Free Floating...

I hate it when I have no computer. I hate borrowing someone else's. I hate cyber cafes. I hate accumulated emails to which I can't reply and I hate blog moderation...
All seem like obstacles to the flow of things...

I have some free time on my hands. I err daily. I think a lot and observe everything and everyone around me.I am part of nothing and nothing is part of me...

I feel like an alien, strolling aimlessly...floating freely on the surface of things...

I walked into a small stationery shop. I needed a writing pad. I had to have a writing pad. The shopkeeper pointed his finger to one set of shelves.
" You'll find them over there. " he said.

I approached the pile with reverence. Chosing a writing pad for me is akin to a meticulous ritual. The shopkeeper was getting impatient.
" What's the matter, can't you find anything to your liking? "
"No, no, just give me more time. "
I replied, changing my accent...

There was one with a Barbie cover. Ludicrous. And another one with a Mad Max look alike cover. Ridiculous. And one with Roses - Oh God. Not Roses again! Too sentimental.

I finally settled for the weirdest looking one. A pad with the cover of a fossilized skeleton of a fish.

I walked back towards the shopkeeper wanting to pay.

" All this time and this is what you chose. A dead fish ? " He said with irony.
" Yes, all this time and nothing but a dead fish. How much? "

I carry this notepad with me everywhere I go. Everytime I misplace it, I am overtaken by a sense of panic until I find it again...

So far, this pad is empty, except for a few scribbled pages... So why this attachement?

I remember that for those who are Born Again, they have bumper stickers on their cars with the sign of a fish. The fish as a symbol of Eternal Life.

It grieves me that my sticker is that of a fossilized skeleton, of a dead fish.
But then, how can it be otherwise ?

One million dead fish freely floating, so a few can be born again and again...

Painting : Iraqi female artist, Sawsan Al-Sarraf." UnderWater "


Anonymous said…
Writing is spontaneous, so I can see why you'd panic if you lost your 'canvas'. As for the writing pad being empty; maybe you need some time off. You've been good for too long. Just post a message "I'll return in the future" no date, time, nothing.

In the bible the reference to the fish is when Jesus says 'Come with me, I'll make you a fisher of men'. Meaning, I'll use you to bring people to god. dead people don't qualify, only dead souls.
Anonymous said…
hi layla,

there is not so much to say anymore,
as you tell in your last story the daily small things do still matter...
I hope you can carry on with your blog, you know , it works , has meaning!
please go on, thank you for publishing,


maybe this is interesting?
Anonymous said…
If I may venture a piece of advice, it would do you a power of good to come out of that claustrophobic shell of intellectual and emotional isolation and try to establish contact with individuals or circles close to the Resistance in Iraq or in the neighboring countries.
Charles said…
hey layla.. sorry to interrupt u but im kinda curious? where exactly in irak do u live?.. i asked u this because it looks like where u live there arent as many murders or killings as other places u refer.. if u have internet enough to write every couple of days.. then its not that bad.... im pretty sure that mess over there is too painful to describe it.. i just can only imagine but im sure i dont know what i feels like, but i would to like to know a little more bout you.. if theres the chance.. sorry if i bother u too much..
Anonymous said…
Despite being a Christian, Layla, I really have no idea what 'Born Again' means, except that the 'Born Again' variety of Christian is the most irritating and who seems to think that he/she is the authority on Christianity - by the mere fact of being 'Born Again', whatever it means. This must originate from the US, just as all the other weird versions of Christianity do. And the result of all these weirdos is plainly seen in Iraq, together with all those sickos who are waiting for Christ's return through the destruction of Palestine. They seem to have forgotten or ignored what Christianity preaches: Thou shalt NOT KILL.

Yes, the fish is stuck on their cars, and I suppose Eternal Life is meant just for them. Yet, they are incapable of adhering to the very basic tenets of Christianity - Love and Truth.

May those who are responsible for the 'one million dead fish' be brought to justice soon, and may they reap what they sow. May they all burn in the deepest recesses of Hell.
Anonymous said…
I am tired of life.
Anonymous said…
I want my mom back or I'm not eating my lentils, so there !
Angel said…
Hi Layla,

The choosing of a writing pad is very important. I understand this, because I do exactly the same thing.

Just prior to the beginning of a new year, I spend hours looking for a diary. Not just any diary, it has to be special.

