Sunday, August 13, 2006

that liminal moment

August 13th. Tonight will not be quiet. I am anticipating the worst. 20 air raids hit the dahyeh area in Beirut this afternoon. I witnessed the smoke rising again...The house was shaking and I am in the mountains. Two things haunted my sunday: A Red Cross member died on Friday just after he saved one of the refugees leaving marjayoun. An explosion landed right next to him as he secured the man out of harm's way. He died in the Bekaa valley.


August 13th. Two weeks have passed since that unforgettable Qana massacre. The blackest of the blackest sundays.

BLACK SUNDAY July 30th, 2006

Pompeii revisited
A tragedy inflicted by those that roam our skies at their will and think they are gods.
Bodies frozen.
Asleep. In a safe haven! In a bomb shelter.

That day, I was lying in my room gaping at the ceiling.
Eyes open/ closed, whichever way, the images of this morning’s Massacre were painted on the four walls. They were inescapable from my mind’s eye.
They possessed my peripheral vision.
Limbs, lifeless, interlocked together forming death. A bloody, lifeless bunyan tree reflecting the dearth of human limbs. The ones we used to draw in art class.
Life robbed in a dream, a cowardly strike, they were sleeping!!!
The morning was never to come. They were robbed from day break, of the beauty of dawn, of that liminal moment when time stands still confusing twilight with dawn.
Dawn was a blast.
A second Qana massacre.
Lifeless humanity.
A promenade of death.
Another round of mass graves.
Everyone is singing in a state of mourn, protesting and donating money to rebuild the infrastructure.
But, how do you rebuild LOST LIVES?
How does one resurrect death and caranage?
Blood stains, even if they are invisible cast shadows.
People are not made from bricks and stones.
They can not be reduced to rubble then rebuilt.
Saudi Arabia can never donate enough millions to bring them back.

They are DEAD.
Lifeless. Cold. Frozen. Murdered. Blasted. Slaughtered.
Denied Life for some fool’s arrogant power games.
For some fool’s sadistic fantasy.
Blood flows, tear dissolve.
Poems dissipate, broken into pieces like fractured bones.
Hearts burnt out. Souls slashed.
Who will be the patron for lost lives? Who will be the patron for those agonized souls?
Who is this patron of death?
Who will compensate and donate billions?
You know what, keep your money. We want none of it.
We want our clear oxygen, our clear skies, our water, our night.
Our peace.
How dare you stride over us in your pretentious display, pretending to be godly, when you fear death and perform retribution on others for your insecurity!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Puppets in a Play

It is almost quarter to 11 at night. As I write, besides the usual brutal din of planes hovering around the skies, a convoy of REFUGEES fleeing Marjaayoun (they were asked to evacuate!) has been bombed in the Bekaa valley!!! The days are becoming more fierce and more confusing. Besides not knowing what day it was today, the war is becoming even more insane. I don't know or undestand any of it. Could it be that as things become more INSANE, we become more NUMB? This can never become a way of life. I will never get used to it.

"Don't you remember, Ma, when I went off to war
You thought it was the best thing I could do?
Oh, and I thought when I was there, god what am I doing here?
I'm tryin' to kill someone or die tryin'
But the thing that scared me most was when my enemy came close
And I saw that his face looked just like mine
And I couldn't help but think
Through the thunder roll and stink

...That I was just a puppet in a play
And through the roar and smoke
This string is finally broke
And a cannonball blew my eyes away..."

--- Bob Dylan

The epiphany that hit me last night as I read a friend's conclusions on who is to blame is that we are all stuck in this despicable drivel of heightened hyper-realisation and that we are all being fooled; we are tools in a power game that does not care about our interests, that does not care if we have any food or fuel for that matter, if we are blown up, or if we ever see the sun rise again. Terrorism has taken precedence over humanity. Fuel is running out, refugees are running out of places to go, money is running out, as is water and electricity hours are decreasing, patience is running slim, states of well-being are borderline as people think frantically of things to do to Forget...

...and all this for an enemy that is "human" and for forces that shake our worlds and destroy it as if we were mere puppets they created?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

mass GRAVES for the DEAD

They hit the chiah area this afternoon during a funeral procession. I watched the thick black smoke rise from Beirut from my balcony up in the mountains. I finished reading Jean Said Makdisi's "Beirut Fragments" today and realised we are reliving the Israeil agression from 1982. My generation could not miss out - could it? I found myself writing the following...

Mass GRAVES for the DEAD
a requiem inside my head.
I recoil as the planes hover overhead
They covet the sky in stealth as we sleep
Barraging the night ad nauseam.
In oblivious sleep, they think we do not see the blood flow,
we do not feel the sky tear,
or smell that brutal smell of insidious warfare.

My head pounds as I think of what to do
I conjure Brave scenarios of myself inflicting resistance and dread to their immanent crusade
Music drowns out their drill and puts me in a short-lived reverie
of untainted clouds where they would never dwell.
Clouds that loom higher than their flying jets
Spaces that Big Brother can not reach or believe –
What is the deal?
You are watching our every move?
As we awake, eat, moan and sleep?
Mr. Bomb can never see inside my head
Or imagine those places I tread.
My private soliloquy
My bequeathed melody
My own night- tune
My din.

