Friday, December 31, 2010


Its morning. The first in 2011 and the birds are chirping. The little boy found a piece of paper in his hanged sock stating:

Snow White had lost her teeth,
She cannot bite poisoned apples anymore.

Bewildered, he took his heavy coat and head cover and headed to the job place. It was locked. A bare foot lady stands there. Her blue toes show their heads from her black rotten wet socks. She left another piece of paper for him and went shuffling her feet. The wet paper reads:

Esmeralda is demented,
believing she is a nun,
Is praying at night for her God,
Whom she calls: Bob Dylan:

"In The Name of My Bob,
Quasimodo of the top,
Had, at all (shakes her head), no job,
But ringing Bells.
Ballerinas and oranges,
For all those rapers,
Gathering on earth,
Eating hotdogs."

As she stands up, she suddenly goes back on her knees resisting a laugh:

"Show me mercy my Bob,
For I always forgot,
The ketchup and the salt,
For that man with the shining bald".

She stood up, she turned fast again to that corner and added:

"and a teeth made of gold"

She rolled her veil on her wrist and turned, now that she is at the door out:

".. and anything that you like".

Murmuring "just leave in peace" she headed for the kitchen and turned on "BLOWING IN THE WIND" on her dusty gramophone. Took a hotdog, cut it into 78 pieces, throw it in the trash bin and spat on it bitterly. Took a tomato up in her fist above her chin and squeezed it into drops down on her.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Dreaming Soul


Primary school. The teacher says: "When we sleep, at night, our souls leave our bodies. Our souls go to where ever they like. That is why we see dreams." The first idea came to the mind was to meet the soul of that girl in a coming dream.


Chrystal balls carrying the destinies are going down the road, emitting some annoying sound of glass gliding on the wet pebbles of the street in that foggy night. Thunder. Lightening. Wind. Started raining. The sound is now of a wishshshsh.... a sound of a wish. The black Chrysler is sadly empty. The maroon Ford is cold and far. Cats are sleepy for dogs are calm. Rats, as opportunistic as they always are, find their chance to change lodgment.

Trees are deepening their green.

Dreams are growing in circles of yawning which are going round and round while the blanket is rolling around, and in between, the legs.

As the morning is approaching, the more calm and reassuring MEAAAA of that white peaceful sheep is replacing the annoying sharp cock cry and dreams are starting to go behind the deep purple curtain.

Coffee is fragrant. Croissant is sweet. Seal is singing soul with his scar in his cheek. Soul is returning to the body.

Monday, November 08, 2010

a la recherche du temps Bou Saadi perdu

في البحث عن زمن بوسعادة المفقود

pictures are taken in Bou Saada in Sept. August, and November. The song is of Tracy Chapman "Dont Dwell" from her last album

الصور لمدينة بوسعادة في آب،أيلول، تشرين الأول والاغنية لترايسي شوبمان من ألبومها الأخير ومعنى عنوانها: لا تقبع في الماضي

آآه يا ساعة رملي

لو فقط استطيع ان اجدك

سوف اجعلك تركضين بسرعة

أو أهزك

واقلب عاليك أسفلك

O my sand clock,

if only I can find you,

I would make you run faster

Or shake you,

and turn you upside down.

How many white sheep have been slain?

To come back to life again and say a long “Meeeeeaaaaa” to time

For the melting Dali clocks.

كم خروفا أبيض دبحنا

ليعود للحياة مجددا ويقول ميـــع طويلة للزمن

لساعات دالي المائعة

Let Cinderella die, with her time urgency

Long live the pumpkin, our store of stories.

لتموت سندريلا، هي واستعاجالها للزمن

لتعش اليقطينة خزانة الحكايات

Renault 4 got 7 souls.

Like cats they are leaving one after the other

The toothless demented gypsy,

is kicked out of France,

sitting in the side way of poverty and,

is waving her goodbyes.

للرينو أربعة سبعة أرواح

يتركونها تباعا كالقطط

والغجرية المخرفة الدرداء

ركلت خارج فرنسا

جلست على رصيف الفقر و

لوحت باي باي

Everybody is looking for his pomegranate,

to chew its beads before loosing teeth.

The pear tastes sweater, and doesn’t wait,

for its time is faster.

كل يبحث عن رمانته

ليقرط حباتها قبل فقدان الأسنان

العرموطة أحلى، ولا تنتظر

لأن وقتها أسرع

For the pear’s sweetness, the seasons change,

and the clothes fly away,

and the clouds offer more stories,

about Vienna and Wars.

لحلاة العرموطة، تتعاقب الفصول
وتطير الملابس
وتعرض الغيوم قصص أكثر
عن فيننا والحروب

Monday, October 25, 2010

Dlovan Berwari an article by Jamal Ameadi

Lately, Al-Aalem Newspaper, is having some troubles in Iraq. Yesterday, there was an article about the trouble, but it was so sweet, for it has the taste of Hilla in it. Here is a non-professional translation to it. The original text is in arabic

Dlovan Berwari

Jamal Ameadi

I visit the Page of my friend in Sarmad Altaee in (Facebook), to read what friends write on its wall, it catches my attention that campaign launched by the dear lawyers of the territory of Kurdistan and Mosul, to support the newspaper "Al Aalem (=the world)".

A campaign signed by the lawyer Dlovan Berwari, and 14 lawyers of his colleagues.

With my tears I suffocate, and read:

A campaign gathered the largest number of Iraqi lawyers to defend the newspaper "Al Aalem", in the case of the Ministry of Youth and Sports. The campaign was launched by a group of lawyers in the provinces of Kurdistan and Mosul, and invite is opened to each lawyer who is committed to the profession, and finds himself a defender of freedom of opinion and expression, and supporting and defending the general interest of the Iraqi people.


1 - Dlovan Berwari. 2 - Shawkat Al-Bayati. 3 - Evin Khaddidp. 4 - pilot Ziad Hussein. 5 - in favor of charitable erased. 6 - Haggai Hvnd Elias. 7 - Karwan Mohammed Naguib. 8 - Bahgat Brocki tremors. 9 - Said Salim chemo. 10 - Omar Dawood Barakat. 11 - Qasim Khalaf Abdullah. 12 - Muhammad Hassan good. 13 - Derok nevus. 14 - Nadia Younes. 15 - Hassan Hermani.

The Iraqi people, Dlovan?

Yes, the Iraqi people, Jamal.

Why should I not find that strange, under bombardment by the media and international levels, which insists on our division to rival ethnic groups; nationalities, religions and doctrines?

The answer is that I experienced a special friendship with the Kurds, back to the eighties and nineties of the last century, made me know them very well.

In the sixth class of the primary school, I shared the classroom desk with a girl from Al-Sulaimaniya, innocently she started talking to me, the second day, to tell me in a low voice: "We came at night from Al-Sulaimaniya."

I asked her: Why?

"I do not know, my father surprised us one day, that we must move on to Hilla," she replied.

Why Hilla?

"Because my father said that its people are good, and there are many Kurds," replied the new girlfriend.

I do not know whether Iraq's provinces contain districts called on behalf of the nationalities or cities, but in Hilla, a neighborhood named “Hay Al Akrad
(=neighborhood of the Kurds)”, and there is also a neighborhood Al-Heitaoyen (relative to the city of Hit in Anbar province). There is a church in Hilla, and the gold market is packed with Mandaeans, and there are quite a number of Turkmen families. On your way to the main market of Al-Musagaf (The market with the ceiling. It is called that way cause usually all the markets are in the open air) in the city center, across the district of Mahdia, you can see what remains of the houses of Iraqi Jews, with its special short doors.

