Back in Time...or the making of a Hero.


Yesterday, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror, as I was applying my kohl...

I looked and saw that I have aged 10 years. No, 100 years. No, 1000 years...
I pushed the years forth....another 7'000 years I said to myself. Now push them back another 7'000 years... And I saw Gilgamesh appear in the mirror's reflection.

Maybe that had to do with a program I was watching on the history of the "Visual"...

The first, the very first city in human civilization that wrote a story on a clay tablet, was Sumer. It was the Epic of Gilgamesh.

Gilgamesh had to fight savage beasts and Gods, before he could return "home" as a Hero...in the land of URUK from which "Iraq" is etymologically derived.

Ashurbanipal had heard of this story, he wanted to be a hero as well.
He collected all the cuneiforms and produced the first library known to mankind in Nineveh. But he could not read the cuneiforms. He just relied on the oral tradition, passed from generation to generation-- the story of Gilgamesh.

Ahsurbanipal wanted to be a hero too. So he had the first pictures of a battle made, engraved on the walls of his palace (that numerous modern wars have destroyed).

In it, he fights the lion, and stabs him....It was actually a series of "pictures", and Ashurbanipal came out as the Hero who vanquished the "lion."

We are talking here about centuries before Christ. This is where the very first ideas of amalgamating a "story and picture" came from...

The idea was further elaborated by the Greeks and later on by the Romans, giving a more "human expression" to the various personages that have charaterized Greek and Roman tragedies...

Gilgamesh's cuneiform epic was finally deciphered in the 19th century by an Englishman, called something or the other (I told you I was bad with names...)


Why am saying all of that? Because those of you who love films, may be interested to know where the "concept" of film making came from. A film is made of a "story, pictures and a hero..."

Every film has a hero. Not necessarily in the "warfare" sense of the word, but a hero nonetheless....

And as I looked into the mirror, applying my kohl, putting on my daily mask, hiding behind a face that no longer belongs to me...seeing Gilgamesh appear, I thought of Heroes and Heroines from Uruk and Nineveh, and how our lives have turned into a film...

A film that you watch daily , or that you may have stopped watching for its repetitiveness...

You're probably thinking to yourself, when will the real Hero or Heroine appear and fight the beast and the fake angry Gods, like Gilgamesh did ?

Did it ever occur to you that the Hero may have died at the beginning of the film ?

Ashurbanipal did not foresee that, nor did Gilgamesh...but you --the truthful ones amongst you did-- and so did I.

The rest is just a trailer of more to come.

Or maybe the hero has turned into millions of heroes and heroines quietly leading...

Comments

Anonymous said…
tears for this.

thank you

annie
Anonymous said…
Thank you, Layla, for this beautiful piece. In addition to your personal sorrow, which is heartbreaking, this gives a small glimpse of the rich history and heritage of Iraq - something the barbarians who occupy your land have no clue about - the ones who were bringing 'democracy' to Iraq: laughable if it were not for the genocide they (deliberately) brought.

Yes, Iraq's HERO died at the beginning of the film - more accurately, was murdered. But his legacy will live on. The common human failing is that a man's greatness is seen only after his death - unfortunately, in the case of Iraq, the price for this has been too great.

When, eventually, the grain is separated from the chaff,the millions of heroes and heroines in Iraq, who already exist, will emerge, Layla. Of that, there is absolutely no doubt.

Take care.

In solidarity
RhusLancia said…
Layla sees herself as Gilgamesh. Oh brother.
Angel said…
Hello Layla,

"Did it ever occur to you that the Hero may have died at the beginning of the film ?"

I don't think we put it in quite those words, similar. It was not just some Sheik who fortold of what would happen if Saddam was "removed". My Mum did that all by herself, without the help of world powers.

Of course, Mum was not in search of oil.

Nineveh - home. Thanks. You help re-inforce some home truths.
Anonymous said…
Long live Gilgamesh! Inshallah, long live Iraq!

May the ever wise and compassionate Layla grow in love and compassion for all.

So to may Gilgamesh, Iraqi exile.

Together may they lead the world to the promised land that Moses prophesied.

Love All Serve All. Help Ever Hurt Never.

May the uber cool Gilgamesh, Iraqi Exile and Layla lover of justice lead us all together to a world of love, truth, peace and bliss.
Mister Ghost said…
Bonjour Cher Layla,
Comment'allez vous?

It is I your American Enkidu )))))
My former Archeology professor, his specialty was Sumerian glyphs - he was one of the fewer than 100 people on the planet who could read cuneiform. He did his research in the tells of Northern Iran, before the Khomeni dogs came in to power.

