September 29, 2010

My Family Photo Album

This is one of my Family photo albums, the nicest I've got...I have other ones, of close "brothers and sisters"...but I am keeping it for some other time. This one dates 2003-2004

I don't have words anymore...I packed them every morning early at dawn and sold them on the market...proved to be a bankrupt business - now you can relate to that - bankrupt.

So I decided to share some photos of my family instead...after all, you've all been very curious to know what I look like...so tonight, I will assuage your curiosity and quench that thirst of yours.


The Savage hoards arrive at my door.



Now they are consulting Jesus as to which door to knock next


Blond blue eyed Jesus is invoked


My beautiful home burning...



Iraqi Desert Sandstorm - can't stop God's Wrath.


Winning Iraqi hearts and minds


My family greeting you with flowers and candies


Martyred President Saddam Hussein's Palace - beats your 2nd hand Kentucky couch don't it ?


Oh the Humane American - feeds us with our own food.



Taking another break in our palaces...beats fucking Kentucky don't it ?


American dogs storming a Baath government office, little girl cries - will the antiwar dry her tears ?


Digital, biometric and crotch imprints. Will you recognize us now ?


Solidarity behind barbed wires - always.


Iraqi artificial leg in the winds...must have been a weapon of mass destruction


Another sectarian Shiite whore boy saying hello


Nothing beats Iraqi Tea...


Killing for sport


We have not stopped hating your fucking guts


That's what I said - we have not stopped hating your fucking guts


Finally found the Weapons of Mass Destruction


Whatever you do - these are my grounds, my land - always.


My family's hospitality despite your brutality. House raid by your brave boys - they are offered tea.


Depleted Uranium Reconstruction of Falluja ----------------------------------------------- new pictures available upon request.



You don't scare us...


She ain't scared either...


You didn't even spare my elderly Grandma...


My Iraqi boy has finally become a blue eyed one - after you exploded in his face.


This is my Red wedding day....am ducking mortars, bombs and pieces of flesh


An American female neighbor....she loves being in the "third world"- you American guys need to get your... ahem ...functioning again.


Black American cow, finally saved by the White boys - Where are you Malcolm X ?

Pig Faced ugly motherfucker.


American Iraqi reconstruction


Saddam already fucked you - the Hell that is Iraq.


Keep on crying and hugging - it ain't over yet - Iraq/Afghanistan


No more Western Feminist Pink Codes - Iraqi women are all alone.


Resistance Siempre- Always.


Big Rambo 23, died in 2004.


Exile - my permanent abode.


Broken, shattered lives...


Wouldn't even use this piece of cloth to wipe the sole of my old shoe, not even my cat's poop.



Your end and mine...20 feet underground.

My photo album was first published here - with American commentaries. They even stole the words...the words from the Death market...

I am very tempted to upload my Iraqi song - Where are you from and Where am I from !

I just need to be reminded always...photos are never enough.



Music-Composer : Iraqi artist Bashar Al Azzawi rendition of "Enta Mnen"old Iraqi folk song - Where are you exactly from ? uploaded on youtube by qwqfaris.

September 22, 2010

Torturous, Agonizing Words.

I am hesitant, almost timid...I am hesitant to write...my words knock on my palate, trying to push their way through my lips...

My fingers oscillate, they roam a keyboard, feeling its texture, holding back...like some pianist who would love to play that final sonata, a final say, a final spectacle, a final concert.

I write and I know this is not the final concert...I know that more audiences will queue, I also know that the hall is very empty, it looks very empty from where the pianist is seated, right there in the darkness of that hall, a long corridor, with no exit signs...

Maybe am bashful, maybe am fearful, maybe am numb...the numbness of too much, an overdose from a powerful, violent drug...

The whispers, the secrets, the faces, the screams -- all are shoved in a cupboard, the cupboard of my mind...the attic, the cellar...right where you store the wine bottles to mature, so their aroma can filter through your nostrils -- unbroken bottles.

Mine is just a crowded cupboard...where there is no space to breath...so I try, try very hard to lock them up -- the whispers, the secrets, the faces, the screams...and block my nostrils from the smell of blood...

I set them aside, in a waiting room, like the one you visit when on a doctor's appointment. I leave them in one huge basket labelled -- pending.

Pending...hanging...glued together like inmates in a cell...I leave them there in that tray like some humiliated prisoner eating from a tray, from a dog's bowl...

Often, rage slips through the cracks of this cement wall, another constructed wall, another ghetto where I find myself...jailed behind the cold walls...another prisoner in the night.