I have lots of shops to choose from. I go from shop to shop, looking, feeling, touching. At the end of the day, I make the choice.

I am distraught if it is missing. It is part of me, and my daily life. My thoughts, little things that make me smile, or frown. Big things, that make me cry.

I can only hope the dead fish are at peace whithin, where ever they may be. Born again, (maybe)into a happier world.

Take care.
Anonymous said…
Osama’s new release was predicted/pre-announced. Prep the pop before The Divine Revelation. Prepping for The Petraeus Report

Before this "war" started, the Pentagon/US Military/White house announced its intention to “plant” false and misleading reports, to further their cause. During “The Cold War” the CIA planted numerous false reports prior to elections and Coup d'√Čtats, engineered by the CIA.

In one such country, shortly before the elections, a briefcase was “left-behind” and “discovered” on a ferry, its owner (foreign agent) having fled to a neighboring country. The briefcase’s contents implicated the communist party with an attempt to seize power.

The fear supposedly created would “explain” the election results (rigged). At the counting of the ballots, a wad of ballots was found, in one of the ballot boxes, bound by a rubber-band. The election was NOT declared null and void. The AIC would have none of it, since they had engineered the rigging.

The briefcase prepared (scared) the population, and the gullible world into accepting the rigged election.

So here we have a classic case of preparing the US population for General David Petraeus’ report.

No mention is made of the fact that, quite recently (2-3 weeks ago) it was widely reported that The Petraeus Report” would be a White-House’s creation with input from General Petraeus.

”About a century ago, French statesman Georges Clemenceau said war had become too important to be left to the generals.
Now, it seems, the Bush White House has decided the upcoming report on the Iraq war by Gen. David Petraeus has become too important to be left to the general.

The Unbearding of Osama and Castro
We are probably all aware of the CIA’s attempt to “spike” Castro’s cigar with the intention of “de-bearding” him.

Osama, was seen having a beard-do at Walmart. Walmart does hair-dos and beard-dos. Chin-do would be a nicer sounding name.

There was, and probably still is, a conviction that Castro’s popularity is derived from his “beard.” Whose conviction? Our inability to confront the reality of a solution, seduces us to concoct the “ridiculous” to obscure our stupidity, or rather to rationalize the irrational.

We never learnt from the attempt to de-beard Castro, so we present Osama “less-bearded and discolored,” as a fake, a pseudo, an unreal, a liar. NPR ran such a commentary today (07-09-08). I wish “belief” was a four-letter word. I don’t know whether Osama really exists, but the crude attempts at manipulation assaults our intelligence. Or rather, our education system has already so molded our “understanding an/or interpretation”

On NPR Bin Laden Tape: Timing Over Substance

On NPR " The tape is "a reminder about the dangerous world in which we live," Bush said.
"It's important that we show resolve and determination to protect ourselves, deny al-Qaida safe haven and support young democracies," Bush said.

BBC “co-conspirator” headline news ”Iraq carnage 'mastermind' killed”
The Petraeus Report, out tomorrow. More shifting of tax-payers money to the pockets of The Corporations of The Killing

And a contribution to Hell’ary Clintoris working towards the climax in November ’08.

Bill Clinton Urges 'Substantial Drawdown' in Iraq

This woman, in her run for the Senate, claimed she had no designs on the Presidency. Maybe a Coup d'√Čtat?
With The Bill, we had two for one; with he’r we’ll have four for two.
Anonymous said…
The Petraeus Report is expected on September 15th.

I apologize for my assertion, "The Petraeus Report, out tomorrow."
Anonymous said…
Layla, when I was a schoolboy there was a girl who alwas used to walk to school holding an A4 notebook across her chest. I was 14 and she must have been 16. She used to hold the notebook with her arms crossed... kind of like someone would hold a teddy bear. God knows what she wrote in it...and all I remember is that the notebook was in feminine colours....13 years have passed by and that notebook has probably been reincarnated as a toilet roll!

