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".

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