I drown my horror in bathtubs filled with sea salt, I was told salt purifies...I curl myself into a cocoon, a fetal position, tucking myself underneath white sheets, avoiding the light -- like an arrested man with a bag over his head...I smoke it away, exhaling it, hoping for some wind to clear the staleness, that fog that hangs over me like a dark mushroom cloud, like the odor of burnt human flesh...I say to my imprisoned self -- this is your last cigarette -- like the one about to be lynched wanting to puff his last bit of oxygen...

I hide, escape, flee...I blot out the words, I muffle the noise, I bury the secrets in graves, I erase expressions, faces, like a blindfolded detainee.

And yet...

September 19, 2010

The little boy who couldn't see.



It has been an excruciatingly painful 3 days. I keep the mask on, go through the motions but inside I am ripped apart...again and again...

Z (a young cousin), his wife and their little boy arrived from Baghdad a few days ago.

Z. has some very serious health problems, ever since he was illegally arrested and imprisoned for over 3 months, on no charges. Since that day, he developed a grave illness - the doctor wrote in his report : "patient developed symptoms following shock..."

His wife W. had much difficulty conceiving, doctors blamed it on "stress", "stress due to environmental circumstances."

She finally got pregnant and gave birth to a baby boy. A sweet little thing, a withdrawn, fearful, quiet, sweet little thing.

They are on a medical visit here. Other people travel for leisure, but Iraqis travel for medical reasons - medical "tourism".

Little A. is unwell - very unwell. Now a little over 2 years old, he can't see no more...his vision degenerated rapidly...in a rush, the family arrives for a miracle solution.

Little A. is taken to a specialist, the doctor runs a battery of tests, shakes his head and marks in his dossier :"cecity - cause unknown." The doctor then says to the befuddled parents : " it must be toxicity related "

That's it - little A. is blind. He will never be able to see no more...he will not see the blue of the sky, the budding of flowers, little insects crawling on green grass, the pink icing on birthday cakes, nor the multi colors of drawing crayons...that's it, A. will live in total obscurity for the rest of his living days -- the toxic obscurity of Liberation.

Father and son are doomed...they are doomed because someone somewhere decided so...decided this was going to be their fate - toxic countries with toxic people decided so.

After the final medical verdict, little A. stayed at our place. Mom switched on the TV and kids cartoons were on. Little A. hearing the little voices of fun from afar, from some distance, tugged at Mom's pleading "Bibi, Bibi - (grandma), ashoof shwaya - (me see a little)."

Then, little A. started rubbing his little swollen eyes, swollen from too many ophthalmological exams, with his little knuckles, hoping to clear his vision...

I later caught my mother stifling, silencing, her cries in the dark, in the obscurity...


Painting : Iraqi artist - name not clear...

September 16, 2010

Short Reflections on the Roots of Islamophobia and War on Terror.

In a general atmosphere of bans, cartoons and Holy book burnings, I find it necessary to revert in Time as History is almost always an honest Witness.

One needs not write long essays on this subject, at times (more often than not) a few lines are sufficient.

And these are the lines I shall present today. A quick trip back in Time.

In order to make the travelling more secure (you know, with all these terror threats everywhere), I will use a proven medium of transport - summarized extracts - with my emphasis in bold and in brackets - from a sound, balanced, reputable and brilliant contemporary scholar of Islam - Sayyed Hossein Nasr. With the hope that the "intelligent" reader will take time to ponder on the ongoing historical parallels...

" The study of Islam in the West began in the 10th and 11th centuries. Because this was a time in which Europe was thoroughly Christian, Islam was seen as a Christian heresy, and its founder as an apostate. Soon the imminent threat to Western Christendom from Islam, led many to call the Prophet of Islam the AntiChrist and the Quran itself was translated by order of Peter the Venerable in order to be refuted and rejected as sacred scripture.

The Middle Ages were marked by strong religious oppositions to Islam. Yet it was at this time that the West showed the greatest interest in Islamic thought, including philosophy, the sciences, arts and technology...

The Renaissance perpetuated religious opposition to Islam but also began to show disdain not only for Europe's own medieval past but also for Islamic learnings. Furthermore, the emphasis on Euro-centrism during the Renaissance and the rise of humanitarianism caused many European thinkers to consider people of other civilizations and ethnic groups including Muslims, inferior.

Although Islamic studies were still carried on...they were distorted by a sense of Western superiority and even hubris characteristics that were to continue into the modern period...

