Monday, April 30, 2012

About Boundaries & Mines

Trista Pena. I am hearing now "Trista Pena" by Gipsy Kings.
And it is Sherko Fattah that I was reading those last days. A novel about a Kurdish smuggler living on the borders between Iraq and Turkey and Iran. He is much respected and valued for the risk he is taking on walking across those borders filled with mines.
His family quickly got the habit of not asking him about the mines. It seems that there was a non-spoken agreement stating that mentioning the mines might bring bad luck, a kind of a curse.
 The story is about that smuggler's strive for survival after 1991 war and the start of Kurdistan separation from Iraq and all the problems that paralleled. He lost his son and he is not sure what happed. He suspects that his son had joint an Islamic militia. The smuggler's sister lives across the border. It is not totally clear at the beginning of the novel but as you pass page 200 you start to figure out that the smuggler's house which joins him with his wife and his now "lost" son, is in Iraq, while his sister is living with her husband few kilometers away, inside Turkey. The smuggler's problems are doubled symmetrically across the borders. His troubles are multiplied by a factor named post-1991 chaos.
But let us go back a little to another border, to another conflict. The Freud Vs Jung conflict and read from Jung's autobiography one of his dreams:  
"..on one of the mountainous areas at the Swiss-Austrian borders, and near the evening time, I saw an old man wearing the uniform of the Austrian customhouse. He walked by my side. He was bent and he never looked at me. His facial expressions were closer to obstinacy, sadness, and annoyance. There were other people in the scene. One of them had told me that the old man is not really here, but it is his spirit, the spirit of the customhouse man who died since years, (he is one of those who cannot die like how it should be)… this is the first part of the dream".
Yesterday I was in Al Mutanabbee street and I liked to walk in the backstreets.

In the backstreets of it and found by accident a used book entitled: "Freud or Jung" written by Edward Glover. What is interesting is the signature of the original owner of the book: "Rose Khaddourri, NY, 1961" and Rose Khaddourri is one of the Iraqi Jewess and a pioneer in teaching method and school opening. As any other Iraqi Jew, she was forced to leave Iraq in the middle of the 20th century.

From the book I knew that Cyril Connolly had once wrote a letter to Edward Glover telling him: "I feel the Jung's reputation has grown out of proportion. [….]. His work is a distortion of Freud's ideas by the injection into them of unscientific mystical feelings which make them popular. In the work of Jung there are elements in which Jung's own desire for a religious, rather than a scientific, conception exists."
I am still hearing Trista Pena by the Gypsy Kings.
Let us go back to Sheko Fattah novel and read:
"Why I am not allowed to know a thing about my son?
Bino was surprised for a while. Then he shook his head with a stronger intensity.
-          Because it was a long time since he was lost. You are digging in the past. Don't you understand that there is no past here, at least for those people like you. The past and the future do not exist for you. For you it is only the present that exists and anything else is a taboo. That must be clear to you anyhow."
p. 212

 A wooden box of traditional Kurdish candies had reached me to Baghdad from a friend. I will leave the sad novel unfinished for now but I will keep listening to Trista Pena and think about boundaries and mines.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Accompanying the Wise

It is 12:11 AM, and tomorrow I got no work, so I stayed this night playing a video game with Giliana. We played football in his Playstation 2. At first he beated me (Italy) by Germany. Then he chose KSA and beated me again. Then I chose Barcelona and again KSA beated me. He even had some goals marked by his goalkeeper. It was fun. On the shelf next to us were the ashtray and the juices. There was also the novel that I started just before minutes: "The Death of the Father" by Ahmed Khalaf. 

It is page 78 and the three friends, the novelist, the unknown man, and the painter are spending their time in the painter's drawing studio. The painter Adil, is drinking Raki, while serving the better and more expensive wine to his guests. They talk about their memories. We knew the Adil was poor and called by one of his female colleagues as the "Mendiant d'Amour" alluring to his multiple failures in his seeks of befriending the girls.
The unknown man, had a brother named Ismail, who loved Sara. He had an uncle named Noah. Those names are historically dense.
As opposed to Al-Rikabi's "The Book of Eternity" three friends, Ahmad Khalaf three friends are relax in spite of their complex personal and familial histories.
They seem more wise and mature.
I am invited tomorrow to a lunch with two men. I think we will eat fish.
I am hearing now Chopin Nocture Op. 09,1 in B flat minor and will proceed after publishing this to read the rest of the novel, to enjoy the accompany of the wise.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Another Journals' Diary in Baghdad

Ibtihal Belaibil wrote today about the sudden happy news she received that morning in the journal: a journey, for herself alone, to Switzerland. She spent the day happily till the boss of the journal summoned her to his office and told her that that was a lie, the lie of the first of April. She wrote about that an article in today's Al-Sabah issue, and included a picture of a plane that belong to the Iraqi Airlines. 
Ali Daneef, on his part, wrote about that soldier who knew the names of his 99 grandparents (his father, his grand-father, the father of his grandfather and so on). Ali Daneefs remember that soldier who persuaded them at the military unit in the vital importance of knowing the names of at least the first 7 grandfathers.  

 In today's article, Ali Daneef declared that he no longer see it necessarily to know all those names, a human should be respected for his-self. Next to Ali Daneef's article was a picture from Germany, an apple tree with 10,000 colored eggs, as a celebration of a Christian holy day that I remember participating once in Baghdad in my childhood.
 In the same page, the last page, my favorite, was a photo of Tim Sorrier and one of his paintings.
 Khudair Mery is continuing his wonderful articles. Today he wrote about the experimental Arabic novels. I have read no one of those that he mentioned. I will keep his article in my archive as I always do with his articles.
 "Hasta La Vista Kapitalista" was in the front cover. I really forgot what is about but I liked so much that girl who held that pancarte.

 BB was on Al-Mada's cover.

 Hani Fahas was in the inside of Al-Mada. There was an article about another book written by him about his memories.
 As I reached home and saw that the internet service is available I decided to show you the newspapers of today and few pictures from the last week's papers.
 Baider Al-Basri has won the title of "The Voice of Religions". She is an Iraqi singer. I never heard of her before.
 From Romania, a bride wore the longest wedding dress in history.
 Romania, had offered me a novel of Herta Muller. A novel that was translated to English under the title of "Passport" but to Arabic under the title of "I Wished I Had Not Met Myself Today". The novel is about the Communist Party in Romania under Ceaucescu. The novel is long, and talks about trivial daily things, in a country that reminded me of mine, under Saddam.
 The newspaper seller had loaned me his personal copy of "God Thieves" the latest book of Abdul-Razaq Al-Jubran. From the book, I will never forget that line which states: "The prophet is not a poppet under the hands of the inspiration (of God)".
Mohammad Ghazi Al-Akras had written in yesterday's issue of Al-Sabah a lovely article about a poor Iraqi sweeper who loves his work. He wrote about those poor manual workers who sings while working. A very lovely and clever article as it is usual with Al-Akrass articles. Next to his article was a picture from Eastern Europe (Bulgaria maybe) showing that day when they celebrate by throwing water on each others. 

I don't know how to end this post but if you were next to me, I would bring a glass of water and through the water on you and giggle. Have a nice day dear friends. Thank you for Al-Sabah and Al-Mada writers. You are all wonderful.