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.


Anonymous said...

هلو سامي الوردة
أعتقد انها لبجي عله كيفي وليست لمشي عله كيفي
انظر كيف سيتبدل المعنى تماماً.. فإنّ الرجل الشرقي يستحي في الغالب من البكاء العلني
to cry freely not to sleep-walk freely


saminkie said...

شكرا يا صديقي

فعلا انها لأبجي على كيفي

شكرا على التنبيه
نسيت ان اقول ان المؤدين للاغنية هنا هم فرقة اسمها كلنا سوا ولا اعرف بالضبط جنسيتهم لكنهم يبدون من الشام من لهجتهم

Yup dear friend, it seems that the true lyrics are: to cry freely, and not to sleep-walk freely

Thank you for the correction

tracy said...

Thank you again, Sami.
i am visiting family and feel sooo very out of place, especially religiously...i visit you and feel safe again.
Thank you for helping me,

tracy said...

Such beautiful music and pictures, Sami.

Thank you.

To love, always.

saminkie said...

Hi Tracy dear friend,

"Faith is not a must for beauty" says a new Iraqi religious thinker.

I like the music too dear friend.

Take care,