The Enlightenment turned against the theological assertions of Christianity and substituted rationalism (as a world view). Moreover, it further developed the idea that there was only one civilization, the Western one and that other civilizations were significant only to the extent of their contribution to Western civilization, which the French Encyclopedia referred to as "La Civilisation "... (par excellence)

During the 19th century, historicism in its absolute sense took the center of the philosophical stage with Hegel who considered all other civilizations stages in the march of the Geist in time leading to the final stage, which was supposedly realized in modern Western History...this was also the period when the exotic image of the Islamic East, with its mysterious casbahs and harems full of nude females (to be replaced by Abu Ghraib pornography) as reflected in 19th century European art (took place)...and  this was also the period when the Romantic movement began, when many minds, tired of the rationalism of the Enlightenment, turned anew to the Middle Ages as well as to seeking meaning beyond the borders of the West...(yet) the manner of studying Islam remained heavily biased, not only as a result of the interests of those powers it was serving, but also through the absolutization of current Western concepts and methodologies, that were applied to Islam with a sense of superiority and hubris going back to the Renaissance definition of the "European man"...(and woman).

Source : Islam - Religion, History and Civilization. Seyyed Hossein Nasr 2002. p.xii-xv.

September 14, 2010

Indivisible...

I've cried for you beloved,
just as you've cried for me,
we've been in each other's lap
for an eternity
ever since you and I remember
our memory is one.
You are part of me
and I part of you
indivisible...

I carry you everywhere I go
in my handbag
in my suitcase
wherever I rest my head
on every pillow,
every sheet of paper
just like you've carried me
along with you,
in your streets, alleys and gardens
in your ruins
and the circuits of your wounds...

We are indivisible
the gods are jealous,
protect us from the jealousy of the gods
you who needs protection

I am a greedy lover
a beggar of hope
I take your crumbs and ask for more
you who have nothing more.

Layla Anwar. 14th September 2010.

September 12, 2010

Ground Zero in Red Ink...

Where does the line between Reality and the Surreal fall ?
This eerie feeling of the Surreal follows me everywhere I go...I am not exaggerating.
On more than one occasion, I have pinched myself, making sure am not dreaming.


I have many instances of the Surreal hanging on to my sleeves, refusing to let go, like little children clinging, demanding attention, demanding to be heard...


2001.
One of the first surreal images that comes to my mind was when I saw 2 airplanes flying into buildings. At first I thought this was a trailer for yet another Hollywood action film. I waited patiently to see who was starring and co-starring in this new film, to be released worldwide...


But it was no movie production it was real. Then I saw a CNN anchor, within minutes, waving a passport dug up from the piles of rubble and cement turned into dust - a passport intact, bearing the name of a certain Mohammed Atta. I pinched myself hard. I was not dreaming. My phone rang, the first thing I said - can that be true ? not even knowing who the caller was.
And the first thing I heard as a reply - was " Massrahia " Massrahia in Arabic means a theatrical play.


Another surreal image that keeps popping up in my mind came shortly after the play - the image of Bush in a elementary school holding a book upside down - pretending to be interested in some children goat story...
Not too long after that - I heard they will be hunting Muslims goats in Afghanistan. This is what they called the Afghans and Bin Laden, the goat shepherd, was hiding in a cave in Tora Bora, a cave equipped with the most sophisticated technology.


Actually come to think of it - those surreal episodes that have been haunting me - started before that September day. They started back in 1990 - right before the first Gulf War, right before Operation Desert Storm.


1990.
I remember diagrams, power point slides depicting Saddam Hussein's underground bunker, looking like a pyramid, with underground tunnels connecting different "strategic" points in the city of Baghdad. Again, equipped with high technology, computerized boards, push button missiles, extra refined telecommunication devices connected to the Iraqi army's central command.
I thought to myself it must be another trailer from a new Star Trek movie...but it wasn't.


After hundreds of tons of bombs fell on our heads, awaking me from this Science Fiction film, we discovered that the bunkers in question were nothing but sheets of scrap metal, under which poor soldiers took refuge, in the desert.


Then, more surreal images popped up out of nowhere...leaving traces of dried blood in the scorching desert sand...


One of these pictures is American soldiers kicking ball - the ball was an Iraqi head, a severed head, a skull. Another picture is American soldiers keeping Iraqi brains in jars as trophies - but they did leave them in the camp's fridge - good alimentary safety methods. Always keep your human trophies crisp and fresh, just like you do with your animal products - you know, meat, dairy, that kind of stuff...(by the way I heard that your American boys still collect trophies - Afghan fingers - hope you kept them in jars too, like pickles - you know fingers tend to decompose quickly).