Al-Hilla, is also a mini-Iraq... Perhaps because "people are good," as my friend’s father had said. I do not know!

At the University of Baghdad, I knew a large number of Kurds, shared my beautiful journey of study, in spite of its cruelty. But the horrible nineties; years of the miserable awareness, had witnessed the peak of my friendships with the Kurds, particularly in the “Shaea Al-Sinaa (Industry Street)’, where I worked in an office of computer services, owned by my cousin Ali.

Kaka Ako; a genius computer engineer, was the most prominent of these friends. He was studying PHD, full of goodness, honest and tolerant, and glistening with intelligence, knowledge and a desire for the new.

Where are you now, my Kaka Ako? God bless and guide your steps, wherever you are!

Ako sits on the throne of the long list of Kurdish friends, a list that was good and clear. The office was run by a number of smart engineers, all were from Hilla, yet their friends and girlfriends were not limited to a province without the other, or to a religion, to a doctrine, or to a nationality; Iraq is the area of our friendship, and from the sun we proceed to distribute the light.

These relationships, which I shared with my friends the Kurds, in Baghdad and Hilla, made me burst into angry whenever someone generalizes an unfair accusation on them, accusations that does not differentiate between people's convictions and options of the political game, governed by its special law, in any case.

Who know me know that my love of the Kurds, did not stop me days of criticizing politicians, when "I think" they do not work for Iraq, as I criticize other Iraqi politicians, whatever their national, religious, sectarian or political direction for the love of Iraq is not proceeded by any other love.

But this criticism does not stem from hatred, but from ample love. For being an Iraqi, means that you should protect yourself from my hate, my grudges, and my malevolence. Didn
’t this compassionated nation’s Prophet accept the phrase "Support your brother right or wrong", after he added to it "religion is giving advice"?

Give the Iraqis a real issue, innocent and white; and unequivocally clear, and you'll see that there is no force that can break their unity!

Dlovan and his colleagues stand, on the issue of "the world", is just a simple example.

Jamal Ameadi

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Journies, Journals, and Jardins

So, Mani was born in "The Gardens of Light", writes Amin Maalouf. Tigris, Babel, Nebuchadnezzar, Ishtar, Gods and Godesses, Aramic language and Mesopotamia are all there, but still, Mani is regarded as an "Iranian" prophet! And Manichaeism is one of the "Iranian" religions! No reference mentions Iraq. Nor Irak.

6th Oct 2010 El Watan publishes this cartoon which declares the release of the 2 non-faster (eat publicly in Ramadan) who were imprisonned in Ramadan and release after its end for the lack of spicific law against a "non-faster" in the Algerian Law.

Reporters Sans Frontiere (RSF) has published their 2010 classification of the press liberty status of 178 countries. Iran, Turkmenistan, North Korea, and Eretria are the most repressive among the 178 countries listed. Iraq has jumped 15 places up to the 130th rank.

16th Oct 2010, El Watan published articles about the events of 17th Oct 1961 in Paris.

17 Oct 2010 El Watan continues publishing about the "War of Memories"

21st Oct 2010

21st Oct 2010 NOSTALGERIE

Al Aalem (The World) Journal, that Iraqi desert rose, seems encountering some problems. Some lawsuits. The Iraqi politicians who might succeed to enter the name of Iraq, for the first time maybe, in the Guinness Book of world records for the delay in naming of the prime minister in history, might also succeed to hurt Al Aalem Newspaper, that desert rose that is brave enough to respect itself, and others.

21st Oct 2010, another non-faster, public eater in Ramadan, will be imprisoned for 2 years

Human Rights, public eaters in Ramadan, and El Watan

23th Oct 2010 more cartoons on the issue

23th Oct El Watan continue to pulish Des sujets tabous (Taboo subjects)
El Watan Journal is celebrating its 20s anniversary. Algeria has jumped 8 places up in the RSF classification to the 133th rank. Reading El Watan in the garden of the main mosque is fairly good experience. The garden is more resembling to a public park, opened all the days. El Watan published today the answer of the court of Oum El Bouaghi on the 2 year imprisonment for the young man who was eating his lunch publicly in last Ramadan, the court says that the man had hit the policemen and broke a window in the police station and that was the reason of the imprisonment, not the public non-fasting. El Watan tells us today about the publishing of a new book by Djamila Benhabib entitled: "Ma Vie A Contre-Coran".

And Lastly, I think it is Jasmin, not sure of, but it is fragrant and relaxing.

With Love.

Friday, October 08, 2010

An old dream

Translated from Arabic, an article written by Mohammed Ghazi Al-Akhras and published by the daily Iraqi newspaper Al Aalem (The World), in the last Wednesday issue, 6th October 2010

My dreams and I are companions of a long way, too long, at every turning in my life there is a dream that might summarize what happened or what will happen to me, that is the way I see it and I am free to see it the way I like:

After coming from the war front in 1985, and after I survived the Iranian attack, for example, soon I saw something very strange in a dream: I'm in the midst of a fierce battle trying to find a lifeline or a place where I can hide in, did not find any near me but a deep hole that lies far away somewhat from the details of the battle.

I go down in the hole where I find a lantern and a number of books. I try to spend time reading while hearing the screams of people dying in the vicinity. After I get bored from reading I go out of the hole to see what happened to the fighting people to see what gave me gooseflesh: cadavers hanging on the electricity pylons and other cadavers put together in carefully in some kind of an order, every five bodies lying together. And in among these cadavers there were some military officers (discipline officers*) searching for survivors to execute them.

And instead of going inside the hole I find myself going out in calm, the officer sees me, then I start to run the fastest way I can taking care not to step on a cadaver. Then I keep running out of breath till I reach a house of a friend of mine, I kick its door by my feet and enter. When I reach the corridor I got surprised by two things: the first is that I entered with one of a pair of my shoes leaving the other one of the pair outside, the other thing is that there is a butcher engaged in stripping off the skin of a sheep in the corridor.

When I told my dream to "Um Wa'ad", our neighbor, she said that I will survive the war and that I will be kept concealed from its hazards in the school (the hole) till it ends and when I asked her about the one pair of the shoe that fell from me in the street she said: I don't know… it might be your brother, God only knows!

Her interpretation was antecedent since after three years the one pair of the shoe had fallen in the death valley where my brother had been lost while I survived the war by remaining in the hole of "the classroom" failing twice to pass the final exams of the year deliberately so that I delay my stay in my refuge.
Meanwhile, the dreams or nightmares were not forgetting to visit me between a night and another and it was always that same old dream environment and its parts, the most obvious among them are the presence of the killed bodies and the going inside holes that resemble the mass graves, and also the run away from the "discipline officer*" to escape a particular impasse.

The origin of those dreams, I think, goes back to the atmosphere that I found myself surrounded by them during the terrible attack launched by the Iranians in 1985.

The attack began at two A.M. coming from the direction of (Al-Uzayr) and we were in one of (Al-Qurna) villages facing the marches of (Al – Haweeja). Would I forget that night ever?

I can assure you I will not forget. How can that be when the planes were closer to our souls than the pulse of our hearts? Or how I forget that night and the hum of Iranians' bullets came close to scratch our heads by its fire while the cannons were plowing the earth like oxen in rage?
I remember when the attack ended and I returned to the my position I was surprised by one of the Iranians who have been killed on my sponge made bed after he used it outside its position. The young man lying on the bed sheltered by a wall of dirt bags in front of him, he slept on a pool of blood with a rather long rifle.