Let's hope for peace and a time when young Iraqis are able to write about love, longing, desire, beautiful sunsets and summers and all the things that young people should be going through rather than the pain and suffering that persists.

p.s. did you know that one of the meanings of laila is 'the pleasure of wine'? :-)
Anonymous said…
Hi Layla,

I've never written to you before, but am from America and read your blogs semi-regularly. I am SO sorry for what your country is going through and has gone through because of us. I was horrified the day we invaded Iraq in 2003 and continue to be so as I read of all the deaths and destruction being done to your country...because of us. I was wondering if you could post a blog about the General Petraeus report that was discussed today. I want to know YOUR opinion on whether or not "things are better" there. I just don't believe a word our military says and don't trust my current government to tell the truth. So please give me/us your opinions to this:

Of course, there is nothing I can say to make you think good of us Americans, but I want you to know that not all of us approve or approved of the "illegal invasion" of your country in the first place. We also would like those responsible for this to be held accountable. But unfortunately, many of our politicians refuse to face reality.
Anonymous said…
caring said...
If I may venture a piece of advice,

Hi that you? If so, are you back in Algeria or still in France? Trust you escaped the recent violence--Paris is so much more civilized. Layla certainly needs all the advice she can get. Even as she is into her 40's she has not quite matured yet as evidenced by her "claustrophobic shell of intellectual and emotional isolation". She needs all the platitudes and indeed that motherly tough love she can get and you have on tap aplenty. Perhaps you can enlighten us all further by sharing some of your erudite insights and prose, undoubtedly at a more experienced and sophisticated level relative to Layla's on what it takes to shun that claustrophobia. Do you have a blog you can direct us to so we can imbibe some of that wisdom or do you prefer clog dancing?

Caring, if you are not Maryam, please do not excuse for being presumptuous...

Re: Kofi
Anonymous said…
"One million dead fish freely floating"

Don't forget the almost TWO MILLIONS OTHERS, of whom about 700.000 INFANT "fish" who also "went afloat" of EASILY CURABLE diseases during the CRIMINAL embargo years.

"But Madeleine hath said it was 'worth it';
And, sure, Madeleine is a honourable woman !"

Fuck this CATTLE's world.
Angel said…
Layla, hope all is well with you. Are you MIA again?
Layla Anwar said…
Hi Everyone,
Have not been able to blog lately.
Lots of stories to "share"...
I need a computer, and an internet access pronto...Alas no such luck.
If Maryam is still around under a different pseudo...well the Big for you Maryam.
Angel, what does MIA mean...Am a backward Arab remember! We do not understand abbreviations.
To American anonymous. It's all over baby blue...Sorry will not do a single thing. It's too little, too late, too weak, too...too useless. But hey thanks anyways.
Will get back later if I can...
Anonymous said…
Re: Kofi (what an alias !!)

You are wrong, I am not that silly goose "Maryam" (thank God).

As for my advice to Layla, what else would you have suggested ?

Maybe "yes, you are right, there is no hope left, everything is lost, let's all raise the white flag" or something of that kind ??

Oh, and for "that" problem of yours, the ancients strongly recommended warm milk with a few dates on the evening just before going to sleep.

Victoria from Detroit.
Anonymous said…
MIA:Missing in action
Anonymous said…
Why do I have the distinct feeling that JR the sad Brit is still fooling around here under different pseudos ?
Anonymous said…
Layla Anwar said:
"It's all over baby blue..."

If you TRULY believed'd not be still blogging ;-)
Anonymous said…
Layla, MIA Missing In Action
Angel said…
Americanisn, Layla. Probably should not have used the abbrev. but figured there were thousands upon thousands of Iraqi's missing in action.

I think Iraq has "earned" the right to use it, literally.

Missing in Action.

Glad you're OK.
Layla Anwar said…
Ok Thanks. I now know what MIA means. See am a fast learner of American abbrev. By the way, why do they say OJ instead of Orange Juice like normal people would do?
Is it some kind of laziness ? The English language is after all the simplest compared to other languages.
Layla Anwar said…
I do believe Iraq is finished. So it is all over baby blue.
Layla Anwar said…
I do miss JR. Where is he?
Anonymous said…
"I do believe Iraq is finished."

So why on earth would the Iraqi Resistance be fighting on and on, in your opinion ?

Just so to pass the time ?
Layla Anwar said…

That is a fair question. I will reply to you in a future post. And you will understand why I think it is finished as a progressive secular united nation.
Angel said…
Layla, I say orange juice. Normal. It's probably all the war movies, past and present, using MIA. It rubs off on you.
G.Gar said…
"And you will understand why I think it is finished as a progressive secular united nation".