My mind flashes to other scenes, they scurry before my eyes and I am here trying to catch one of them, catch one like a fly...


1996.
Yes, it's coming back...The fly - that damned fly in front of my nose. I give it one final blow and it falls to the ground, crashes down like a MIG. I look at it lying between my feet, I grab a tissue, pick it up and place it carefully inside, fold the tissue and keep the shocked and awed creature in my bag. I am hoping to find the old man. I had spotted him in the Souk...I remember him fairly well, he had small beady eyes, no front teeth, a very frail body, a walking skeleton in rags. He was holding a bag in his hand...he approached me with a smile.


"Buy one for me " he said. I looked inside his treasure - a bag full of dead flies. "Buy one as feed for your birds " he said, in a pleading voice.


I kept the embalmed dead fly in my bag, hoping to find the Hajji, and give it to him.


Yes, they are creeping up again, those scenes, like worms from the underbelly of the earth...crawling on my skin again...like in a nightmare.


These were the sanction years. The Hajji with his dead flies, my album of pictures of little monsters from DU, my Frankenstein album, I collected those like the Hajji collected dead flies..and more, more...


A hospital corridor, an emergency room, an ECG with no ink, ink was forbidden. A dead man, an uncle lying there. No ink. The doctor shakes his head. He's gone.


Another image - bronchopneumonia, maybe. We need to run an X ray. No X ray. Forbidden. Grandpa dies.


Another image, image after image...piles of furniture, books, clothes being sold...I pinch myself...it is real. Children jumping from joy when receiving a pencil - pencils were forbidden.


The images now stack themselves in piles in front of me - like documents to be reviewed and approved, like documents piled in front of a United Nations committee, a committee in a room filled with comfortable leather chairs, and men in suits and specs, with the Charter dangling in the background, hung to some flimsy wall about to collapse...


I flip through the images, we are now in 2003.


2003.
Another surreal image pops, sounds and colors...
"Fireworks have illuminated the skies of Baghdad " says a voice with a nasal twang. It's the crack of dawn, 4 am to be precise. I hear a rooster and the call from the Minarets with Allah Akbar, drowning in the flood of explosions...I hold on to the thread thrown my way by the drowning voices, a castaway in a violent sea, holding onto a rope...the call from a minaret and a rooster...


Roosters, roasted...flipping through my mental album...


2007.
 Omar was 13 going onto 14, soon, not soon enough. He lived in Adhamiya. Kidnapped by Shiite militias - the Mahdi Army, whose icon -- the firebrand cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr - is the idol of the alternative media notably the Rosens and Cockburns of this world. Let's leave the driller and his Black & Decker disciples aside for the moment. Omar...


News arrived that Omar was kidnapped, tortured and buried in Najaf - the Black holy city of drills, chains, rods and mass graves.


A Sunni wanting to travel to Najaf to recuperate Omar's body, was like someone signing their own death warrant, like a kamikaze about to perform a Hara-Kiri. But Omar's mother would not let go.
She wanted her son, even if dead... Uncle K. had a brilliant idea. Omar's mother was to travel to Najaf by car but in a coffin. So she did. She lay down in a coffin placed on the car's roof. Another car followed, hoping to bring back Omar in another coffin.


Omar's family was told that in exchange for a sum of money, they will be able to recuperate the body of the deceased. When Um Omar arrived to Najaf, she fell to the ground and kissed the man's feet...he standing up, said in a cold cruel voice - we have no Omar here.


The two cars convoy returned to Baghdad with Omar's mother in the coffin on top of one of the car's roof.


I have more images...each image is tied to a story...I need chapters, volumes to record each.


2010.
The following are not the last in the series of the Surreal. They are a continuation of it. More will come, more will be revealed as the days and years pass, like a sandstorm yellowing the pages of a book whose story never ends, leaving deposits of hot sand, and traces of blood, wounds from daggers in the heart...


A scrap yard, junk, metal, bits and pieces...the US army leaves Ground Zero, on the surface.


