Thursday, May 29, 2008
A "Fanatic" Iraqi...
Layla Anwar, An Arab Woman Blues
May 27, 2008
The other day, someone said to me "You know something - you really are a fanatic Iraqi"...hoping that he would hurt my feelings.
Tell you what, I walked away feeling 10 inches taller.
Of course I am a fanatical Iraqi. My country has been agonizing for 18 years to the total indifference of the world. My country is totally defaced, turned into a hideous monster. My country is totally destroyed, totally destroyed...
From the sanction years and its utter misery and struggles to the present occupation by a so-called "great democracy". An occupation by the mightiest military power on earth, and again to the total indifference of the world.
Millions dead, millions exiled, millions orphaned, millions widowed, millions maimed for life and you don't want me to become a "fanatic" Iraqi ? Ha!
If need be, I will invent fanaticism all over again. I will re-define it for you - my Iraqi version. I will reconstruct the concept and give you a whole new perspective on what fanaticism is. Sure I am a "fanatic" about Iraq.
Some of you people brush off this occupation and remind yourself and me of Vietnam. Crap, pure crap. Vietnam is nothing compared to this. Vietnam took place in a bi-polar world.
Others liken it to the Israeli occupation. Again, we witnessed in 5 years what the Palestinians witnessed in 60. We are actually competing with the Palestinians as to the amount of dead and refugees this occupation manages to produce. And we are competing with the walls too. Who's got more walls and more ghettos.
But at least the EU and a few NGO's visit occupied Palestine and conduct enquiries into human rights violations...or try to. In Iraq no one visits us.
A "fanatic" - Yes I am. A terrible, horrible "fanatic."
When one is abandoned the way we have been. When one has been forgotten the way we have been. When we have been shelved on the side, so as not to ruffle your sensitivities and your political correctness, yes we become "fanatic" Iraqis.
When for 18 years, we've done nothing but pick up pieces and hang in there, when for 18 years your bombs and your silence has overpowered our cries, yes we become "fanatic" Iraqis.
When our libraries, universities, schools, books...have been burnt to ashes and our kids have forgotten how to read and write, we become "fanatic" Iraqis.
When our brains are murdered one by one - from our academics, to our scientists, to our artists and singers and we learn that you keep our brains in jars as war trophies, we become "fanatic" Iraqis.
When our riches are plundered, our homes in ruins, our museums looted, our ancient tablets trampled on and smashed, our history erased and falsified, we become "fanatic" Iraqis.
When our hospitals are in total shambles, when we knock on doors and can't find work, when we have to beg for an entry visa or a residence permit, when we are shunned, ridiculed, considered a burden, pushed away, humiliated, we become "fanatic" Iraqis.
When we see our elders begging in streets, our women with no food, our men tortured, our daughters turned to prostitutes and our children trafficked and sold, we become "fanatic" Iraqis.
When we can't even visit our loved ones either in cemeteries or in prisons, cemeteries and prisons - so packed, so filled, so anonymous, we become "fanatic" Iraqis.
When our fields have been deserted, a barren land or turned into poppy fields into poppy fields with Iranian seeds. When our rivers are drying up and our trees chopped off, dead. When our sky is reeking with radiation and the air we breath is riddled with uranium, we become "fanatic" Iraqis.
When we see you cheering every single "resistance" in the world, but ours, ours - made of resisting bodies and souls, forged by the fire of your weapons.
When we hear your heated debates and revolutionary hot zeal and feel your ice, cold winds blowing our way, we become "fanatic" Iraqis.
And when you finally hand us, on a golden platter, to the most backward, racist, chauvinist, whore around - remaining a "fanatic" Iraqi, becomes an obligation, a duty, a must.
A "fanatic" Iraq is what I am. You can consider my being a "fanatic" Iraqi -- as my flag, my book, my song and my seal.
A "fanatic" Iraqi is what we've got left when everything else has been forcefully ripped away from us, when everything else has gone and vanished...and no one, absolutely no one, will be able to take that away...from us, from me.
Painting: Iraqi artist, Qais Al-Sindi, 2007.
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