I want them Back. I want that dark comfort again. I want to see Beirut again.
I awake every morning with eyes unslept,
With shadow-less dreams half-broken; half dreamt.
Living in a half bemoans my days.
It offends the hours and its movement.
As if it were ripped from me like the rug I was standing on.
and now everything is floating –
uncertain where to land –
in death beds? or in flower-steads?
Or in that strange place we call “home.”
In our creation,
the city is my art and somebody has to come to sell it,
or worse yet, to kill it.

Day 28.

His voice is amplified
Throughout the country
as people turn to their weaponry and bigotry.

I’ll leave the Hard Facts for somebody else.
I’m not interested in retribution.
I am interested in People.
In us, me, you and them.
In a Poetic spectrum that has no space for War.
We’ve all seen people run away,
In dismay, in hopeless fear, and in disarray.
We’ve all seen the flagrant hypocrisy on our TVs
in – between the black-outs and the dirty breeze.
“Terror will never win” they preach and pound into our sets.
“It is wrong” they belch as they Terrorise our minds, hearts, buildings and sweat.
And they say these terrorists will never rise
because they will conquer evil in every guise.

We all wonder why the bombs and weaponry they use to kill us is not terror.
Maybe it is just disguised insecurity
That has no where to rise but in our sky
I wonder what will happen if they were to look in the mirror?
Would they see Hizballah and die?

Is this a fictitious plan to disarm man-to-man?
While the women die and the children cry?
And people live in schools while their houses are reduced to rubble.
We wait as the empire attempts to shuffle and reshuffle us like a deck of fucking playing cards.
Isn’t that the ingenious game they played 2003?
You know, the one where they invaded Iraq, manipulated the American mass and 3 years later , are they still on track?
The King of Diamonds and the ace of Hearts.
Will it surpass this time?
Wasted Energy channeled into hate and carcass.
Racism is rampant in those places that terrorise us, in those places that preach freedom and democracy and finally come to bomb us into a reverie. Remember Beirut under siege in 1982? Lest we forget the pain, my generation gets to share the strain and fight for those who are dying in vain.
Wasted energy kills me.
And they think they’re gods!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

TERROR is TERROR whichever way you turn it

Every time I hear an Israeli spokesperson, minister, or the prime minister talk they don’t make any sense to me. What are they ranting about? I don’t understand how they can not see the “other.” Maybe I am unable to be objective because they are bombing my country, and maybe my subjective reasoning has been clogged up by emotion and anger at what is happening but what about imagination, what about the fights we have all been fighting for peace, what about John Lennon’s “Imagine”? What about globalisation’s promise of freedom and liberation, or does that only apply to the market? Arundhati Roy once said that the only things that have been globalised are goods, money and services; not freedom, humanity or god forbid justice. So, it’s established that there is no respect or empathy for the lives of human beings; fine. But even if they have grand planes and military tactics, can they be that callous? Who are they to uproot a million people, kill hundreds and destroy an entire country?
I have come to hate politics, to hate the iron cage of power and what it ensues. One thing that Israel seems to forget is that TERROR is TERROR no matter who the perpetrator is! No matter what guise it comes in. Terror is not black or white. This war is not about good vs. evil. They would like to have the whole world believe that is the case. Remember the war on terror; that distinct echo of some forsaken president threatening the ignorant masses; “either you are with us or the terrorists.” What about YOUR fucking terrorism? Terror begets terror. We all know that.
Might is right in capitalist globalization. Hard power is about the economy and the military. Everything else is discarded as insignificant. I churn and wonder what ever happened to intelligence? What about art? What about culture? Can a country such as America make up their lack of culture with a boastful military? Lebanon has made its share of mistakes, yet the people here are not ready for another civil war.
When a country is fractured and blood is flowing, the rest of the world is insouciant and heedless unless there is a profit to be made (i.e. Oil). Aid money is Blood money. America ironically pays for the bombs that will demolish Lebanon’s infrastructure. They pay for the rockets that will barbarously dislocate and kill men, women and children. They also pay for the “humanitarian” aid. They pay for all these things with a straight face. A straight and unfair Janus-face. The same hand that perpetuates terror provides aid. To the Bush administration: I beg you to choose one side and save us the hypocrisy!
It is up to us to reveal the reality behind the mask that the American government wears. The mask that pretends to believe in freedom and democracy. Those two profound and precious ideas that can never be “given.” It is up to individuals to discover them and embody them. You can never fight for FREEDOM by oppressing someone else. You cannot fight for freedom and democracy by terrorizing an entire country!
I juggle with my thoughts and feelings. I think about how this war began and I come up with the conclusion that this war’s name is another farce: “fighting for the two Israeli soldiers.” Remember that America’s last two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and how both wars were declared on a farce. Remember how the “war on terror” was about saving women in Afghanistan and the war in Iraq was about the search for “weapons of mass destruction”? There are probably more weapons of mass destruction in Bush’s head then there will ever be in Iraq.