At morning we received a command to bury dozens of bodies on the edge of the marches after taking photographs to the cadavers by the cameras of the political recommendations (a kind of press controlled for political reasons). I remember now the cheap adulation of some of the soldiers and who their claimed the championship in front of the cameras to the extent that one of them stepped on the body of an Iranian and started to shout in front of the camera, a noble Iraqi soldier shouted at him: what are you doing you fool, if he was alive would you put your feet on him!
The soldiers were taking out the peanut from the backpacks of the Iranian cadavers then they put them in mass graves. Some good soldiers were reading on the souls of those poor a sura (a chapter) from the Holy Quran.

In my subsequent dream the dead lined up in groups of five, while others cadavers were hanged on the electricity poles. The final image of the stocks may comes from the social reservoir that fill our memories like embers boiling in a head of a "narjeela (water pipe)".

In my subsequent dream there is also a hole in which there are the lantern, books, and boy hiding from "military discipline" soldiers. These elements may each need to special pause but nor the place, nor the time give me the opportunity to do this now.

I remember an anecdote about the discipline soldiers, the hero of which is a friend of mine kept escaping the joining of the army for years. And this friend used to come to me every evening and went back after an hour or two. And as usual I was taking him to his home which is not too far from ours.

In one of the evenings we went as usual but there was a group of "discipline soldiers" standing in the street so we turned back and headed to my home. After more than an hour we went again we saw that the group is still standing. Annoyed, my friend Mohammed Naheer, a fugitive from the army, and suggested sarcastically to wait half an hour and then to send my sister's son Emad who was 5 years old to the commander of the discipline soldiers group. And there this dialogue can occur between Ammoudy (nick name of Imad) and the soldier:

"uncle, when you will go?"

"why uncle?"

"we got a fugitive want to go to his home and is waiting for you to go"


Was that a dream or a nightmare…. Or was it this and that!

· Discipline soldiers are type of Iraqi soldiers whose job was to "care" for those Iraqi civilians who run away from the obligatory military service.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

A Late Notice of a Nightmare

I got to confess that I didn't know about Halabja before 2003. I didn't know about the mass graves in my land. My land?

Before 2003 I was a bundle of nerves and bones tight together in a mess, or maybe a in a mass, a mass of ignorance and bitterness. In my Baghdad of the 90s the air was full of ashes, the skies were full of ashes, and the black rain had blackened my face and blinded me in silence. Most of us, who lived in Baghdad, lived?, in the 90s, were unable to notice the silent blindness of ours. But for him, that Tahar ben Jelloun, "The Rising of Ashes" was as clear as a vivid nightmare.

Dans leur chute
les etoiles perdent la lumiere
elles s'ecrasent dans ce desert sans faire de bruite.

Il est tard pour notre Destin.
Nous arrivons toujours en retard pour vivre
mais pour mourir ils disent que nous somme prets."

… I was with my friend who shared me the interest of taking photos to Baghdad when the shooting started. We started to run. The pedestrian bridge was narrow. There were much people than the bridge can hundle. When we reached the stairs which would take us down the bridge I fell. People fell over me and we started rolling together in a messy mass down the stairs. The shooting continued. I started to hear the voice of the reporter who seemed to report our death to the T.V. His voice was describing what was happening. While his voice was explaining what was happening, my body came to fall next to a window. Its glass was not so clean. I knew that if I succeed to break the glass I would survive. I gathered my will in my fist and stroke the glass of the window with a blow. But the blow was so feeble. It was time to shut my eyes. As I shut my eyes in my dream I woke up in the dim room. I went to the kitchen to drink a glass of water.

" .....
mais pour mourir ils disent que nous sommes prets.
Nos enfant aussi. Legers comme des papillons ils sautent en chantant,
ils sautent sur des mines et leurs corps s'eparpillent en fummee et en cendre.
Il pleut des cendres sur nos vies."

Ils pleut des cendre sur nos vies.
Quelles vies?
Un peu de soleil dans l'abime
corps nubiles
visages blemes et regards suspendus
dans ce bol de cendres melees." p. 24 from La Remontee des Cendres

Tahar Ben Jelloun, had not only saw that ashes, the mass graves, and Halabja. He had also knew about my nightmares. He wrote it in a long poem in the 1991, and it took me 19 years to hear about it, to find it by accident in Alger, a book waited for me since long time, and a writer who is existent and responsible, and an example to follow.

The photos in the movie were the last 4 photos I got to Baghdad before I left. The first photo and the third were taken by my friend seen in the dream. The song is of Tracy Chapman named "Bridges".

Friday, September 10, 2010

Bringing History Alive

I remember that Algerian woman in one of Rachid Boudjidra's novels who asks the Communist Algerian elder who used to tell her about the liberation revolution in precise dates. He remembers the days. But she used to have a strange kind of lust to know more about the personal characters of the men of history. She would ask: what he was like, how he was dressing, does he have some habits? What kind of sport he liked?

Shua'ayb was the boy who shared me my desk in the 3rd grade in secondary school. And our desk was full of dates. Dates we used to write down before the history lesson starts so that we remember the dates of our different revolutions. Dates and numbers and wars. That was our history lesson given to us by that angry teacher who didn't like us. We weren't parrots and hence we were hated and rejected by her. It was then when I started to learn to smoke more cigarettes and to hate being polite.

Ali Bader's novel title "the naked feast" is about that day in 1917, that day in the life of the guardian of Al Qushla, Mahmood Baig. A day before the UK forces enter Baghdad and defeat the Ottoman empire army. The language of the government by then was Turkish. Mahmood Baig still remembers that day when he wanted to play with Ara, the Christian child, Ara said: "go wash your face you dirty". Mahmood kept washing his face but he didn't become white like Ara. His inferiority complex was clear in front of Beatrice the Armenian who smells like soap. His inferiority complex was evident in front of every Christian.

Mahmood was fearful from whiteness and cleanness. Whiteness and cleanness was united in the body of each Armenian woman. In all chrestian women bodies. The body that smells like soap, the smell that he likes, desire, and fear.

In that contest, Ali Bader, started telling us history. He gave us a lesson of history in his novel. He gave life to Baghdad of 1917 when Al Zahawi who believed with all of his emotions in Darwin's origin of species and started talking about it in Al Shabender café surrounded by his audience. The Imam who declare Al Zahawi as an atheist and the problems thereafter.
The Ottoman empire as representatives of Islam, and the UK as representative of Christianity, and how the Germans stood with the side of the Ottomans, hence made the people awaken from their naivety and making fun of how the king of Germany declared his Islam and Abbas Merza volunteered to circumscribe him for free!!
Told us about the government when don't give the salaries to the soldiers and how they would break into the market and steal from the merchandise. How the Ottoman Empire used to take Baghdadis for wars in Russia in the name of Jihad for Islam. About how the Ottoman army used to steal from the people's houses in those horrible "Farhoods".