That can't be true........Don't let your enemies get to you........
Anonymous said…
Layla Anwar,

"And you will understand why I think it is finished as a progressive secular united nation."

- In your previous reply you absolutely "believed" so. Now you've tuned it down to just "thinking" so...Pardon my linguistic pedantry, but may I reasonably hope that next time you will have at least reached the "not sure that..." stage ? :-)

- "Finished"...Well, I suppose that's how folks over there must have felt in the early times after the invasion by the Persians, or the Mongols, or the Turks, or the Brits. And yet...

- Your resistance vanguard is declaredly "progressive, secular and united". If the sellout rabble is not, or is no more, tough shit. After the liberation, they will all have to submit to the reinstated Iraqi Constitution (progressive, secular and unitarian)...or else ! ;-)

And last, a little provocation...

- If it is totally, truly and definitively "all over", as you say...then Bush was correct when he declared "Mission Accomplished" !!!???

Thanks for your time and kindness.

YoUnicorn said…
My Dear Layla
I am back on line.
With all the storms, computer burned. I am rebuilding it step by step

I am glad to read your blog again.
Are your arms better ?
Thank you !
Looking forward ALWAYS to your words and blogging dear

TS is the TS I know?
I have not seen him in ICH.
If he is.. TS are you ok?

Bless you Layla !
Much love
Layla Anwar said…
not baby blue,

Thanks for the nitpicking.
You seem to believe that Resistance movements are totally linear as well as my thinking.
Sorry to disappoint you. Both are not.
Let us face the music shall we?
The dismantlement of the secular Iraqi state apparatus as well as its civil society and institutions meant that Resisting people fell back onto " a familiar" ideology, Islam.
I will not go into nitpicking Islamic Resistance concepts. We can do that at some later stage.
The Islamic coloring of the Resistance is more than just a coloring. It is not a secular resistance but that does not mean it is not a patriotic, nationalistic, resistance.
And that does not mean it is anti non muslim Iraqis.
It means that its ideology is not secular. FACT.
Will it be progressive once in power? I do not know.
All I know is that WOMEN in Iraq, have been tasting the forced Islamic coloring already and it does not taste progressive to me.

And if you show patience, you will understand why I believe and think that the Iraq that was patiently built since Independence into a modern nation state is finished. Stay tuned...

Regards to you
Layla Anwar said…
and one more thing Baby Blue...

Everyone seems to have accepted the idea of a Federation, especially vis a vis "Kurdistan"...
Hence a UNITED Iraq does not seem to be on the agenda.
Layla Anwar said…
Dear Yolla,

Glad to see you back and hope you are well.
God bless and lots of love to you
Anonymous said…
Layla, I instinctively recoiled in horror at what you said to "Not Baby Blue" about a "non-secular" Resistance and the possibility that Iraq will never be the same we have known and loved - and mind you, I am a practicing Muslim woman...
Anonymous said…
So the Great Iraq, the Iraq of the Independence, the Iraq of the Arab Socialist Revolution, the Iraq of the Qadissiyya and of the anti-imperialist struggle, is doomed to end up divided into a pro-Israeli "Turdish" federal entity, a puritanical Taliban-like emirate and a neo-Safavide Iranian province ?

Anonymous said…
Dear Layla,

Turning to strictly conservative religiosity is a well-known, all too human, and transient, defense mechanism that individuals and peoples often adopt against the senseless horror of war and naturally lay aside as soon as peace, stability and prosperity are restored.

These non-secular groups are certainly highly skilled and heroic at fighting, but totally lack political experience, clear vision, and, let's say with all due respect, grip on the reality; in other words, they know how to "make epic", but would not know how to (re)make everyday life.

Thank God, they are not the only component of the Resistance movement; there is still the official Baath party led by Izzat Al-Douri, which is also fighting against the occupier(s), does have a serious program for the post-war period, and has remained faithful to the deep, true spirit of the Iraqi nation: secular, progressive and unitarian.

My very best wishes.
Anonymous said…
amal said:
"Layla, I instinctively recoiled in horror at what you said to Not Baby Blue about a non-secular Resistance and the possibility that Iraq will never be the same we have known and loved."

dont u think ur being a bit overdramatic ?? if the iraqis r not happy with the "non-secular resistance" once its in power (as i believe will happen) they can make a coup n overthrow it just as they did with the governments of qassem and the aref brothers. its that simple !!

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