American junk litters the soil of Iraq, the soldiers have left this encampment...like an unwelcome visitor exiting your home and leaving behind him a mess...he messed your house, your relations, your life...living off your food and water for years...stealing what he could, breaking what he could, using what he could and fucking what he could...like some of those tourists you spot around the dining tables in a resort hotel, stuffing their faces with as much as they can from the breakfast banquet, stuffing themselves until exploding and carrying away some more with them...filling their pockets, their trousers, their underwear...and then check out, leaving the mattresses of their hotel room infested with pubic lice crawling in pools of dried semen and blood...


So is that junk yard left by the Americans on the outskirts of Falluja, not too far from Mahmoudiah, where Abeer Al-Janabi's skirt was lifted by four American brave boys who feasted on grilled chicken wings and her grilled body.


Fallujah, the Hiroshima and Nagasaki of the new world order, where tumors have become signposts directing you to a city where life once was...where tumors have befriended the children, like a Father Christmas carrying a swollen up bag of toys...


So this is where the Americans left more of their junk...to be sold in kilos, junk made of army toilets, stamped with the white man's feces, a parting letter...scraps of metal from tanks and other weapons of mass destruction, left overs from a friendly fire, from the peace loving people of America -- all for the discount price of 4'000 dollars. Iraqi merchants will purchase the very bits and pieces of metal that killed them for 4'000 dollars. They will recycle them, just like the Hajji in the Baghdad market with his bag of dead flies...


The last picture, for today...for today only, because my story is not ending, not yet...


I have a long story to tell...it has no beginning and no end...so do not consider this as my last chapter, it is one chapter, one chapter with no title and no number...whichever way you flip those pages, you will always fall back on the beginning and the end...


A couple of Americans lived in Kuwait...they drank, fucked, and made loads of money from their ignorance tattooed on their arms and curriculum vita. The Bedouin is a fickle creature of the desert, the Bedouin is the invention of the English man. He works for him, dusts his coat, and hires him. This is how Americans and Brits get hired in the Gulf. Trust me on this one. A couple of whores from England and/or America land and they are considered masters of the land.
I have scrapped through many of them...another surreal moment...the airs that they give, infused with alleged knowledge of the "local culture", in between gin tonics and beers...in between quick shags with prostitutes and business commissions, in between...(I leave that for other chapters)...


So these couple of American prostitutes were traumatized by Saddam's penetration of Kuwait...so the story goes...they were so traumatized, that they, along with the Bedouin pimps for America and Great Britain, and along with the Mullah pimps of Tehran, are claiming compensation for the trauma...


You see, when they saw the Iraqi army marching into Kuwait city, these Americans pissed in their pants. And since that day, they have been stuttering in dollars - 400 Million of them. That's real trauma. Don't you agree ? OK granted it was not as bad as the shaking, trembling limbs from Abu Ghraib after crucifixion and electrical cables wired to your genitals, but still, it's trauma, like major trauma.


I too pissed in my pants...even though I suffer no urinary incontinence. I pissed in my pants when the windows shook and shards of glass flew past my nose -  landing on the table where one single,small candle was burning - like moths wanting to die in the light...


Yes trauma...the trauma of a ground zero, of an infinite ground...traced with red ink, with no beginning and no end.

September 2, 2010

Vomiting Perfidy.

Since yesterday I have been vomiting my insides out...

My first bout of vomit came after I read a transcript of your President's speech, his speech to the "nation". Because you consider yourselves a nation ?!

It started off with an uneasiness felt in the pit of my stomach, then quickly transformed itself into a queasiness, then into a foul nausea, only to erupt like a dammed out volcano into violent throes of pure vomit...

I have over the past 20 years or so, developed a high intolerance to perfidy and you throughout your history have excelled in perfecting what I am most allergic to...

You literally make me sick.

Change - you clamored like a herd of sheep, while munching, ruminating like cattle every word that is fed to you...Black and White, even those retards who call themselves American Arabs and Muslims rejoiced at Uncle Tom's arrival to the White House.

Oh the "principled", "moralistic" prudish puritanical perverts called Americans, always showing up late for change...always jumping on the bandwagon, when the train has already passed...

The peace loving war mongers of the new world order is what you are. Fake and ignorant to the bone.

So you pride yourselves on being "a good people", a "compassionate" "sharing caring hugging" people -- nothing but Perfidy.

For 20 years, I witnessed my country, the land of my father, my mother, my ancestors, disintegrate before my very eyes...20 fucking years. 20 fucking years.

Twenty years of people -- first withering, wilting away, like flowers never allowed to see the light, never allowed to turn their faces to the sun, then from fading into shadows, faltering into a colorless background...bombed, massacred, slaughtered into a nothingness...the same nothingness that inhabits you daily...the same nothingness that makes you rush to your shrink, the same nothingness that you feed with your junk, the same nothingness that you fill with your consumer products...the same nothingness of your void, of the pit, the deep pit that you all live in, and I throw up some more, from the pits of my belly....