When we love, we exaggerate. That was obvious in the way I see Baghdad. As a reaction to its current ugliness, I tended to search in its past for spots of beauty and exaggerated them, so as to say, that I got a country that worth my living in it. A living that carries its risks of death daily. But the real Baghdad is not that beautiful, nor that special. Take this trial of translation by me for one of the pages of Ali Bader's novel as an example:

"No doubt that the real Baghdad was not to Maud, Thompson and to Hooker nor to any other English soldier the golden dust described by Richard Burton's translation of The Thousand Nights and a Night, and it was not to the Indian Muslims who came with the occupation army the capital of the Muslims, which had long dreamed of seeing through the writings of Sayyid Ahmad Khan in his book (The Surprise of People in Knowledge of Baghdad), which was printed in Calcutta in the eighteenth century, but it was another city, a city ravaged by gendarmerie's mules, and cannons of the occupiers, and epidemics, wars, floods, it must be that they recognized how lucky this city which built its legends, a city manufactured by delusions, dreams and myths, its image is closer to myth than its reality, the reality of its water turbidity, and poor populations, and poisoned air, scanty food, and filth, and dirtiness, and blackness, and decay…." P.282

Sunday, August 01, 2010

About Parents and Love

J'ai de l'amour plein la tete un coeur d'amitie
Je ne pense qu'a faire la fete et m'amuser
Moi vous pouvez tout me prendre je suis comme ca
Ne cherchez pas a comprendre ecoutez-moi
Dans toute la ville on m'appelle le mendiant de l'amour
Moi je chante pour ceux qui m'aime et je serai toujours le meme
Il n'y a pas de honte a etre un mendiant de l'amour
Moi je chante sous vos fenetres chaque jour

We were in our Passat near Al Baya'a when I said: "I hate him!". My father answered: "Do not hate Sami, don't use this word, use another". I was in my primary school and I cannot remember exactly how the discussion went. "Do not hate" was not that clear to me, "how can I control my emotions?" I must have asked. But the answer came with years passing by, and love prevailing.

Donnez moi de la tendresse surtout pas d'argent
Gardez toutes vos richesses car maintenant
Le bonheur n'est plus a vendre le soleil est roi
Asseyez vous a ma table, ecoutez-moi
On est tous sur cette terre des mendiants de l'amour
Qu'on soit pauvre ou milliardaire, on restera toujours les memes
Ces Hommes extraordinaires ces mendiants de l'amour
Moi j'ai besoin de tendresse chaque jour

The 90s were tough years. Poverty struck Iraqis and hunger was usual. In most homes, there was one main meal, a lunch, but the breakfast and dinner was not always there. While the family eats together, a member would give from his dish a present to the one s/he loves. My parents must have felt that we are not getting enough food. We, the children, were eating so fast, finishing before parents who find themselves giving us a present from their dish. When they sometimes don't do that I can still remember how angry I used to feel. On the other hand my parents wanted me to continue the piano lessons but it was not for free and I lost some of my interest. I started to love hard rock and guitars. Father took me to Al Nithal street to buy me a guitar. After few days I played my first piece, a Fairoz song, surrounded by my family's applauding. Those years will not be forgotten, the years when we were united by hunger and love.

Alors laissez-moi vous dire la generosite
C'est une larme de sourire a partager
Je n'ai pas envie d'apprendre pour qui et pourquoi
Je n'ai pas de compte a rendre, ecoutez-moi
Dans toute la ville on m'appelle le mendiant de l'amour
Moi je chante pour ceux qui m'aime et je serai toujours le meme
Il n'y a pas de honte a etre un mendiant de l'amour
Moi je chante sous vos fenetres chaque jour

In my teenage years I've been too rough on my parents. Now that I remember those days I feel so impressed by their patience and calm. In my 20s I started to criticize their upbringing by comparing that to psychological theories of the right upbringing. I told them some of my thoughts in bursts of anger. Yet, they kept being calm. Father used to bring me coffee to my room when I study, my Mom made me orange juice. Now that I've not seen them for the last few years I miss them so much. And I hope they know that I got the lesson of love they gave me.

Donnez donnez dodo-onnez
Donnez donnez moi
Donnez donnez dodo-onnez
Dieu vous le rendra

Friday, July 23, 2010

To Be or not to Be, it is a Matter of Love

From a loving mother he learns how to love himself, he identifies with his loving father. They love him for what he is, and do not push him to their "Great Expectations". His ideal self is not that difficult to achieve, hence he got no narcissistic injury. He knows what he must do, and knows what he can. He doesn't blame his self harshly like those who got harsh superegos. He loves him self and he loves the world. But what that child whose parents are unloving?

Pic.1 Hassan Al-Alawi

Hassan Al Allawi attributes Saddam's cruelty to his harsh childhood and absence of love. Saddam suffered a narcissistic injury. Saddam came up to a conclusion that he cannot be loved really. He couldn't trust people. Saddam's school was few kilometers away from his home in his rural area, Al Auja. He used to hold an iron stick in his way to defend his self from the attacks of wild dogs and to remove the thorns from his way. In the school, and at the city, he felt no one defending him, no one loved him, he whose father is dead, and his mother is married to another man, a thing not easily accepted in his society. The only thing that defended him was his iron stick even when he ruled Iraq. Saddam didn't believe in peace because he was not in peace with his self, as Hassan Al Alawi wrote once.

Pic 2. The Great Expectations 1946 movie's cover

Mr. Pip the protagonist of Charles Dickens's "Great Expectations". He was an orphan. His older sister was so cruel and unloving. His environment was harsh as we see when he went visiting his parent's tomb in the graveyard and how he was frightened by that prisoner. He used to work with his sister's husband as a blacksmith. He was chosen by that wealthy bizarre old lady to spend some time with her and with Estella, that beautiful wealthy girl who used to torture Pip in an unusual way by uttering comments in his ears like: "Common boy"… "I hate you"…"stupid clumsy laboring boy"…"look at his hands (referring to their dirtiness)" … "look at his boots (in referring to how much they are old and sheared" … but she then feel some need to show her charm to him and to offer him a kiss when she likes, to continue then her harsh comments. Such sadism that was enough to cause Pip ambivalent feelings and narcissistic injury and an abnormal superego development that might give a space to a psychopathic personality to flourish and to create crimes. But he didn't. That prisoner became wealthy and adopted him and gave him love, a scarce bit of love. He grew older, studied, became a gentleman, then got some happy ending with Estella, and with his superego.

That was because somebody loved him and wanted him to be. Is it by chance that Dickens chose a prisoner "a criminal?" to give Pip love, and to rescue him from being a criminal? To reverse the equation. The prisoner blocked the bad way in front of Pips and showed him the way of good.

Pic 3. A love card taken from the site

I remembered that when I was reading the autobiography of Salim Matar. His feelings of inferiority, his chronic feelings of guilt and unworthiness, his harsh superego that don't get satisfied only when Salim is suffering, all that, what could made out of him?

Many Iraqis share the same story of harsh fathering and neglecting mothering because of the chronic problems of poverty and recurrent wars.

Selim Matar, as an example of an Iraqi, came up with a psychological autobiography with good insight and bunch of articles, books, and magazines about the Iraqi identity issues. He writes in his biography about his discovery of "love" during his experience of laryngeal cancer, and the need to love his own self so that he can love others. It was in Switzerland when he found love, and while having carcinoma. He talks about his former hatred and grudge for almost everything including God. And here we find a kind of atheism with strong hatred to God (as a father figure maybe). When his grudge melted in Switzerland, by the effect of power of love, when his grudge fires were set off by love, he found God again, and he found his spirit. What was the role of laryngeal carcinoma in Selim's finding of love?

It seems that growing up unloved as a child have its catastrophic effect on personality and it needs such extraordinary experiences like that happened to Mr. Pip, and to Salim Matar so that they find again love, and finally be.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Iraqi Autobiography

Cover of "Confessions of an Unashamed Mam"

An old flask moved through 2000 years from fathers to sons, sometimes after the father's death, but sometimes the son steals it, and during the final decades it left its homeland, Iraq, to a more modern country, Switzerland. He who owns the flask owns what is inside, Hajir, a naked woman who gives pleasure usually by sex, but sometimes by telling stories, and sometimes her man chose to talk to her or cry on her chest. Adam was the one who took the flask to Switzerland not knowing about Hajir. Adam that Iraqi who is married to Marlin, the Swiss, after discovering Hajir, started to take his flask to cheap hotels in rural areas to spend some time with Hajir. His lust for sex started to be accompanies with a lust to alcohol and marijuana.