He would regale us with tales of Iranian women wearing mini skirts under their chadors and manteaus.
Of course, the lovely women of Iraq use to wear mini skirts themselves in Baghdad during the 1970s. Hard to imagine such a thing ever with the theocrats in power today.

Au Revoir,
Mon petit papillon.
Anonymous said…
See: Gilgamesh- The future movie! http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=117611885
Anonymous said…
I am a 46 year old american woman.
I am deeply sorry for the horror that has become your life.
I am not proud to be an american.
Corruption has destroyed my life, taken my child from me, and forces me into submission and abuse.
Stand strong, with truth as your back bone. Integrity cannot be taken. This is my very first blog, ever written, because I wanted to thank you for your courage and spirit, that inspires all who are oppressed.
Anonymous said…
I do believe you've gone mad Layla.
Anonymous said…
J'ai vu la pluie
S'abatre sur moi
La neige aussi
Me bruler de froid
Mais tous les "lendemains"
Ne semblent pas si loin
Tant que brule ma foi

J'ai vu la guerre
J'ai vu tomber les hommes
Et le ciel me dire
La poussière que nous sommes
Mais au coeur des combats
Moi je ne tremblais pas
Je ne voyais que toi

Dis-moi où tu t'endors
Quand la peur me dévore
En quel "ailleurs", quel "nord"
Quand à genoux j'implore
Dis-moi où tu t'endors

J'ai vu le temps glisser entre mes doigts
Séparer les amants et creuser les visages
Mais qu'il vole et s'en aille
Moi il ne m'effrait pas
Je te sens près de moi

Je sais les vents, la colère des dieux
Je sais les diables et le mal et le feu
Quand s'assombrit le ciel
Quand la foudre s'abat
Je m'en remets à toi

Dis-moi où tu t'endors
Quand la peur me dévore
En quel ailleurs, quel nord
Quand à genoux j'implore
Dis-moi où tu t'endors
James said…
God your tedious.
Anonymous said…
Salam Layla,

>Did it ever occur to you that the Hero may have died at the beginning of the film ?

Our hero did not die at the begining of the film - if you keep in mind that this war of agression kicked off in 1991. He lasted a good 12 years in the fight and struggle, enduring uprisings, bombings, betrayals (even from the closest kin), and a strangulation of our people...President Saddam took the fight and held out longer than most his enemies hoped or dreamed he could...

I foresee this phase of the war lasting for perhaps another 4-5 years until the invader is subdued.

Until then, the fight goes on.

- Rest in peace President Saddam.
- Long live Iraq
- Long live the Resistance
Anonymous said…
Writing again from America, We don't live in a Democracy.
Our government is trying to hide the truth of what is going on in IRAQ from us. 20 percent of the immoral control the rest.
The soldiers recruited for the war were brainwashed to believe they were fighting for a cause. Now they are starting to form legions to stop the war, and stop the insanity.
So many of us know the taste of your anquish. Hating all of us is the not the answer.
The anger, and hate you feel is self destructive. You are a warrior and a poet. Your true strength lies in transforming the rage into a positive cause. You can be a force of change for your country. Use your spirit for good will, focus on the light, you can cause a ripple effect, and change the tide towards freedom.
Anonymous said…
No, Layla, remember, it was Adam and Eve, or Adem and Havva, or however which way you want to pronounce it. Some of us are finding it very hard to even apply kohl in the morning, so stop trying to liberate us all, George W. Bush tried that, and look at the mess he has created. As for your words for Atatürk, I am glad Saddam at least tried to follow in his footsteps.
Anonymous said…
A must see!

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=1151377721039957577
Anonymous said…
heres one for you,

best as ever
Anonymous said…
layla,

there never was a hero, only stories in our mind,
we don't know a damn thing about this live,
layla keep on,thank you so much for your writing,

ts
Anonymous said…
Dear Layla,

Although you are making an literary library of emotions regarding the Iraqi Genocide, it might be interesting to create a audio-visual comprehensive library of all the material related to this genocide as a virtual memorial for its victims in the hope of one day making a real library where one can place the records.
Anonymous said…
Hi Layla

I saw the lion hunting reliefs (with the cuniform) at The British Museum a few days ago and they are stunning.... of course they were ransacked treasures transported to London. I hear that Iraqi archaeological treasures are once again magically being discovered in people's attics once again and being put up for private sale in london.

N
Anonymous said…
Too true, Navcity. The British have many such ransacked treasures from all parts of the world, including the Parthenon Marbles (called the 'Elgin Marbles' in Britain) and which the Greeks have been asking to be returned - for years now. Not to mention the Kohinoor Diamond from India which rests in the so-called Queen's crown.