So you "sacrificed" for us, so you liberated us from "tyranny", so you "lived up to your responsibilities" --- like you did in Falluja, Haditha, Mahmoudiya, Baghdad, Basra, Mosul, Ramadi...¨"kill the motherfuckers" you shouted...and your wives masturbated to your love letters, or shed a few tears while waving that infamous flag...the flag of a degenerate, decaying country that has offered nothing but murder, carnage and mayhem...

You liberated us from "dictatorship" with 5 times the size of a Hiroshima and a Nagasaki...you liberated us until there was no space left in our morgues, and 7 and half years later, we still search for the dead...you liberated us until our streets turned into pools of blood, and mosques became torture dungeons where those hajjis were having their eyes plucked out and their flesh drilled, you liberated us so we can be abducted, raped and murdered for a 1000$ or for wearing lipstick...you liberated us so our bodies can float on the Tigris and Euphrates, mutilated unrecognizable...you liberated us alright...stuffing us in prisons cells, covering us with your piss and excrements, or handing us to your mercenaries and your pimps and whores in turbans, while you fucked the prostitutes specially brought to you in your Green Fortress... and while the rest of us lived in walled ghettos that you constructed for us...

You liberated us alright...and you lived up to your principles, your ideals and your responsibilities...

But I do grant you one thing, you computerized, digitalized death for us...you see, thanks to you our morgue is now equipped with the latest technology, so 7 years down the line, we can finally go and find the corpse of a loved one, maybe. We even got numbers, serial numbers, you are serial killers and we get serial numbers...

We carry numbers wherever we go, number on our passports, on our ID cards, on our prison bracelets, and even on our dead bodies...the numbers follow us to the cemeteries, we got plenty of them today...all this reconstruction money, we built cemeteries with...well not quite, you stole the money...billions of dollars, so we turned gardens and parks into graveyards...our children play there, amidst the wailing of mothers in perpetual grief...

You are indeed a brave people...a noble, brave people. See, all what you've done for us! Your generosity will be recorded in history annals...and you will be used as a historical example, a model of a country and a people of great integrity -- just like the New Iraq model.

Those of us who could not handle this overflowing compassion from you (as your stinking alternative press likes us to believe - Americans are compassionate people), flew away...escaped the milk of human kindness, carrying a few documents and memories, wounds and scars stacked in suitcases...with no destination...

A permanent exile has become our abode...a new geographical location not found on any map...carrying our selves like some overburdening, heavy bundle, struggling to make ends meet, struggling to survive, struggling not to become insane, struggling not be engulfed by that nothingness of yours...

Scratching humanity with our nails...trying to find it, digging with our bare hands, sometimes wishing that we were buried there, alongside our loved ones...sometimes wishing we were never born, sometimes crying in our solitude, sometimes screaming in our nightmares, sometimes numbing ourselves so we can match your nothingness...

Most of the time, confused, lost and bewildered...still unable to grasp what has befallen us, in the name of Freedom...other times engrossed with story after story of endless suffering and misery inflicted by you...with stories of relatives and friends lost in dungeons of Democracy, with stories of monsters being born in the land of Freedom, with stories of disease and illnesses nesting into our DNA and becoming part of our make up, of our being...infiltrating the very essence of us, of our soil, our air, our water...

Story after story...image after image -- wheelchairs, amputations, limbs lost, eyes lost, fingers lost, a child dying, a woman raped and killed, a man tortured to death...story after story of -- poverty, disease, need, neglect, abandonment...story after story of an eternal fatigue that has settled upon us like a blanket...

I watch in my head, in my imagination, in my memory, the river Tigris flowing on a summer eve right at sunset...when the air is cooler (and when there was electricity and drinking water), I watch the river flow, calmly, silently, peacefully...nothing obstructs it, it just flows and I close my eyes and imagine myself flowing with it, in it...to an unknown destination...only in these moments do I find real tranquility...during those seconds, when I am transported there, by that river where everything grew and took shape...from the dawn of Time...

I go back in time thousands of years, when you were non existent, when you had no name, no shape and no color...and I find myself...I find myself and I find Iraq.

This is the only consolation I can give to myself - that even in the buckets of vomit wrought out from my guts, I can still find Her and me.

But you can't.