The whole issue seems not that of a novel, more of a short story, a forgettable one, with bad use of symbols.

Generations in any stable country differ from each other and there are conflicts on some issues, but what about Iraqi generations. The differences are huge since the changes were huge and radical in Iraq history at least in the last 100 years:

1. Those who were born at the end of the 19th century and lived in the beginning of 20th century lived under the Othman empire rule and saw the English invasion and the start of Iraqi Kingdom. Don't know if anyone from this generation is still living but he is still living in the mind of his sons. They are our grandparents.

2. Those who were born under the Iraqi Kingdom lived to see its fall by that revolution of Abdul Kareem Qasim, the Ba'athist- Communist conflict and killing, 1963's killing of Qasim and the start of Ba'ath regime. The relatively calm 70s and the flourishing of art, the Iraq-Iran 8 years war (those who participate in this war are a generation by themselves for what they saw in this war had changed their values uniquely), the 1991 war and the starvation years of the embargo.

3. The generation of the 2003 war.

We, Iraqis of different ages, differ markedly in the core, in the beliefs and attitudes, in social norms and rules, in the understanding of history, and in things beyond my understanding and the scope of this post.

This is why it is important to read a novel, or an autobiography written by a fellow Iraqi from a different generation, from a different experience of Iraq.

Salim Matter is a name that you cannot ignore. That "Mesopotamia" journal which deals with the Iraqi identity crisis and stability was edited by him, with few other books about the Iraqi identity that is available in the Iraqi book market.

Photo 2. Mesopotamia Magazine issues

"The Woman of the Flask" is a novel of his. It doesn't worth much like his "Confessions of an Unashamed Man", his "psychological" autobiography as he calls it. He told us about his childhood in that poor quarter of Baghdad "Al Shakeryia", and how they go walking bare-foot in the summer to the river crossing in their way that rich quarter "Karradat Mariam" with its beautiful Armenian Church and how he wished that his parents were like these people in this quarter, clean and well dressed. He told us that he and his friends were crossing that quarter with caution and fear, but didn't explain more.They reach the river, under the Bridge of the Republic (Al Jamhoureya Bridge) and start to swim in Dijla.

He tell us about his emotional father with his mood swings between extreme violence against Salim, and then the extreme warmth and telling stories, and about his mother with her 13 pregnancies, (5 babiess died, 8 left including Salim) that didn't give her time for each of her sons and daughters individually. His father used to tell him stories about the prophets, mainly about Jesus, Moses and Ibrahim. Salim like Ibrahim especially. At the age of 5 he started to believe that God will send him an angel so that he becomes a prophet. Later, when he knew about Superman who came from a very far planet he started to train his physical abilities hoping that he one day can become a superman. His family helped his feelings of non-belongingness by making fun of him telling him that they found him when he was a baby in the nearby farm, and they took him and grew him up. Since childhood he worked with his father in the father's simple kiosk in Bab El Sharki where they sell sandwiches and drinks to the police men of the nearby jail and also to the families of the imprisoned who came to visit their sons and daughters. He loved the nearby living wealthy family's girl, Eman, and he liked their big house and dreamt that he is their son. His father was harsh on him sometimes and very violent. His rebellion on his father tuned to be a rebellion against God and later, this non-belonged man who always felt as a stranger as he says, joined the Communist party to belong to its big family. At the 1979 he left Iraq. The autobiography continues to tell us about his second part of life, and briefly about his return for a visit to Iraq after the 2003 war.

His "Confessions" tells about the contradictory messages his father used to give him, and about his ambivalent feelings toward his mother whom he thinks contributed to the development of his chronic guilty feelings. For a long time he was feeling guilty if he feels happy, he tells us about the "Guilty form Happiness" that he got, as if he must not be happy.

He hated his teachers at school, hence he joined his friends in running away from the school to the nearby cinemas where he loved to watch emotional Indian movies. Later, when became a communist, he started to deal with cinema more seriously.

Selim Matar publishes a film of his "Confessions" on his site:

While "the Woman of the Flask" is a boring novel, Salim's Confessions is such an original work written with good insight, and after reading the confessions you might got some empathy to his earlier novel. Thank you Salim Matar for all what you have done. Your works helps to make the Iraqi identity more understandable.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Islam, According to Al-Jibran's Heart

Abdul-Razzaq Al-Jubran starts his book entitled "Prophet's Republic: An Existential Return" and a secondary title "Muddling Soil" by dedicating it to the deceived by the current copy of Islam, and to Ali Sharee'ati, to Soren Kierkegaard, to his brother, and a female who taught him rebellion.

"I divorced Muslims, hence I found Islam"

“The path of reform in Islam is Kierkegaardian.” P. 86

“Faith is not a must for beauty” p. 87

A book that had been published in 2007 by a Lebanese publication house named "Insan (=Human)", reached Iraq and, as usual, illegally photocopied and sold around Baghdad. According to our local book seller it is one of the most sold books during the previous years.

Who are the prophets according to Al Jubran?

“Prophets are not those who shook hand with Gabriel, but those who slapped darkness” p.113

Al Jubran proceeds to remind us of the non-belonged, of the strangers in history. All the prophets were strangers to their society rules. They felt estranged. Also did Ghandi, Jbran Khalil Jubran, Imam Ali, Abo Thar Al Ghafari, and others.

About the most widely spread version of Islamic history he writes:

Most historians, were the court’s historians…(according to Al-Jibran, those court historians wrote a mutated version of history so that they gain the court's approval and support), while the true page of history, or let us say that true history of Islam is the history of the opposition and not any other… history of revolutions, history of the suppressed, and the crazy… the unwritten oral history” p.101

Prophets are always buried by books and not by soil” p. 112

Al-Jubran proceeds to contrast the behavior of jurisprudents in history against the prophets' behavior and found great differences.

"God pours prophets and people drink jurisprudents"

Social-class and Islam

The prophet came to stand for Bilal, and not to stand for God” p.159
Bilal was a black slave owned by a very wealthy man in Mecca who turned to be one of the most furious enemy of the prophet Mohammed because the prophet tried to free Bilal and to makes him equal to the wealthy man. Al Jubran thinks that feelings of strong rejection to the prophet by as such wealthy men of Mecca were not because of the new religion per se, but because of social-class problems.

Forced Faked Faith

Al Jubran reminds us of one of the prophet's quotations in which Mohammed the Prophets disapprove the behavior of those people who want to drag other people to heaven in chains. Al Jibran reminds us that the Prophet's problem were not with those who just didn't believe in him, but mainly with the injustice. Al Jubran concludes:

"God is concerned mainly with injustice and not with unbelief."


Al Jubran is an Iraqi. He might have some respect to Iraqi Communists. He declares in a short quote that: "Communists are closer to God". Since communists usually don't steal in Iraq, then you will find them poor here, and hence they haven't the capability to leave the country to a safer and secure one. And since many Iraqi communists are known for their love for alcohol, Al Jubran quoted:

"If the communists are drinking wine in the bar, then the Islamists (=political Islam) are drinking money in the mosques, and God's problem is not the drunk, but the poor!"

Old Temple New Temple

"The first thing the prophet had destroyed was a temple" p.126

"the problem of the people here is that they cannot find a door to the prophets but the jurisprudents and this what makes them enter to this cave they call a mosque in spite of its darkness"

Al Jubran thinks that Islam was simple at first, simple and lovable. Islamic jurisprudents had turned it into a complex and hated one, according to Al Jibran who put the Danimark cartoon drawings of the prophet as an example of how much hated we are, and how it is important to "rescue the prophet from Islam, since rescuing Islam is difficult" as Al Jubra Says. He adds:

"The jurisprudents had inserted their noses in what the Quran had chose to be silent about, and they talked more than the prophets did"

"The jurisprudents of Islam had elongated the path to God" p 120

"The religion of the prophet is the religion of heart, simply"

Al-Jubran reminds us of the prophet's advice to consult our hearts when we are confused about the right way and to be humanistic:

"It was not the prophet's aim to cultivate barbs, veils, and mosques so that they point to God, but his aim was to cultivate the hearts so that they point to mankind… because the problem of existence is not God, it is mankind".

