank you so much.
Angel said…

AN-WAR!. Very clever with words.. You do write brilliantly.

When this is over, I am coming to visit Baghdad. Rich, real, Middle Eastern coffee, that tases like coffee should. Care to join me?

Savage, that was a truly moving post. Thankyou.
Layla Anwar said…
Hello Savage,
- thank you for your comment, some nice poetry in there.
I did not raise my hand either for that occupation yet, am bearing the brunt of is ALL of my family, so are my neighbors, their kids, the grocer, the plumber, the baker, the teacher, and all their families, and their kids...and those kids will grow hopefully, some of them are orphaned, and some of them are already dead, and some of them are broken inside for generations to come.
Can I still say I have not raised a hand in this occupation ?

I like the tree allegory...But then am reminded of Depleted Uranium lodged in the earth for million of years...
My point simply put - which ever way one looks at it, the crimes committed against Iraq and its people, from the earth, to the sky, to the water, to the history, to the people themselves in their daily lives, on such a collective basis, we are talking about a whole nation here, not just a group, ARE unprecedented...

Take care Savage.
Layla Anwar said…

hello and thank you for your words of solidarity. The extent of the devastation is yet to be revealed. Things will not go back to normal again...later, at some point in the future..
Do look at the videos I have suggested above. Not just the buildings, the streets, but look at people's souls...and in their eyes. And not only at their words.
Layla Anwar said…
Life !!!,

It is Layla as opposed to Lyla, or Laila, or Lilly...but it does not matter much.

Am curious to know what these minor modifications would be...
Thanks for the solidarity.
Layla Anwar said…
Hello again Angel,

As a matter of fact, am drinking coffee now, that strong real stuff.

When "this is over", truly over, I will throw a huge party, and you are all invited...well nearly all.
Coffee will be on the Americans, Australians, English, Danes, and other coalitions of the willing in death - because THEY WILL pay for all the reconstruction, damage, and they as a PEOPLE and not only as a government.

So angel, start pushing for the funds.
Anonymous said…
The blog is looking really weird. The color different and the post is on the left side of the page.

Is this an intentional design change??
Layla Anwar said…
Lady, yes it you prefer the old one better ?
I just needed an extreme make over!!!lol
Anonymous said…
Dearest Layla, thanks for the link to the videos - I will check them out (although, I do believe I have seen a few, and if I am right, they have been produced by Iraqi University students). But I think you know what I mean when I say that nothing on this earth can substitute the look in Iraqi eyes which is all that I ever look at - the pain, the despair, the loss, the hopelessness - I drown in it, helplessly, dearest Layla and feel so very impotent.

And, yes, the grim reality is that things may not change in the near future, as you so correctly say. But, in the absence of all else, one clings to hope, however slim it is. Perhaps, it's the mind's way to sometimes block things the heart cannot handle... Yet, deep down, I truly believe that Iraq WILL rise, stronger, more proud, but at so great a cost, which can be aptly described as genocide. Your response to Savage says it all.

I'll bring in some great coffee, too, Layla!!!

Savage, that is a truly touching post.
Anonymous said…
I like the new format but the army green is a little yucky.

How about a nice shade of blue? Fits the title too..
Anonymous said…
Dear Laya,

Yes just as the tree that is so deeply embedded into mother earth your heart, soul and mind is to your people, be it family, friends or tribes.

But we must remember the beauty they have given to us and comfort of not suffering the pains left behind. Are we sad, yes Layla, but we should also be greatful for all they have given us.

When your eyes no longer see, or your heart no longer feels you are as good as dead. Just as a limb that no longer buds that turns to leaves no longer fall to feed mother earth and the fruits of it's life no longer produce to feed all living things.

Yes Layla, we are all sad. But you must remember we must be strong warriors be male or female to and not let the winds blow us over. We must be strong enough to stand, but also be able to bend with shifting winds. The weak will be blowen over and die, the strong will bend to tell the story for other to see.

Yes Layla, you are the branch, you are the song, and you must bend yet be strong for we need to know the truth, we must all hear your song. We respect your feelings, we love your being, and we honor song.

Yes Layla we love you.

Thank you Angel for your words!!!