The theft of Iraqi treasures (and the destruction of ancient archeological sites, such as Babylon) is one more HUMUNGOUS CRIME which the occupiers have committed. In addition to being barbarians and murderers, they are also thieves of the highest order.
Anonymous said…
This letter reached my desk revealing the total takeover of all Iraq is going on strong:ATTN:

We are a Management Consulting Firm based here in New York, USA and a branch office in Baghdad, the Republic of Iraq.

Iraq’s Developmental Program is worth a stunning $100 billion - making it one of the biggest anywhere in the world - and is set to expand further, as more contracts are signed and projects Drawn up. Frenzied activities surround hundreds of projects, worth billions of dollars, and spanning every single sector of Iraq’s rebounding economy. Iraq’s liberal, Open markets - almost entirely free of restrictions - are helping construction sector activity. Below are list of some of the firms that have profited from the re-building process in Iraq

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/analysis-and-features/top-10-firms-profiting-from-iraq-469707.html

Meanwhile, more leading manufacturers and suppliers from across the globe are seizing lucrative slices of Iraq’s Growing markets, and in doing so are helping positively to forge the future of the country. Benefits from All Iraqi sectors are set to increase further. The country's revenue generation potential - bolstered by abundant oil and other resources, as well as the long-term commitment of global donors to the rebuilding Effort - is enormous. It can rival all other major regional economies. Despite the present security situation, many businesses are already successfully gaining strong foot-hold in the large under-developed and investment-hungry market.

Noamex Inc. is saddled with the responsibility of sourcing for companies from around the world to supply various, compaies Seeking for oil and gas exploration licenses and Government Establishment including Government-sponsored Multi-purpose Co-operative Markets/Malls set up all Over Iraq under the Iraq Development Program. This responsibility is required to be carried out transparently. So if you are seeking for a Supply contract, building contract and oil and gas exploration licenses. Etc Please supply us with confirmation of your intent to supply.

PLS NOTE. Private contractors are welcome too. Offer ends 30th April 2008
NOAMEX IS SUPPOSED TO BE A RE-CYCLING NETWORK LARGELY IN TEXTILES THUS THEY HOPE TO VEIL US DEPREDATIONS AND PREDATION
from Jocelyn Braddell
Anonymous said…
Another fantastic apparition arrived on my desk today - what is going on? Artists could actually collaborate on an attack against this and create a travelling exhibition - who would organize that?from Jocelyn Braddell


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Russian: $1,000

Video, 30 seconds - 7 minutes $7,500
English: $2,500
Spanish: $1000
French:$1000
German: $1000
Arabic: $1000
Russian: $1000
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French: $400
German: $400
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Layla Anwar said…
Annie, Little Deer and Angel,

Thank you for your comments.
Little Deer you are absolutely spot on -- the theft and destruction of Iraq's historical heritage is one huge crime by itself...hardly ever addressed.

Anonymous American woman,

Thank you for visiting and your kind words of solidarity.

Amir, hi,
I am not very good with constructing visual packages...maybe I need to ask the current Iraqi govt, US, Iran and Israel and the Brits to edify an Iraqi holocaust museum.


Anonmyous poet-poetess...

Thank you for the poem. Did you compose it ?

Layth,

Am not so sure anymore...I think Gulf War 1 and the sanctions were Gods that Gilgamesh faced...and now he has returned to his true home...our home.

By the way what do you make out of Muqtada Al-Sadr as of late ?


Iraqi democrat aka in house DJ,

Thanks for the clip -- I need water to extinguish fire...or what do you think ?

TC

Am not sure there are no more heroes...even if they were/are a figment of our imagination, they are nonetheless absolutely necessary....

JocelynB

Thanks for the info, I believe Karlmarxwasright is VERY interested in it and needs some more contact numbers....or links...or websites.


anonmyous preacher,

Spare me...When I will need your sermons, I shall call upon you---And since you are so good with words why don't you preach "love" to your American brethren, after all they are the ones who invaded and occupied, tortured, raped and killed....why preach it to the victim - Have you no shame?

Navcity,

Yep too true, most of the Iraqi antiquities have been looted, traded in, and Israel right after 2003, transported a good chunk of it to Tel Aviv -- a specially designed museum was there for the loot. The Babylon Heritage House.
Anonymous said…
I dont think an extinguisher could put out the fires that have been started.

Here is one song that was played in allot of shops on a set date in September 2001 ;)
Anonymous said…
ID-DJ

Would you like to be Iraq's next minister of culture ? hahahahahhahaha - We'll all boogy on the occasion.
Great song!
Anonymous said…
HEY Iraqi Dem - aka DJ

This one is for you

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jLGa4X5H2c&feature=related
Anonymous said…
of course ill be minister for culture and my first act as minister will be a parade of Arabian Knights marching on Babylon to restore its glory!

Hope you like this one!

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