"Religiousness in prophet's consciousness, is how you become humanistic in the street, not a priestly in the temple"

Pyramids of Love

In the Islamic belief, human were made by God from mud. Al-Jubran tells us about how some Sufis believe that it was a step in our making that we were made from mud, and our responsibility is to turn our mud into something else, like when Mohammad Iqbal, the Sufi who liked Jalal Al Deen Al Rumi's wisdom, said once: "Al Rumi, turned my mud into crystal (taking in mind that the word crystal in Arabic also means "core")". Al Jubran tells us then about the slaves who die while building the pyramids from mud. And advices us to build pyramids from the mud we are made from, the humanistic mud. i.e. to build pyramids of love inside of us, inside our hearts.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Obstinacy of Love in Baghdada

According to Elliot, when the Hollow Men feel a desire to kiss someone, they are unable to. Instead, they say prayers to broken stones.

Hassan Mutlak wrote in the introduction of his novel: “there is an old memory, since I was a student in the second grade in primary school; I witnessed a man who found a beautiful alabaster box and sold it to an English man for 4 dinars. At that moment I suffered.. and I am still suffering”.

“I dream of a magic wand
Which turns my kisses into stars
So that, at night, you can
Stare at them
To know that they are countless”

Those were Dunya Mikhail’s verses, said in a prayer of love.

Hassan Mutlak, and before being executed by Saddam regime, had signed a copy of his novels to Dunya Michail who kept asking about him when he dissapeared. So let me tell you about Dyam, the protagonist in Hassan Mutlak’s novel “The Power of Laughter in Ura”:

Oliver came to Nineveh to look for the Assyrian treasures. Dyam was a local boy aiding him. Oliver gave his hat as a present to Dyam, but as Dyam took-on the hat, he could not anymore see the skies, because of the hat borders, and not that only, but he started to hear about the Hollow Men of Eliot.

Dyam had seen the Assyrian tressures deep into that dark well, but he lied to Oliver saying that there is nothing in that well. Oliver was frightened to go and check by himself because of the extraordinary creatures living deep in the darkness of the well.

It was raining and Oliver offered Dyam a ride in the car but Dyam answered: “why would I came inside the car and the rain has started?” Dyam went walking “receiving the wide drops like kisses” as the novel says.

Dyam who wished to “die in a moment of a kiss” kept talking about his coming death. As if Hassan Mutlak knew that they will kill him. Dunya Mikhail kept asking people about him while people's faces were turning yellow from fear, and she was asked finally not to mention his name again publicly.

Hassan Mutlak knew about the Styx River which marks the borders between life and death, but he refused to join the Elliot’s Hollow Men in their scarecrow show as he tells us symbolically throw Dyam.

Hassan Mutlak's brother, Mihsin al-Ramli, told us in an article about their mother and her night stories and especially that story of the illiterate man who invented his own prayer and how funny and sincere it was.

Hassan Mutlak prayers were published openly in Iraq after the 2003 and I received them lately while I was making my own version to Baghdad, picturing those drowned boats, those poor people, this burned-out court of justice, and this demented river.

Baghdad, we love you obstinately.

Lag3ud bi tali el leal (= I swear I’ll wake up late at night)
Ya 3nayid ya yaba (=o you little stubborn)
Wallah wathkur waleefy (= to remember my lover)
Wib 7igat el 7alman (=and on the excuse of dreaming)
Ya 3naid ya yaba (=o you little stubborn)
Ana lamshi 3a keafi (=I will sleep-walk to wherever I want)
3eani w dhay 3eani (=my eye, and the light of my eye)
Ya 3naid ya yaba (=o you little stubborn)
Tiswa hali w kul lil garaba (=you’re equal to my kin and all my relatives; means you are more important to me that them all collectively)
Ya 3nayid ya yaba (=o you little stubborn)

Thanks to my friend who provided me with the burned-out court photo. The song lyrics and music is said by most to be made by Hudairy Abu Aziz. But some regards it as a Jordanian Folklore. Muhsin al-Ramli article about his mother is published in the Iraqi journal “Mesopotamia” in its Issue 2 December 2004. “The Power of Laughter in Ura” novel which was written in 1984 is published by the Arab Scientific Publishers after 2003 and available in the net on Baghdad was written as "Baghdada" or "Baghdado" in the writtings from the Keesh era, 1500-1117 B.C. and it was the oldest mention of Baghdad according to Taha Baqir.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Hearts Splitting Apart

They are building some huge thing in Bab Al Mua’atham, but nobody is sure what it is. We got to walk a long distance till we get our bus to go back home. I passed near the Uzbek Mosque and wondered about what is happening in Kyrgyzstan. I thought about taking a photo to the mosque but it lies inside the ministry of defense and the guards are everywhere. They would ask me why I need that photo. And it will be hard to explain. I thought that I can find its picture in the internet when I will be at home but I was wrong, no picture for the mosque but a Google Earth view which has no artistic value.

Today it was very hot and dusty. The bus driver told me that he wish rain would fall. Baghdad turned her face to me and said: “me too… I wait rain… since long…” as I was searching for an answer, she turned her face and went walking, but to where? “Where are you going?” I shouted. “She’s deaf” the bus driver said with laughter!

Et comme toi j'attends la pluie
Pour lui dire toutes mes peines
Tout comme toi, je lui souris
Quand elle tombe sur la plaine
Quand elle tombe sur la plaine

وإنني مثلكِ أنتظر المطر
لكي احكي له كل أوجاعي
ومثلكِ تماماً سوف ابتسم له
حينما يتساقط على الأرض
حينما يتساقط على الأرض

Once upon a time in history, centuries ago, some Uzbeks didn’t find shelter for them but to live in Baghdad. They immigrated here and found it a good place to install their life in. They knew that the place in enough good to start their manual works. Then they needed a mosque, and they built one near the gate. The Iraqi historian Abdul-Razzaq Al Hasany says that Baghdad was just a small city which extends from Bab el Mua’atham, to Al Sinaq, surrounded by a tall wall. The only functioning gate of Baghdad just before the British army entered Baghdad early in the 20th century was a gate called Bab Al Mua’atham, and when you just enter through the gate, you would see the Uzbek mosque to your side. I wondered about that time when Baghdad was receiving immigrants who seek stability. There is no Baghdad that receives immigrants these days anymore, but there is one that expels her sons out.

Uzbeks and Kyrgyz people, you got some huge mountains and wonderful music, so why don’t you play some music for the world and show them how diverse and rich this world is?