Israel simply wanted Hizballah to retaliate. We all know that Hizballah was willing to exchange prisoners with Israel. Hizballah kidnapped the two Israeli soldiers, and could not get back one or two of the 9000 Arabs that are being held in Israeli prisons. It is a way for Israel to magnify the war and seek what they always seek; pity. Israel is paranoid. Look at what happened in Qana last Sunday (July 30th) and what happened yesterday (August 4th) afternoon on the Bekaa valley. They killed 33 workers packing vegetables in a warehouse!!! They died in an Israeli air raid just as hundreds have died in the past 3 weeks and just as many are dying every single day since July 12th! You have spies on the ground, so do not make random air strikes. I guess when you fear something you start seeing it everywhere. Israel and America are both seeking terror. Anything that moves becomes terror! America must have felt that way when they tried to convince the world that they were seeking “weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq (I have to point out that that began in 2003 and we are now in 2006!). I bet they convinced themselves that too! A lie can easily become the truth. It is called propaganda. It is also called goodie vs. baddy. This lie is like a disease that is highly contagious. You only need to have one person infected with the lie bug to create a domino effect.
I write now to regain some sanity. To create hope and space for freedom. I write to say No. I write to ask others to say no and to seek their own truth. Seek your truth. Seek your own freedom (don’t take it from the government or the mainstream media). To find freedom you need to seek freedom from a few things. I say, seek freedom from the media, the government and the military. Seek freedom from the lies they tell us everyday. Lies dressed up as humanity. Lies dressed up in weaponry on their way to liberation and democracy. Lies that continuously shatter our dreams of humanity. Don’t be impassive. Don’t stop at the news that you are being fed on prime-time TV. Seek hyper-distillation. Venture out and filter the lies. It is our job to seek the truth; otherwise we are no better off than those folks that are feeding us this bull shit. We can not just nod our heads in agreement and live in denial and in apathetic existence. What are we agreeing to – terror? Remember terror begets terror.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Beirut simply exists

Another one of those insane explosions just went off. Black smoke is rising out of my inner city; Beirut. Beirut covered in thick intoxicating smoke. I am torn. Clinging to my memories of this vibrant city…to the heart of this indefinable country. The one that is being bombarded with insidious hate, creating a sinister din, a quiet that is unwelcome that is just not right. You see, this country thrives on chaos, on a rush that is addictive that impregnates the imagination with strange nuances and emotions and unleashes taste buds that you never knew existed. It inspires the unthinkable and it makes it real. It simply exists. The veins that lead to the heart of Lebanon, Beirut, have been brutally cut. The heart is, however, still beating, still seeking oxygen that has been dirtied, stained by this cruel bombardment of my country. My palpitations have been incessant, my anger persistent. I watch the biased news and feel outraged. I feel perforated, and people the world over chant “No war!” yet our voices are drowned by the brutal force of rockets and bombs. Our voices need to be louder and insistent. My heart beat is amplified, rising over this new quiet din, fighting this invasion with what Beirut has given me; inspiration and unquenchable hope.


I have been wringing my hands, fidgeting, unable to sleep. I watch the night hours drag to the sound of amplified Israeli war planes flying in our night-skies. I toss and turn unable to shut the ravaging noise out. My head is swollen with news headlines and infested with images of dismembered bodies. I could not look at images of blood-drenched dislocated and distorted bodies before and I find myself looking at them now; unable to push them away. I look out over Beirut every night and watch its beauty shimmer and glow. Ah, Beirut—the city that is made of gods, death and love. I love you. I love you the way love is possible between two people. You are my metaphor of all that makes sense. You have been plagued, abused, and cut-up and yet, you thrive. As I hear those brutal planes fly overhead, "how dare they enter the night without permission" I say to myself! How dare they invade our night-sky? How dare they pollute it with their toxins and unenviable propaganda?

I write now because I am unable to do anything else. Groundhog Day has invaded us like reality TV. We move in slow-motion like sleep-deprived zombies. We venture into the day disheartened. I watch the news, eat, read, try to sleep, and help the refugees. The kids need to be distracted. They are confined to a minuscule space to live. In the school where I volunteer, there are 30-40 people living in an average room. Imagine 30-40 people living in your bedroom!

Of course, we are oblivious. We are mad. Angry. Hating. Forced to hate. To Hate militarism. To hate the power that has confiscated our clean air, our blue skies, our roads, bridges, and our night! I have to come to dread the night. I used to live for it. It was my peace. My head is cloudy, and my mind is tortured. The smog enters me and clouds my vision and my day. I’m disconnected and bereft. Longing to go back to that city where the smells of exhaust pipes intermix with jasmine flowers. The only place where contradictions make sense. We are poetic people. Living. Alive. The dead are more than burnt limbs in this sky. So fret and flaunt your grand machinery. Kill and spill blood until nothing remains. But, we all know you are all cowards dressed up as the Israeli army and the Israeli prime minister paying the American government for your state of the art artillery with Lebanese blood; with undying poems.