YoUnicorn said…
My Dear Layla

Thank you !
Beautifully written, poetry indeed ! You give us so much with your words dear.
I agree.. men write theories and rational equations.
Women.. women, Arab women, Iraqi woman are different.

They will pay... in SO many ways

We will talk about Love soon Layla ,-)))) That time will come and I will bring tequila and arak !!
Saving for my ticket.

Bless you !
YoUnicorn said…
My comment lost?
where is it?
Anonymous said…
"Am curious to know what these minor modifications would be..."
A few decades ago I studied in Canada. I had a little short white punk for a lab instructor. He was disliked by everyone, for good reasons(pl). At roll-call he mispronounced my name and I did not respond. At the end I told him that he did not call my name and he said that he did and he called it again and again mispronounced it. I helped him with the pronunciation. He said, "You will get accustomed to my pronunciation." I never did. I confronted him every time he insulted my name. I had no slave name and he was not about to give me one.
When I tell anyone what site/blog I am currently reading, I would say, "Layla Anwar," spell it and pronounce it, and they would Google it. This educates them on the pronunciation of the spelling. The correct pronunciation of peoples' name is very very important to me. I suspect I was mispronouncing it all along. Sorry.
Anonymous said…
At the end of this I would like to see Iraqis launch a massive class action suit, that would bankrupt America.

The suit would charge the U.S. media, the U.S. government, Bush, Cheney, Condoleeza, Powell, et al, U.S. corporations, the U.S. Congress, and the American taxpayers, one and all, for slander and defamation of character against Saddam Hussein, and it would ask damages in the amount of trillions of dollars for the death, destruction, and suffering to the nation and its innocent people, that were the direct result of these slanders.

May God make it so, for breaking the commandement "Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness!"
Angel said…
Your blog looks the same as before. I thought you had a 'make-over'?
Layla Anwar said…
Angel, the new job did not suit me...It looked too, avant garde...
YoUnicorn said…
There is it !
sorry ,-((( Layla
I guess the only one lost in cyber space is myself LOL
Anonymous said…
Savage, spare us. we all know you're not a native american.
Layla Anwar said…
Dear Yolla,

Bring Arak and hummus...nuts on me.
Bless you
Layla Anwar said…

What an experience!!!!
What a horrible racist teacher!!!
One day I will blog about my experiences in England...very much along the same lines.
Thanks for sharing.
Layla Anwar said…
Diana and Kathy,

Surely there must be a way of sueing now!???
Oh how I wish I had the means to do so...
Alan the Red said…

O Celestial Womb
eternally outpouring:
Thou heavenly Mother of God,
giving birth to the Christos
throughout all of creation.

You were the mother star
giving birth to our system.
You are our great mother earth,
your patriarch the mighty sun.

As our blue orb, earth,
your womb is alive
with internal fire.

The rocks are your bones,
the waters your blood,
the soil your skin,
the flora your hair,
the air your breath,
all creatures your children of life.

Your human reflection
is every loving mother with babe.
A spark from your womb's inferno
gave life to every unborn soul.
And we are your children of consciousness
free to honor and enhance your holiness,
or to desecrate your grace to
become exiled from your beauty

-The Book of Life

Hey Layla, I know you think I am nuts, wrong, or both, but haven't you ever noticed how really ugly Americans are becoming? Wall to wall fat and ugly. See the last line of the poem.
Layla Anwar said…

I really liked this poem,thank you. And am sorry about your wife. Forgot to mention that in some previous comment.
Anonymous said…
lw the gay dog

You know nothing of me or my people, You sound like jr in drag.

Now go to your den and do what you do best and lick yourself clean.

YoUnicorn said…
My Dear Layla

Yes !!
arak and hummus ,-)))
good choice, I agree !

Anonymous said…
congratulations, dumb ass.

I set a trap and you fell face first right into it.

I've used no less than 10 different ID's here and you coincidentially have picked the ONE common thread. I hope you don't get paid for what you do!
Anonymous said…

Your ids are just like your split personality. To bad and so sad your brit dick is as big as your brain. But don't be to sad that's why your boyfriend loves you so much, because he thinks you're a laughing dog bitch.

Peace up your ass little one!


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