Trop de souvenirs gravés
De cours d'écoles et d'étés
Trop d'amour pour oublier
Que c'est ici que je suis né
Trop de temps abandonné
Sur les bancs de ma cité
Trop d'amis pour oublier
Que c'est ici que je suis né
Que c'est ici que je suis né

كثير من الذكريات المحفورة
دروس مدرسة وأصياف (جمع صيف)
كثير من الحب للنسيان
هذا لأنه إنني وُلِدْتُ هنا
كثير من الأوقات المهجورة
فوق مصطبات مدينتي
كثير من الأصدقاء للنسيان
هذا لأنه إنني وُلـِدْتُ هنا
هذا لأنه إنني وُلـِدتُ هنا

Picture taken today from Bab El Mua’adam bridge. Part of Faudel’s Mon Pays song in which he sings his confusion of belonging to France Vs. Algeria from his album Mundila Corrida and film made by Windows Movie Maker.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010


Un village chrétien au Kurdistan Irakien,
By: Ephrem-Isa Yousif

After the First World War, the borders between Iraq and Turkey had been drawn and specified. With a line, Herbool started to belong to Turkey, and Sanate to Iraq. His mother Yorina was from Herbool, while his father was from Sanate. He is Esho, the Chaldean-Assyrian, talking to us about his childhood in Sanate till he left Sanate in 1956 after graduating from its primary school, he left it at that time to Mosul to complete his studies, and since then he misses it. He misses the fresh air coming from the mountains, the Gods of Nineveh embodied in nature, misses the freedom, and the perfumes of Sanate in an elegant 117 pages book, which misses, unfortunately, 17 pages in Dar Al Zaman publication edition which I got (from 48-65).

Da3ouni ajoodu beel buka’a (=Let me give generously with weeping)
3ala wa7eedie wa7die ( upon my only son by myself)
Fanhameri ya dumu3 3ayni (=So pour down, oh tears of my eyes, )
Wa athri fi kabadi (=and reach my heart (literally: my liver))

Foa’adi enkawa (=My soul (literally: my heart) was seared)
3ala el 7abeeb (= on my most beloved (meaning: "my heart was injured badly because of what happened to my beloved"))
wa khananie jaladie (=And my patience betrayed me (meaning: "and I couldn't take it" or "my patience didn't hold up"))

His father Yusuf was a farmer. He used to implant tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, peas, and did not forget to implant and harvest Tobacco which he was addicted on, in spite of the recurrent objections of his wife, Esho’s mother, Yorina.
They got 50 goats that were used to graze in the mountains. Esho’s grandma, Kitro, and his mother, Yorina, used to care for the 50 goats milk, making various products from it, but mainly cheese which was a main meal.
They got a donkey named Kindo, and a Mule named Ferdo. Esho loved to accompany his father in their rides around the area and sometimes to Zaxo to buy some merchandise for their village. Such trips were not out of danger, for the Bandits were numerous and they would not hesitate to kill if the others would not give them what they want. Even gangs from Turkey sometimes invade the village at night and steal sheeps and things alike. But they couldn’t steal the beauty of the mountains with the various trees it got: the poplar, willow, fig trees, pomegranate trees, peach trees, apricot trees and others.
He tells us about the special days, and holy days they got in their Sanate. I liked the most that specific day of the year, which seems not to have a special name, when everyone between 6 and 16 years old should go in 4 groups to the wild and live a whole day without the men and women form other ages. The girls would play the role of mothers, and the boys would play the role of men. Such a great idea.
I liked also that public bath in the nature for women and children every Sunday. All the villages’ mothers would go with their children, about 500 one, to a valley in an area named Bahwari where there is a river, and they would take a bath, all naked. When male children get over 11 years of age, they are no longer taken in this common bath; rather, they can go together to another place and swim together.
Esho tells us about many incidents that reflects the social rules and values. Most of the stories he remember were sad. Like the story of Nano Kore the blind poor girl who got pregnant without marriage form a teacher, then get killed by her brothers. Or the story of Hinny and her elder husband who kept believing that she was unfaithful to him till he one day cut her nose by a knife. Or Khatoon who was married against her will to a man with paralysis, to fall in love later with amn from another religion and escaped from the village with her lover.
He told us about the names of the tribe was living in Senate at his time: Al Bou Isac, Al Bou Zaya, Al Bou Kimya, Al Bou Kinno, Al Bou Kara, Al Bou Nisan, Beshman, Al Bou Shalmoon, Al Bou Mangana, Al Bou Koureah, and Al Bou Tshina.

In 1956 Esho graduated from the primary school of his village. His father wanted him to continue his studies in Mosul. He took him to Zaxo and at the borders of Zaxo he saw a thing that frightened him. A thing moving, but was neither a human nor an animal. It was a car. He took the bus to Mosul in which he kept missing his village life, the freedom and the air and the Gods of Nineveh.

The picture in the video is for the cover of the book and you can see the walls of Al Umawie Mosque behind it. The mosque itself was a church before Islam. The Hymn “Let me cry generously” is believed to be sung by the Virgin after the crucifixion before more than 2000 years from now and is sung on the eve of Good Friday in Eastern Churches. Here it is performed by Lena Chamamian, a Syrian-Armenian singer.

The translation of the Hymn is taken and modified from the following link

Sunday, June 06, 2010

My Poor Baghdad.... I Love You

بغداد، يا أُمّاُ مخرفة لم تتعرف على أولادها
بغداد، يا ممحيّةً دعيني أقراكِ
أحب فقرك المدقع
فثرائك الفارغ كافر

Baghdad, you demented mother, who didn’t identify her children
Baghdad, you who is erased, let me read you
I love your poverty
For your empty luxury is blasphemous

أحن الى رائحة صابون الرقي في فوطة بيبي
ورائحة عرق أبو موزة الحدايقجي بعد العمل حين تصب له بيبي الغداء
أحب أن أشم رائحة أولادك الكادحين
رائحة تلك العجوز حين تتكوّم بعظامها البارزة تحت تلك التُكيّة
تعطيها بيبي بعض الكيلوات من التمن والعدس
واجلب لها الماء بارداً والشاي حارّاً كما يجب
كما علّمتني بيبي

I long for Grandma Foota’s (= type of veil for elder women) smell
A smell of Saboon Raggi (type of locally made soap)
I love the smell of sweating of Abu Moza the gardener after finishing his work and eating the lunch my Grandma made for him
I love the smell of sweat in your working sons
The smell of that elder woman who was sitting tired with her bony face under the huge blackberry tree
My Grandma would give her her kilos of rice and lentil
And I brought her the cold water and the hot tea as it should be
As my Grandma taught me

بغداد، اكره عطورك المزيفة الحديثة
أعشق أكل الروبيان من يديّ عجوز بصراويّة أًميّة
أكره وجباتك الجديدة المفبركة
في مطاعم الإجرام

Baghdad, I hate your high priced cheated modern perfumes
I love to eat shrimp cooked by the hands of a Basrawi illiterate elder
I hate your newly faked dishes
In the restaurants of crime

بغداد، اريد ان امتطي حصاناً يعبّ الخبب
وأن أصيح ديـــــــــــــــخ
وأن أسبح في نهر دجلة مع أخوانٍٍ لم تلدهم أمّي
أن أشرب الشاي مع متسوّل
واهديه حذائي لأبقى حافياً
يلسع الكًير الحار قدميّ فأُغني أُغنية لصلاح البحر
"لله يا صاحبي... ترحل وتنساني"
ثم أتلوها بـــ
"جايني وشسّوي جاي"

Baghdad, I’d like to ride a stylishly running horse
And to yell Deeeeekh (a word usually said to the horse to run fast)
And to swim in Dijla with my brothers whom my mother didn’t born
I’d like to drink tea with a vagabond
And to give my shoes to him and stay bare-food
Ground burns by feet so I started singing one of Salah Al Bahar's songs:
“For the sake of God my companion, you leave and forget me?”
Then follow it by
“you’re are coming back to me? What for?”
(Salah Al Bahar is well known Iraqi singer and composer of some songs, and the two songs between brackets are his own)

بغداد اريدك حرة كالطير
أمينة كحمامة بيضاء
صبورة كالجمل
ووفية ككلب اسود مكتئب
ينتظر قدوم صاحبه في المطرالحزين
حكمة البومة وسكرة البلبل بنبيذ التين

Baghdad, I’d like you to be free as a bird
Safe as a white pigeon
Patient as a camel
And loyal as a black dog with depression
Waiting for the coming back of his companion under the sad rain
Owl’s wisdom and the drunkenness of a nightingale by the fig wine

اريدك ان تزهي بجمالك وترقصي
اريد المطر ان يبدأ ولاينتهي
اريد ان ارى نوح مرة اخرى يبني سفينة
لنا نحن الذين نحبك يا بغداد

I’d like you to reveal your beauty and dance
I’d like rain to start some day and never stop
I’d like to see Noah again building his ship for us
We, that we love you oooh Baghdad

عبائتك السوداء هي بساط صلاتي
شعرك الأسود هو ليلي
صوتك الحلو ترنيمة نومي
حين تغنين لي آودللو
فيما أبي في قهوة عزاوي يستمع الى الجالغي
My mother
Your Abaya is the carpet I will pray on
Your black hair is my night
You sweet voice is my lullaby
As you sing Oooh Delello (= a well known song to sleep the baby in Iraq)
While my dad is in Azzawie café listening to Chalghie (Azzawie café is well known café in bgahdad, and Chalghi is a style of singing and playing music especial for Baghdad)

لا تنسين ما كتب الأسلاف
لا تنسي إينوما إيليش
لا تنسي أُوتونا بشتم
لا تسني مكتبة بانيبال
ولا تسني أغاني جدّاتنا

My daughter,
Never forget what our ancestors wrote
Do not forget Enoma Elkish
Do not forget Utanabishtim
Do not forget Banipal’s library
And do not forget our grandma’s songs

بغداد الفقيرة احبك
بملابس غير مكويّة
بسلال خوص النخيل المليانة بهدايا عمتي
بشربت قمر الدين الذي ربّى بقلبي حصرة
بالنومي بصرة

Baghdad I love you, you the poor
With old non-ironed clothes
With palm leaf made bags filled with presents from my aunt
With Qamr El Deen juice which grew an opression in my chest
With Noomi Basra (dried lemons of a very special kind)

شاي أسود حرقته "هيلة" الجايجيّة بعد أن نسته على النار
محروقٌ ومرّ
جكَارة سومر قد تفيد بعض الذكريات من دخانها
قد لا يكون "شاكر" هناك

With black tea, burned because “Hela” the “Chaicheyia (=tea maker)” had forgotten it on fire
Burned and bitter
“Sumer” cigarette may had a memory in its smoke but
“Shakir” might not be there

بغداد.... قد رحل إيشو القادم من سانات
حاملا على ظهره نبيذاً صنعوه في بيوت بعشيقة
وقد رحل حسين مردان آتياً من بعقوبة
جالبا لنا عرقٌ خمّروه في هبهب
وها هو تائهٌ ذاك الذي يحبك
بين يديكِ
فدلّية على الطريق الصحيح
واعذريه إن رحل

Baghdad…Esho who came from Sanate had departed
Carrying in his back home made wine from Ba’ashika
And Hussein Mardan who came from Baquba
Who was bringing us Arak made in Hibhib
Had departed too
And that is your lost man who loves you
Between your arms
So show him the right way
And pardon him if he departs

بغدادي الفقيرة ... احبك
My poor Baghdad, I love you

هيلة وشاكر عاملان بسيطان كادحان تعرفت عليهما في الحلة و أحبهما بشدة
الموسيقى المصاحبة للصور التي التقطتها البارحة هي موسيقى ارمنية لفنان ارمني اسمه أرتو تونكوياسيان واسم المعزوفة هي "زيتوني زار" وقد استخدم كموسيقى مصاحبة لفلم "رحلة في أرمينية" فطوبا لهم هذه الروحية


“Hela” and “Shakir” are poor workers from Hilla and I love them severely.

The music in the film I made with my photos taken yesterday from central Baghdad is an Armanie music by Arto Tuncoyaciayan and the name of the piece is Zetuni Zar and was used as a sound track in the film “Le Voyage en Armenie”

Friday, May 21, 2010

Love'N Remorse

I regard myself as a dot… as a black unimportant dot in a forgotten road of Baghdad. As I imagine the size of the world now I know how much small I am. After hearing about the rambling incidents of the world around I know how miserable my life in Baghdad is.

The electricity is still a “something” that is regarded as very modern and non-reachable easily. Visas are not given to me cause I am Iraqi. I am frightened most of the time. Cause I am Iraqi.

Some lucky friends had left this country and got new nationalities. Most are Americans now. Some are British. And my dear friend with whom I spent some of the most important part of my life is turning to be a Canadian.

Do I have an Australian friend? Yes. He was my neighbor.

Well, I don’t need much from the world.

I don’t want luxury. Actually I was taught to hate luxury.

I want to stay an Iraqi living over this hot ground that burns your feet when you go walking bare-foot in summer as I did once before years and that unforgettable.

From the soil of this homeland came up those people that I most adore for their patience, wisdom and warm.

Here are pictures from Al Mahmoodiya, a quarter from Baghdad, with a song about how love can cause remorse. I hope that there will not come a day that an Iraqi would blame himself for not leaving this land, for loving this land, which had suffered a lot. See by your eyes, hear by your ears, here is Iraq, feel it.

Bisnoonha ( =By her teeth)
3adhat shafayifha nadam (She bit her lips because of remorse)
Tirjif khajal (=shivering because of her shyness)
Min rasha l 7ad jidam (= from her head to her feet)
Sa3ar tighamth 3younha (=one moment she closes her eyes)
Sa3a etabaddal loonha (= one moment her color changes)
Amoot ana bi3younha (= I die on her eyes = I love her eyes to death)
Wsa3a etighayer loonha (= and other moment her color changes)
Shifti el 3ishig shisawi a yeflana (=did you see what love can do?)

Monday, May 17, 2010


Today’s temperature at the afternoon was 41 Centigrade (=105.8 F) in Baghdad. Many got to walk for a distance before reaching where they can take a bus back to their home. At the main cross roads in Baghdad they are building either tunnels or bridges. Soil and dust is everywhere. Most go out from work somewhere between 2:30 pm and 3:00 pm. Most are hungry, got a headache, and feeling hot, and got to walk across those cross roads to reach where they can find busses which have no air-conditioning.

I was so hungry so I went to the nearby old Baghdadi quarter to have my lunch in a simple public restaurant. Went for a walk and felt so tired again and found that café. Cold water and a cup of tea were great to refresh me. I asked for another cup of tea and opened my newspaper (Al Mada, =the horizon to find this caricature (by Adel Sabri)

To the left stands a man representing the “hot summer” and to the right a man representing the “electricity crisis” and the poor Iraqi citizen is wrapped in the stick they hold him in, above that fire.

I found a friend and we went to reach home together. I wondered about other papers caricatures and searched for them in the google. Yesterdays issue of Al Esbouya (the weekly) journal has a symbolic cover. The British election Vs Iraqi election, flowers Vs Cactus.

Cactus appear again in Al Alam (the world) newspaper issue of today put in a long table and empty two chairs and man waiting at the door for the proposed meeting of the “opponents” as the newspaper states.

Al Zaman (the time) wrote above its caricature: all in the government and the others are opposition forces. Making the note that all want to be in the executive part of the government and no one like to be as a member of the opposition forces in the parliament.

Al Sabah (= the morning) caricature of today:

liked another caricature from Al Sabah published before days and it needs no words.

Sorry for not mentioning the names of other cartoonists but it is not clearly written in Arabic, only of Al Sabah which might be read as Abdul-Raheem.